As a nutrition and health coach I post a lot about food, exercise, and loving your body. All of these things are great and essential to living a happy and DELICIOUS life but there are many other aspects of our lives that lend to being able to live deliciously.
I have highly disliked flying for a few years now after a few overly turbulent flights. It was so bad at one point that I ended up getting anti anxiety medication just so I could get on the plane without having a panic attack. The medicine would essentially knock me out so I had to time my taking it very precisely so I wouldn’t fall asleep before getting on the plane. Not gonna lie, it was pretty nice to get on the plane, fall asleep for the whole flight and wake up right as we landed. When I got pregnant being able to take that medication went out the door. I had to fly when I was 7 weeks pregnant and I was a nervous wreck. Not just for the flight but also because I was so scared flying would cause me to miscarry. I was a mess but luckily I was flying with my husband so he was there to hold my hand. We did one leg from LA to San Francisco and I just blared music, closed the window and tried to forget where I was. The second leg though my husband convinced me to open the window and I’m glad I did because I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time in my life. It was from the air but it was still a pretty amazing sight to see with my own eyes.
This past week I flew to and from LA/Colorado with my now 3-month-old son to visit family. I was so nervous the day before our flight to Colorado. Not just for the flight itself but because I had no idea how he would handle flying, I didn’t want him to be THAT screaming baby. I was also so concerned that he would be able feel my nervousness and I don’t want him to have a fear of flying like I have had. I know that kids pick things up from their parents, especially babies, when it comes to how we feel about things. For example, a lot of kids develop their fears of needles because their parents exhibit fear when the kids get their shots and the kids see that reaction and then themselves react that way. It was like this nervousness for him to see me nervous and scared of flying made me more nervous and scared. It was a vicious cycle.
The day we flew to Colorado I did everything I could to stay calm, without taking medication. That wasn’t even an option, not just because I needed to be aware during the flight but also because it doesn’t mix with breastfeeding. I got on the plane and M was very unhappy with me. He was crying and I knew it was just because he was tired but he wouldn’t fall asleep. Then just as we were about to take off he passed out. Just the movement of the plane put him to sleep, much like the car or his stroller does. I was so happy! He slept pretty much the whole flight too! Now if anyone has every landed at DIA they will know that it is rare to have a smooth landing there. It is almost always turbulent because of the mountains and this particular day it was pretty bad because of thunderstorms all across the Front Range. Our descent was probably one of the more intense ones that I have had, so much so that my ears were popping and hurting. At this point M was awake and I was doing everything to keep his bottle in his mouth but he was more concerned about smiling and laughing at me. Apparently the kid likes turbulence and fast descents because he was happy as a clam while I was doing everything to not freak out. But sitting there with him in my arms laughing and giggling at me was a very eye opening moment. It was that reminder that my fear was silly, despite the turbulence. My 3 month old reminded me that flying is exhilarating and sometimes not always a smooth ride but it is actually quite safe. To him it was just like riding in his stroller while I push him along a bumpy trail and that thought is what kept me calm as we landed.
On our flight home I was much more calm, despite the pilot informing us that the take off was going to be very bumpy (which it was). But for the first time in a very long time, as M slept peacefully in my arms, I was able to look out the window and see the views. Flying over the Rocky Mountains is a pretty amazing sight and I actually took pictures. Then later in the flight we went over the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River and I can honestly say that is the FIRST time I have ever seen it from a plane, and I have done that flight more times then I can count. It was so amazing to see the beauty of the planet that we live on from the air. It only took me exactly 28 years (it was my birthday) and having a baby to learn how to appreciate this beauty. I have always been one to “stop and smell the flowers” but sitting on that plane was eye opening for me. It reminded me how much I need to do that more and appreciate the bigger picture.
I can honestly say that I have a newfound view on flying that I never had before. I can’t say that my fear is completely gone but I can definitely get on a plane and not have a panic attack. But I do think that there is something that anyone can take from this story. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the little things, like our silly little fears, that they don’t allow us to see the bigger picture. I also think that everyone can take a page out of my 3-month-olds book and learn to enjoy the ride, whatever that ride may be. And maybe sometimes taking the view of small child will allow us to see things differently then we do as adults. I know many people who will say, “Sometimes I wish I was a kid again so I can forget about adult things” but who says we can’t be? Maybe we should stop and think about things the way a kid would and it might allow us to realize how un-important some things in life are compared to others. How many kids do you know that worry about their weight while eating a cookie, they don’t. They savor every bite of that cookie and that’s what we should all be doing! By doing this we can learn to live our lives to their fullest and as “deliciously” as possible.