Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Burning Man with some close friends. We were having a fantastic time, dancing on an art car, surrounded by music and bright lights. But then, out of nowhere, a dust storm rolled in, reducing visibility to mere feet. Instead of feeling disappointment or stress, we decided to embark on a journey back to our camp through the storm. Surprisingly, it turned out to be a beautiful experience. We walked through the swirling dust, still smiling and enjoying each other’s company. There were no expectations, no frustrations; we simply embraced the universe’s decision to make that night all about the dust. I cherished that walk back with my friends, sharing conversations as we strolled through the mile-long duststorm.
Fast forward to this week, and I found myself in New Jersey visiting my son, who has just started his undergraduate studies at Rutgers. Witnessing him thrive in his new environment filled me with a mix of emotions. While a part of my brain naturally considered potential risks and challenges, most of me was overwhelmed with excitement. My son was venturing into a world brimming with opportunities as a bright, capable young man.
However, things took a stark turn when I arrived at the airport to catch my flight back to San Francisco yesterday. Negative energy seemed to envelop the entire situation, and I found myself battling frustration, anger, and disappointment. Our United flight was scheduled for 3:55 PM, but we were told we needed more fuel, leading to a 20-minute delay. Two hours later, they informed us that ground control was struggling to find us a departure slot. Four hours later, they finally made their way to the gate and canceled the flight. I was among hundreds of passengers who felt frustrated, angry, and let down. I, too, was tired and disappointed. I had no idea where my luggage was, whether I could make it home, the line was interminable, and they refused to provide hotel vouchers. So, I ended up booking a hotel and spending an hour trying to secure an Uber. After finally reaching the hotel at midnight, they informed me they didn’t have my reservation and claimed all hotels were fully booked due to United’s multiple flight cancellations. It took until 2 AM for me to finally secure a room and get some rest.
Waking up this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder why I let this whole ordeal affect me so deeply. I was in a comfortable hotel, had enjoyed a substantial meal, and yet, I was tired, frustrated, and angry. It felt as though a metaphorical…