At 12:14pm on November 14, I was in the gym, listening to The Crew Lounge Podcast, when my phone rang - it was Inflight recruiting.
I got the job! 34 years after my first falling-in-love airline flight, I'm going to be a Flight Attendant.
I'd always thought, back in the days when I truly believed I'd never get to do this, that that moment when you get The Good News would have to be one of the best moments of the job. It was pretty damn good; I remember half hoping some of the people in the gym would come over and ask me what was so exciting. And I did something I swore I wouldn't do, which was to keep saying "Oh my God! Oh my God!" like every single person on every single one of those home-makeover TV shows when they see their room for the first time.
But here's the strange thing; as sweet as that moment was (and remember, it was pretty sweet), it wasn't quite the climax I'd anticipated. I think that's because ever since I got called to the interview, I'd listened to flight attendant podcasts, read flight attendant blogs, watched YouTube videos (in German, no less) of flight attendant documentaries, to the point where I felt like I was already an FA. I guess you could call it proof that the visualization technique actually works.
Here's another thing I never thought I'd say: positive thinking works. I'd done a lot of concrete things to prepare for that interview - I worked out with a trainer, did a mock interview, kept meticulous notes in my STARs book (on which more later) - but in the end, I think it was feeling inside that I was One Of Those People that got me the job.
I've always pooh-poohed those people - pro athletes, for example - who make those "follow your dreams, if you believe in yourself, you can make it happen" speeches to kids. I had such a shitty self-image that, even as a kid, I thought that was a load of crap. "For someone else, maybe - not for me" was always my internal reply to those positive messages.
I was a nerdy, socially awkward, introverted and picked-on kid all through school, and I'd long believed that, if nothing else, my lack of good looks would keep me out of the running for a flight attendant job. As I got older, I started believing that my lack of social training - not going to parties or dances, not going on dates, not having friends - in high school had stunted my growth, and I was never going to be one of those vivacious, outgoing, confident, fits-in-anywhere people that I saw working as flight attendants.
So I always saw that moment of finally learning you've got The Job as one that would truly mean I'd Made It, that I was not such a loser after all. It's one reason I've pined after this job so long, even though almost everyone told me "You know, it's not as glamourous as you think...." I wasn't expecting glamour; I just wanted to feel not like Napoleon Dynamite anymore.
And here I am, accepted at last and I have to say, it kind of draws a line under all that crap I took in high school and the beatings-up I gave myself. I've finally proven myself wrong, that I can, in fact, get the thing I've always wanted more than anything else. For everyone else, being a flight attendant may not be up there on the Dream Scale with, say, astronaut or first woman president of the United States, but it was always my dream and it does feel good to have finally achieved it.