Last week I traveled to Houston on business. It was a typical non eventful trip.
Uber to MARTA to plane.
And as always, my earphones went on as I got to the MARTA train station. The city passed me by, as I listened to my playlist. And conversations passed me by as well, since the headphones allow me to jump in and out of the ones I want to participate in.
The earphones serve as a welcome social barrier sometimes, since I tend to meet people almost too easily at times.
Some things in life can be taken for granted, if you do them enough.
I’ve been on enough plane rides over time that the desire for a window seat evolved into a stronger desire for the aisle seat.
And of course, it’s easy to take for granted the preflight instructions from the flight attendants. I usually keep my earphones on for those too.
Seatbelt instructions. Check.
Reminder that seats also serve as flotation devices. Check.
Instructions for exiting the aircraft during an emergency. Check.
Reminder to use oxygen first and then administer to others second. Check.
It’s so easy to leave the earphones on, and let the instructions pass by when we’ve heard them so many times. We take them for granted.
But it’s the instructions about using the oxygen mask first that keep coming to my mind lately – especially when I’m not on an airplane.
How often do we pass along the oxygen mask to others, to the detriment of ourselves. Our own selflessness can make it possible for our own health or happiness suffer for the sake of others who really don’t deserve or appreciate that type of sacrifice from us.
But we do it anyway.
Just recently on my trip to Houston I had the time to think about the times I’ve passed along the oxygen to a particular friend, to the detriment of myself.
Over the past few months I’ve felt like a swimmer carrying a load of bricks on my back, in order to help a friend who will not really help himself.
We’ve probably all gone through something similar at one time or another, to some extent.
But eventually we must come to the liberating conclusion that only when we’re good to ourselves first, can we be of much good to others.
And if we spend an overly extended time passing along the oxygen to others first, and dealing with chaos similar to the hustle and bustle of an airport tarmac, we’ll never have time to enjoy the simple things like the clouds above, which we tend to overlook anyway.
For the benefit of yourself and others, know when to take the oxygen mask when it drops down from above. You’ll be glad that you did, as will those who truly care about you.