Experts, airports, and dropped burritos

February 23, 2016


I have a hard time trusting folks who always seem to have their shit together.

I can’t really relate to you, even on my most polished of days. My husband brews the coffee, clears the snow, and packs my lunch so I can spend way too much time on a mediocre hair and makeup routine. The minimalist workplace look still takes more time than I would like, and I struggle to make it out the door.

Nature tends to separate people into two types of creatures: Those who effortlessly move through space and time… and those who don’t.

I call this the Airport Theory.*

Me? I tend to fall in the second category, just in case you haven’t picked up on that yet. If you ever spot me in the airport, I’m usually the chick wrangling overstuffed carry-on luggage, fighting my anxiety about the amount of overhead compartment space that’s left on the plane. I do not have children, though my suitcase is the size of a large toddler. Zone four. Last in line. Do you think they’ll notice if I hold my rollerbag in my lap?

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about baggage in the emotional sense, but the literal kind. I just want to be prepared with an iPad charger if my flight gets delayed; hand sanitizer, snacks, and a change of clothes if the situation becomes apocalyptic. I know some of you are nodding, because you know what it’s like to be prepared for everything and nothing all at the same time.

If you can’t relate to this, chances are, you’re in a different league. You’re the chill frequent flyer who is wearing a wearing her sunnies indoors, dangling a structured bag from the crook of her elbow, and gliding down the moving walkway. You are like a cross between Audrey Hepburn and Kylie Freaking Jenner.

Both of these types are an illusion. The first type might be labeled as a “hot-freaking-mess.” But as the content of her Frontera burrito spills in her lap, she doesn’t miss a beat, and continues her conference call from Gate-7. The second type appears to have it all figured out, but under those sunglasses, she is hiding dark circles and she so badly wants to scream “F*CK THIS SHIT! ALL OF IT!” No chill, Kylie Hepburn. No chill.

So basically, no one knows what they hell they’re doing – not even the experts.

Experts, gurus, thought ninjas – they are mythical creatures. There’s always room for fear, for failure, and for messing it all up – that’s what they won’t tell you. The silver lining is that there’s always something to move toward, something to learn, some way to get better. That’s why I really love what I do, because two people who can admit that they don’t have it all figured out, can figure something out together.

It’s really hard to learn from someone who won’t admit that they’ve dropped a burrito once or twice.

Even Chef Rick Bayless has dropped one from time to time (and he’s really freaking good at what he does). I know a lot about college students and job searches and packaging skills for employers, but I will never know everything. “Expert” is not a label with which I am comfortable. I will never have my shit completely together, and I want you to know that about me. The day that I do have it figured out, is the day that I stopped moving toward a goal, stopped learning, stopped trying to get better. No matter which side of the Airport Theory you land, let us learn with you by letting us see the Real You.

*The Airport Theory is not peer-reviewed.

[Come fly with me.]


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