Anxiety and Airport Food

Sitting in Sam Snead’s Tavern at the Jacksonville Airport my stomach was in a knot.

photo credit: David McKelvey via creative commons

photo credit: David McKelvey via creative commons

I planned on stopping to eat lunch before turning my rental car in at the airport. I pulled in somewhere but my anxiety which had been bothering me all day started bothering me again and I didn’t want to stop anywhere I just wanted to get to the airport. When you struggle with anxiety normal fears are heightened. When driving a rental car I constantly look and worry about hitting someone or someone hitting me. This is a feeling I deal with when I’m driving my own car but it’s increased when I drive a rental car. I felt temporary relief once I turned in the car, but my mind quickly shifted to worrying about something else. Anxiety can rob you of your happiness. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. We all struggle with things and for me this is number one.

As I sat at my table at the airport restaurant about to eat overpriced mediocre food I thought about how great things are for me right now. I don’t have a reason to be stressed or to be anxious about anything yet I allow myself to be. As I was thinking about this I noticed a man who appeared to be in his early 50s waiting a table near me. Something in that moment gripped me and broke my heart. Nobody wants to be a waiter at his age. What could anyone possibly say to make him feel better about his job? I just hated it. It pains me to see people who I know are unhappy. Maybe he isn’t unhappy but I doubt it. How could you be happy when your career is a waiter at an airport restaurant?

I’m not sure why this bothered me so much but I think it probably had something to do with the fact that I was swimming in my own pool of anxiety and not wanting to get out. There is so much darkness in the world it can sometimes be impossible to see the light. Sometimes my heart is so full I feel as though it might explode. Wedding receptions or hanging out with a group of friends you haven’t seen in a while bring an overflowing amount of joy. Laughter is as abundant as the drinks and you can’t stop smiling. Then there are other times where the ugliness and brokenness of this world can cause me to dislike everything.

Everyone can’t work their dream job. Nobody likes to say this because it is depressing, but it has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s what hit me when I saw him waiting tables. I wished for his sake he would have made other choices in life. Couldn’t there have been something which happened to him which woke him up before he ended up here? I don’t mean to bash people who work in jobs which aren’t glamorous. I have immense respect for them. Anyone who swallows their pride in order to make a living deserves credit. At the same time it’s fair to say they could have done better. I know the world isn’t a charity and I don’t want it to be that way, but it hurts to see someone not living out their potential.

After I left the restaurant I walked to a bookstore which I often do at airports. I think about what it will be like to stand there and look at one of those books with my name on it one day. Some days it seems a long way off and other times it feels close.

I’m not sure why but seeing him waiting tables made me so motivated to achieve my dreams. As another birthday came and went last week I was reminded how fast life goes by. I just turned 18 and now I’m 28. I know 38 and 48 will be here in the blink of an eye and if I’m not intentional with my goals they won’t happen.

Right here I should put some corny saying about chasing your dreams but that isn’t really me. All I want to say is whatever bothers you and whatever is most difficult for you to do is something you need to attack head on and not avoid. Your goals don’t come about like birthday’s. Be intentional about what you want to do. Find motivation from everyday life.