Well, here I am in sunny ATL. It’s not really sunny-it is grey and overcast, but that’s ok. My flight yesterday was oversold and since I fly luxurious standby, I did not make my flight (but my bag did…).

This weekend we drove down to ATL from CHI. We started out in a very cold chicago and ended in a greener and warmer atlanta.

It is hard to leave frank in atl, but I feel so blessed that we were able to get such a long piece of time together, especially over the holiday. The holidays are always hard for me if I have to go alone.

We talked a little about the current instability of the airline biz and how much better it would have been 20 yrs ago. But we determined that there were really only a few pilots who had entire stable careers and solid retirements. The kind of stability that is often talked about from the 1950s seems to me to be no more than a myth. Many pilots who got into the biz 20 yrs ago in the hay-day, slowly watched their pensions and respect and salaries slowly melt away. And yet instead of working to repair the public and corporate image of pilots, some of these unions argue about silly, inconsequential things. The public airing of dirty laundry hasn’t done much for the airlines and managements images, either. Large management bonuses and the continuous focus on airfare wars has helped create a de-humanizing or commoditizing (new word?) of an entire industry. By allowing the conversation to become about dollars and not total consumer experience, the airlines lost significant ground. And the public became privvy to awkard marital spats btwn the pilots and the management, both groups responsible for overspending the house budget on purses and beer. So, to make a long story longer, the the illusion of a better time is a lie. Much of what we are dealing with has been perpetually unraveling and the conversation must be about moving forward and not about restitution. Going back is not an option, but learning from our past is imperative.

Which, I suppose, is true of all situations.

I also have been thinking a lot about the word happy. The pursuit of mere happiness seems to be trivial and empty and temporary. The idea of pursuing happiness is, to me, one of the greatest lies told to this generation: if you pursue what you believe will make you happy, then you will be. I think that if you pursue short term happiness, the result is disappointment in the long run. I have found routinely that when I don’t get what I think I want when I want it, I am often more pleased in the long run. I think this is because I often believe that how things are right now will continue forever, unchanged. When I notice that I am thinking of life that way, I am full of anxiety and disappointment. True happiness, as frank always reminds me, is finding joy right now.

So that is what I am working on: finding the joy in the right now through God and remembering that we are not promised tommorrow. Not a solution for the pilot grp, but at least something that helps me get through today 🙂

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