We had a tough travel day yesterday. A two hour delay at the airport, due to the San Francisco fog, and then a thirty minute delay on the tarmac, waiting to take off, and then Jason's touch TV screen didn't work on the plane so we had to share mine. We left our hotel at 8 am, and arrived at my mom's just before 6 pm. That's a long travel day for a two and a half hour flight.
When we were in Ghirardelli Square on Tuesday, my favourite place of the San Francisco portion of our trip, we saw a tea house called Crown & Crumpet. It had pink striped walls, and a charming ambience that made you want to sit down and soak it up, even though I don't particularly like tea. In the attached gift shop, I saw a sign which I immediately wanted to buy (but didn't, as it cost $28 for a small piece of plastic) that said, "Keep calm and carry on." I repeated it to myself, in a British accent, until we got outside to a bench and I could write it down on the ferry schedule I found buried in my purse.
I loved this saying. It really helped me with my anxiety as we traveled home yesterday. I had always focused on the "keep calm" part, but that is tricky as it involves our emotions, which aren't always under our control. No matter how often I tell myself to calm down, sometimes my emotions don't obey my commands. But I can control my actions, and that's where the "carry on" part comes in.
I think I was missing that part of the equation. When I feel stressed and worried, I need to simply put one foot in front of the other and carry on. Keep walking, keep trying, and don't accept failure. For my travel day, I kept reminding myself that it would eventually end, I would arrive home and see my kids at some point, and that helped me to stay calm because I was focusing on carrying on, instead of trying to talk myself into changing my emotions.
It worked wonders, and I plan to bring those five simple words into my regular life. Whether I'm facing something wonderful or something terrifying, the same mantra applies, "Keep calm and carry on." There really are no other options. Everything terrible ends, and so do the good times. We must carry on, day by day and moment by moment, and do our best to remain calm and centred.