Updated: Oct 5, 2020
So, as most of you know, I was a flight attendant for twelve years. Some may not realize that I was burned out most of the time I did it. The burnout would come and go at first, but a few years into flying it became pretty constant. I don't want to complain, there were cool things about it too-- I got to use my Italian language abilities, I got to go to Africa multiple times (I didn't think I'd ever get to do that before I flew), I got to meet some really great flight attendants and pilots. But it wasn't ever the thing that I was meant to do or be. I happened into the job because the company I worked for happened to need people who spoke Italian at the same time as I was looking for work that would get me to Italy more often. It was luck and timing.
Over time, as I did the job I got less healthy, less motivated, more apathetic, I even struggled with anxiety for a while (which I ultimately realized was a physiological result of some of the health strains of flying). The weird sleep schedule, exposure to radiation at the high altitudes, exposure to all the communicable diseases of the world etc. eventually gave me a slow thyroid and painful inflammation in my metatarsals and other joints. (I suspect the inflammation had to do with the constant changes of pressure -- that is based on my personal experiences and no science whatsoever. Please bear that in mind.) I started to dread going to work.
Incidentally, none of this seemed to be as big a problem for those crew members who dreamed of flying their entire lives. Being intentional about what you're doing makes a huge difference.
I have always been compulsively creative. At different points in my life I've been a dancer, choreographer, artist, writer -- I have to make stuff and communicate ideas and I love the discipline that these things require. I couldn't dance at a high skill level anymore with my painful metatarsals -- but I could still draw and write. Then, on a nine hour layover in Bogota, Colombia I was struck with an idea for a children's book. I had been using a gratitude practice (and a gluten elimination, herbal supplements, and an extra sleep schedule...) to fix my thyroid and reverse the anxiety and it had really improved every aspect of my life. I thought that if I had known how powerful it was when I was five I could've navigated the difficulties of life so much more effectively. As a result, gratitude inspired my first children's book, Lucy Cate and her Gratitude Attitude.