I finally learned that it’s not worth getting upset over things I cannot control,” replied the gentlemen in the window seat of my crowded first class cabin as he sat patiently waiting for departure information.  Our aircraft was still parked at the gate, when at this point it should have been comfortably cruising at 30,000 feet en route to Boston.  I’m sure I began resisting panic mode as soon as I realized that this particular mechanical delay would more than likely turn into a flight cancellation leaving many passengers stranded, missing connections, not to mention mind numbingly angry.


My window passenger had been calmly holding his coffee and gazing outside at the tarmac as I began nervously soothing frayed nerves and offering more drinks. After a few strained exchanges with other passengers, I returned to him and both apologized for the delay and thanked him for handling the situation so calmly.  He shared that he would be soon missing an important meeting at his destination, and then added the words that I will always remember, a philosophy that continues to resonate with me and one I’ve shared with my children. I’ve used it as a mantra, both left unspoken and said out loud many times, often shortening it with a shrug and saying mostly to myself, “I can’t control this.” It has cleared my head and given me a focus in situations that would send another person into nuclear mode.

Last month I was traveling with my daughter to the West Coast to help her settle into her freshman year of college. To pass the time I began sharing funny airline tales from my long ago career, knowing that our conversation’s path would take us to the most important destination, the story of a wise stranger I had met along the way,  a story that I hope will follow her throughout a long and fulfilling life, along with the wisdom that will keep her grounded and present in difficult situations and grant her peace and acceptance, as it did me.

43 thoughts on “Acceptance

  1. I wonder how much your daughter needed to hear this sage advice and how much you needed to remember it. Seeing our fledglings take flight…
    My daughter is getting married on Saturday. Lovely timely post.


    1. Oooooh, how wonderful! Yes, going into marriage with as much wisdom as you can absorb is helpful. But sometimes we all have to learn along the way, right? Congratulations, I’m sure it will be a beautiful day!


  2. This is a great story, thanks for sharing it. It sometimes is very difficult to live in the moment and let go of those things we can’t control. We (Me) tend to spend so much time worrying about those things, and not thinking about those we might improve.


  3. At times it’s easy to forget how many things are out of our personal control, or at least to influence them into which a more positive outcome results.

    Last year, when Deborah and Tara were at CSU in Ft. Collins, they quickly came to the conclusion that being away, while exciting, wasn’t for them at the time. I think it was a bit of the growing up they had to do, but they seemed to be afraid making a mistake or making the wrong decision. To their credit, they stayed, concentrating on their studies and making plans to transfer down to be at home. The point Laurie (Tara’s mom), Andrea and I made is that they could always come home. And, that door will always be open for them no matter how old they may be.

    Hey, I like your new blog home. It’s quite beautiful and masterfully done. Lots of gold stars.


    1. It’s so frightening sending our children into the sometimes cruel world, but how wonderful that we can always offer an open door. HEY, you can quote me on that! 😉

      Glad you like the new blog. Sort of miss being fun and fabulous, though…


      1. Hi Elisa – I’ve embarked on running my own business recently which sees me working long hours, seven days a week, so little time lately for the joys of blogging alas. Loving every minute though! Fun and rewarding and hectic! Best wishes, Susie


    1. Jeannie, how nice to hear from you! I’m glad you enjoyed my story from a million years ago and that it helped make your day. How are you and what’s going on in your life? You know, I think the longer you stay away from blogging, the more difficult it is to come back! Or is that the idea…. 😉
      Hugs to you!


  4. Dean used to say that worrying about stuff you couldn’t do anything about was a waste of energy. He never understood my need to lament about stuff I couldn’t change. 🙂 I finally subscribed to his philosophy after Vonnegut taught me that “It is what it is”. Great post as always, Elisa.


  5. How true. For some, it’s hard lesson to learn. I learned it very young and it has saved me more than once when my anger was getting out of hand. Thanks for sharing it, Elisa. -Max-


    1. It means so much to me that you read this post, especially in light of the fact that free time is so difficult to come by. One of the promises I’ve made to myself is to try and absorb the words and meaning that everyone is trying to express out there.

      Take care,


  6. Perfect story to relate. Currently my town is mucking out from flood waters. Damage, heartache, things lost. We can’t control the weather, but we can help one another after the rain falls. Thanks for summing up a much needed mantra.


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