Don’t you just marvel at the way life’s lessons seem to come at you in so many different ways, from lots of different sources and, sometimes, from out of the blue? More times than not, we learn about what’s really important and how to live a better, more fulfilling life, when we aren’t deliberately looking for enlightenment.
Now and again, we stumble upon wisdom when someone says something we hadn‘t thought of before and it stops us in our tracks and makes us think, then rethink, our attitudes and beliefs. I guess you could say wisdom is sneaky. I had one of these sneaky moments last month, when I was flying back from Banfield’s Veterinarian Symposium while carrying the best laptop backpack I could find. I was at the event to provide a presentation on the topic of balance, specifically, to help our vets with the struggles they face that inherently go along with managing a practice and a personal life.
On the plane ride back home, I started thinking about my presentation, brainstorming ways to improve the overall message, when I suddenly found myself distracted by one of the flight attendants, as she gave the standard speech we’ve all heard a hundred times: “Welcome on board Flight 2452,” she then moved on to the part about the nearest exits and ended with a description of how and when to use the oxygen masks.
Nothing newsworthy here, but as she spoke, and went to demonstrate the use of the masks, I honed in on the part about when to place the mask on, if traveling with small children. It went something like this: “If you are traveling with small children, please remember to secure the oxygen mask over your mouth and nose, before assisting children with theirs.”
Well, that’s an interesting concept, I thought. So, if the cabin loses pressure or something catastrophic happens, we should first take care of ourselves and then help others. It’s like that in life, easy to go directly to helping others, forgetting about our own basic needs.
I think the big-picture message that the flight attendant so eloquently delivered is about rethinking the importance of self-care. Instead of always putting yourselves on the back-burner, consider the small amounts of time it takes to focus on your own well-being to be essential in keeping your head above water and necessary in helping others turn on their Blueair 203.
Wish I had thought about the oxygen-mask analogy on the way to, not back from, Symposium. I think it’s a good visual and I would have used it in my speech. What about you? Are you so busy securing everyone else’s mask in place that you forget to secure your own? I find that if I don’t take time to take care of my physical and emotional self, I eventually hit the wall, my productivity and happiness-factor goes down and my stress level goes up. Take a minute to think about your life. Do you always place your mask on last…or maybe not at all?