How to handle stress

48 hours after I supposedly left for Chicago... I finally arrive in Chicago.

I rarely stress out. The last time I did was when I was about to head to Thailand for vacation and riots broke out there. My manager commented at the time, "wow, I've never seen you so stressed out." Um, thanks for the support.

Here's one fellow who is quite stressed out
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Anyway, I thought I'd try to explain what goes on in my head when the situation calls for "stressing out" and "freaking out".

I was supposed to go to Chicago on Wednesday and stay for a few days before heading to NYC. I had it all planned out. Flat bed business class from HK to Chicago (thank you ML again and again!), expensive car rental (arg), Gibson's steak at night (DROOL), meet more friends on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Food food food. Catch up catch up catch up. Perfect plan.

Except that... "Today we have weight restriction; you cannot get on." What!? I'm too heavy? What weight restriction!? Haha... seriously, I kid you not. That's what the reservation lady told me word for word. None of the standbys got on the flight. SHIT, SHIT SHIT. There goes my aforementioned plan... even worse, the flights are going to be pretty bad the rest of the week. I might not even make it to NYC on Saturday!

Yup, this is a situation that calls for "stressing out" and "freaking out"... which I did for about a minute before calling ML and told him about the flight. He was surprised too. He checked his computer and then said "Tokyo Chicago tomorrow (Thursday) should be okay... but you have to get yourself to Tokyo first."

After two hours... here are the results:
  • Redeemed mileage ticket from Hong Kong to Tokyo
  • Somehow repacked everything so the weight is under the limits
  • Booked hotel near ST san's home for Wed night
  • Meeting KB san at 6:30am to have breakfast at Tsukiji
  • Meeting ST san at 11am to meet her baby as well as grab an afternoon bite
  • United business class from Tokyo to Chicago at 5pm (sigh, no flat bed)
  • Weekend rate for car rental (<$20 a day!) instead of full price weekday rental
  • Rescheduled Wed dinner to combine with Thur dinner - Gibson's still
Not bad, eh? Now that i am in Chicago after being left off a flight and rebooking everything, I think I actually got a better deal. Tsukiji, for god's sake! Anyway, at the time, when I finally caught my breath, I was actually quite amazed at the results - from not accomplishing a tight schedule to an alternative schedule that has great potential to be very good.

And therein lies the number one way to deal with stress: the alternative could be better if you make it so. Very often people dwell on the negativity and stress over it, like our turtle friend in the fish tank. If one way doesn't work, think about one that might. Work towards it, and maybe get out of the negative side and see the positives.

I am not going to lie and say I expected a perfect Tokyo itinerary. I could have been too late to redeem a same day ticket to Tokyo (turns out I beat the clock by 30 minutes)... neither KB nor ST could have replied to my emergency plead... I could have pricelined the car rental and can't take it back (plain dumb luck!)... so many things could have gone wrong.

But hey, it didn't. And that, my friends, is how to handle stress. Don't dwell, seek change, and make it happen. And... uh... a little luck.


Ivan said...

Beats my rescheduled vacation - I get to sit in front of the computer modifying a 4,000 line model with 20 operating build ups and eating sushi from a crap place instead of my planned Tsukiji sushi!

Josekin said...

And how did you handle that stress level?

Anonymous said...

Like you said deal with it! Keep doing those 120 trailing avg hours and put a smile on your face!

Josekin said...

Pooh. I would have quit. =) And then use the severance package to travel to Tsukiji for breakfast.

Anonymous said...

it's nice you can take some time off. lemme know when u get to NYC - maybe we can meet up! - sindy

Laughing Man said...

As a non-seasoned traveller, I do often find myself at the whim of the "greater powers". Good for you!