There’s one thing that I’ve never gotten used to in all the years I’ve worked as a stewardess ? Jetlag. Thousands of articles and books have been written on this subject and I’ve read quite a few of them. But all this paper wisdom only taught me one thing: how to live with it. It never solved the problem. As far as I know now, jetlag is unavoidable. You can’t walk away from it and no amount of experience will help you any further.
When I had my first severe jetlag, I remembered some simple advice I’d read about: catch the daylight and do some exercise. So I jogged to the fitness centre and worked out in a two-hour aerobics class. For as long as it lasted. Halfway through, the world suddenly turned black. When I woke up, I found myself stretched out on the floor with the worried face of the instructor right above me. Hadn’t I eaten breakfast? Was I pregnant? Did I have some sort of disease? When I told him I’d just returned from a long-distance flight and I’d skipped a night, he told me I’d misunderstood the advice. The advice was to take some light exercise, like a stroll in the park. And then he sent me home. I tried a few other tricks but in the end I learned that there is really only one way to deal with jetlag: just accept it!
For a start, that means having to accept my indecisiveness. When I arrive home after a flight, I sometimes can’t even make up my mind about the simplest matters. Like what to eat that night. One moment I feel like pumpkin soup, the next moment I’m dying for a pizza. So I buy both but might end up eating a left-over cheese sandwich or a packet of biscuits. That’s why I promised myself never ever to make any major decisions on the day I return. Neither would I ever plan any complicated activities.
Another symptom of my jetlag is the sudden loss of part of my vocabulary. Simple words temporarily escape me, so I have to resort to describing things like ‘glue’ or ‘contact lens’ in detail. As this is very tiring (for me and the listener) I usually become more and more silent during the day.
I’ve always wondered how they survive, those passengers who leave our plane and walk right into a meeting. Their body and mind must be crying out for some rest and peace, but duty calls. Will they end up regretting their decisions the next day?