If you had told me when I started flying 15 years ago, that the job would get lonelier than it was when I was new, I would have said you were crazy. I thought that time would create comfort and provide relationships with coworkers that would make the job easier. While I have found relationships that I value and adore, it is not always easy to foster the growth of those relationships with a schedule like ours. Nor is the job any more predictable today as a senior line holder than it was when I was a newbie on reserve. These are wildly unpredictable times.
As the holidays approach and the days continue to get darker, your friends here would like to remind you that you are not alone. The last 18 months have been some of the most exhausting; both physically, and emotionally. While we watch news story after news story of our fellow crewmembers under fire, many of us are facing the harsh reality that we are not supported by the government or our companies. This realization can intensify any feelings of isolation and loneliness that we were already dealing with. It can be hard to feel like anyone will relate, especially if our feelings and emotions are met with biased views from our family members and friends. When we complain to others who aren’t in the industry, we are often met with a viewpoint that has only heard our sadness, fear, and loneliness over the length of our career. Those viewpoints generally contain the opposite of what we think we want to hear, which can only perpetuate our confusion. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Personally, I’m dealing with the loss of a fellow crew member, who also happens to have been my best friend of over 20 years. The depth of my grief feels impossible to explain. Meanwhile, the workplace feels like it’s an unreasonable environment for me to return to while I am grieving. When I have tried to articulate any of this to my spouse, it’s difficult. I’m often met with confusion and his own bias, rooted in financial fear. As you can guess, it doesn’t help the situation at all.
Just as many of us have found comfort in our community Facebook page over the last year, I too have found comfort there in the last month. Sometimes you need a friend and sometimes it helps if that friend has been where you are today.
While tomorrow’s holiday is wrapped up in gratitude, some of us are dealing with our darkest days and finding something to be grateful for can feel like a difficult task. Please know that you are not alone. You are absolutely allowed to feel your feelings about your life, your job, your family, your passengers, and whatever else you need to feel.
We are here to listen when you need a friend.
With love and gratitude for all of you,
Hey everyone! I’m Lori Light. I’m a 15 year flight attendant for Southwest and I’m based in Chicago. I’m a FADAP peer and a Union rep. I’ve had a long road recovering from issues with mental health and addiction, and my passion is speaking up about my own issues in hopes of helping others. I’m very happy to be sharing this space with all of you.