Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

How to avoid falling down negative (emotional) Pilot Wife/girlfriend rabbit holes…


I have to say, that I cant remember ever feeling as accepting and at peace with my life as it is as I feel at the moment… That is not to say my life is picture perfect; but simply that I am living in the moment and accepting the things I cannot change.  I downloaded an iPhone app called The Now that momentarily sends me little push messages (like texts) that remind me to live in the moment.  My favourite so far is this one by Eckhart Tolle

I am doing a very full-on 8 week course of mindfulness.  I am only about 3 weeks in, but am having to practice for over an hour a day, and I am really noticing huge changes in my outlook on life and my ability to stand back and see things more clearly. It is hugely empowering not to feel hijacked when stressful events are playing out, and not to allow my mind to run away with me about regrets and ‘what ifs’.

From what I have observed over the last few years in various groups, forums and blog posts; I think that these are factors that often plague pilot girlfriends and wives early on in their partner’s careers or after events like infidelity or career changes.

Bf is away at the moment… a four-day long-trip to an exotic location.  Am I jealous? Not a bit actually!  I am actually grateful to have time to indulge myself in a routine that allows me to be a bit selfish.  That’s not to say I don’t miss him at all, but I am really enjoying my own space more than usual.  I have been able to spend hours on the phone talking to the other people in my life that I love and miss, without him rolling his eyes or getting fed up about me not prioritising my time with him.  I have been to meet one of my very dear pilot wife friend’s and her lovely family as they literally made a flying visit to the country, I’ve had lots of time to practice what I am learning on my course without interruptions and I have spent a girly night-in with my neighbouring girl friend-having a few too many mojitos without needing to consider him.  All very healthy in my opinion, I love Bf, but I also love being with my friends and spending time talking to the people I care about or doing exactly what I want too.

The great thing about his job is that it facilitates my doing this… So rather than dwelling on what his career can potentially inflict on me, or what I might be missing out on, I am focusing on enjoying each moment as it happens and enjoying all of the opportunities that it presents me with.

I had a call earlier this week from my grandmother, she was heavily burdened with worry about my father, and was in two minds whether to call me and stress me out, but I was able to listen to her and reassure her.  I felt really at peace, and it felt good to be able to support her.  I also learned a great deal about her past that I hadn’t previously known simply because I listened.  Listening to people and giving them your full attention is such a huge gift, it sounds easy, but in practice a lot of people don’t do it because they are too busy ‘waiting to talk’ rather than actively listening to people..

When my step-father died, I realised that I wanted to know everything about him, and I desperately asked everyone he knew to email me with their stories and memories about him, but most of his childhood stories will never be known to me because he is gone, and his stories died with him. Its odd, but I realised after that, that I rarely ask my older relatives about their ‘past lives’.  I think that people enjoy a chance to tell you stories and pass on their experiences.  I am glad I know a bit more about her, because she is 87 and wont be around forever.

Bf, says he has noticed huge changes in me recently, not all for the better, because I am putting my own needs ahead of his a fair bit now.  I have to say, that being ‘selfish’ at times is not all bad, as it actually enables us to be positive and independent. Also, because our needs are met, the side effect is that we are actually more capable of being supportive of others in the process. I had lost sight of that frame of mind somewhere along the way after we had our daughter, and now I have found myself again…

I am constantly reminded of my evolution as comments (like this quite shocking piece of advice from one reader to another) on old blog posts that I wrote years ago, arrive at my email inbox… The people who leave comments, and who are in the same bad place that I was when I wrote some of them remind me of how desperate I felt at times.

For a time, I considered deleting the offending posts, and even my whole blog, so that Google et al would stop delivering people to my blog for them to post and project all of their insecurities and stresses onto my blog…  For a while, the comments really bothered me, and transported me back like an emotional time machine to re-living and massaging those negative thought processes and absorbing all of their negativity like a sponge.  Now however, I feel able to distance myself from the person who wrote those posts and the people who now identify with them.  Instead of transporting myself back, and dragging myself down a horrid rabbit hole, I treat them as gentle reminders of the amazing journey I am on.

I have taken to wearing a butterfly necklace that my mum gave me recently… She bought if for me as a gift after I expressed a desire to find a nice piece of jewellery that had a butterfly on it, because after my grandmother passed away, I once asked a vicar for a way to explain death to a child… She suggested I explained it by using butterflies as a metaphor: to suggest that caterpillars do not yet comprehend the true beauty of the life ahead of them, and that their caterpillar friends would not understand it until they too, were butterflies… I really connected with this illustrative suggestion, and talked to my younger son about it after my step father passed on recently.   I know he found great comfort in the analogy.

Whenever I want to remind myself to be positively present in the moment and to be mindful of the changes I have made in myself, or if I want to connect with my father: I pause and hold the little marcasite butterfly pendant hanging around my neck.  I find that it is a great way of anchoring my thoughts and feelings, and focusing on what is going on right now.

That is my offering to anyone who struggles with ’emotional hijackings’ and rumination… It is impossible to live in yesterday, ridiculous to try and live in tomorrow, and although sometimes difficult, what we have to focus on is right now.  For me, mindfulness has been a real sanity preserver.  If you are interested in the concept of how to live free from the woes of yesterday and the fears of tomorrow, Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now is a great read, but ultimately I recommend doing a course in mindfulness, and NOT reading polluting yourself with too much potentially toxic reading if you are not in the right place to distance yourself from other people’s negativity…

Support groups or discussion forums are, in my opinion a safer place for someone prone to absorbing negativity than perhaps blogs, because you have the wisdom of a whole crowd, rather than the opinion of one person and the readers who were attracted to the content of those posts by search engines and they therefore tend to be much more balanced than reading just one person’s thoughts.  I have links to a few in my side bar of my MAIN PAGE if you are interested in looking at these other resources

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