Land Legs.

"The first year is rough. Really rough. Here, eat this. You probably can't afford food right now."

It's 1917 hours, I'm around 33,000 feet in the air, somewhere above the glittering Nevada desert and I realize that I'm staring at my co-worker's dinner like a hungry, sad coyote.

Month Three. Reserve. #MSP.

I'm starting to feel like I'm getting the hang of this. I've figured out how to glide down the aisles of my planes without constantly falling into my passengers' laps. I traded in my heels for some good 'ol fashioned comfortable Danskos. I can preflight my emergency equipment, shout evacuation commands and rattle off airport codes in my sleep (and apparently, sometimes do). I've perfected my announcements and have even added a few little jokes and signature phrases. When I'm in the air, I feel good.

It's my land legs that are having trouble adjusting.

Hopping from time zone to time zone, airport counter to airport counter (and grumpy gate agent to more grumpy gate agents) is exhausting. You think your work commute is bad? Try flying to work. You show up at the crack of dawn, list for a flight and hope that a passenger sleeps in past his alarm so that you can claim his seat. But because you are a brand new flight attendant, there are 3,506,942 people more senior to you that will get that late passenger's seat before you.

So you run to another ticket counter and start again. And again. Layovers? Connecting airports? Nightmare. And while you're running around, you start to think about all the bills you need to pay and the boyfriend you need to call and the cat that needs to be fed and taken to the vet and all the friends who are at their wits' end taking care of you and your constant crazy tangle of a life and you just about feel crushed from the pressure of it all.

And then there's always a lost badge or a missed call from Crew Support or weather delays to be that final straw.

This job is not for the faint of heart. If you don't have a good support system at home, you'll be lost. This means that your best friend, your significant other, your family will be taking up responsibilities that neither of you were expecting. This job will make or break your relationships. The people who will stay in your life are the ones who will roll with the punches and smile and say, "Happy to help. What else can I do for you?"

And I will never cease to be amazed at these people. I don't know what I ever did right to deserve these people, but I've got a handful of 'em in my life and I would have given up on this dream long ago if not for them.

And when I do finally step onto my airplane, all the stress melts away. As we glide up through the clouds and I help people get to where they need to go, I know that I've made the right decision.

I might be broke and my life on land may be a bit chaotic for a while, but I know I'll make it with the help of a few amazing folks.


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