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The Traveling Stoic Meets a Flight Delay

“Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.” — Henry Miller

There’s no better time to practice stoicism than during business travel using the uniquely out-of-your-own-control limbo of domestic flights. Short delays become long delays, longer delays become cancellations, soon you begin to feel that creeping realization that we’re all just pawns on a chessboard. Who dreamed up this hellscape anyway?

Amor fati. This is the moment when a deep breath and stepping outside ourselves clarifies. After all, enjoying life, even the grind of travel going badly, begins with knowing it’s all a game. If the why isn’t compelling enough to stay in this particular game, change the game. This applies equally well to the long term as the short. Life is altogether too brief to linger longer than absolutely necessary in the inconsequential.

Walking helps more than visiting the bar. Seeing how many steps you can get in pulling your carry-on throughout the limits the airport sets for you is a more productive game than sampling the drink menu. Seeing how other people react to the same challenges you’re presented with is interesting, but who wants to live constantly comparing yourself to others? It’s better to take a walk, removing yourself entirely from that part of the chessboard to see how the game is going elsewhere. This offers an immediate change of state, both in what you pay attention to and the changes a bit of exercise offers.

The things you see in an airport terminal when you have the time to wander can be fascinating…. Or at least interesting enough to make you forget where you could have been otherwise. The thing is, we are here, now, in whatever circumstances life throws at us. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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