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Fear, Regrets, and No-Shows
February 11, 2023

It was late morning this past Wednesday, and I was just finishing up a post-pickleball breakfast with two new friends. The topic of regrets fell onto the table. 

Women Talking to Women

Friend A has a college degree regret that still picks at her, and her kids are encouraging her to go back to school if she wants. I joined in that encouragement. If she wants. 

Friend B doesn’t believe in regrets. She told a story of encouraging one of her adult children who expressed regret about a decision he’d made in high school, assuring him he did what was best for him at the time.  

Technically, I too, do not believe in regrets, but I do have one that comes to mind. It’s a story I hadn’t thought of in years, but I shared it with my new friends. When I’m sharing a story from long ago with people I’ve barely just met, it’s difficult for me to skip the many pathways of back story. But I think I managed, and I’ll try to do that for you. 

The Story

I was 20, maybe 21, and had dropped out (failed out) of a college that had been a terrible fit for me. What next?  An opportunity presented itself for me to interview for a job as a flight attendant, back then, a stewardess. 

My middle school Home Ec teacher had worked as a flight attendant before marrying a pilot and settling down in the classroom. She was perhaps the classiest, most beautiful woman I had ever been around and let’s just say, I was intrigued by her. Fascinated. Probably a little in love. I remember going trick-or-treating at her house. 

Anyway, I went to an all-call meeting at a conference room of an Indianapolis hotel, where we were treated to a bleak explanation of how things worked.


Following training somewhere in the midwest, all new attendants would be stationed in New York City. Starting salary would be too low to afford housing, so most newbies bunked up with 4-5 others. The recruiter assured us we’d be fine because we’d all be assigned the worst flight schedules and would likely be working staggered shifts. The school would be difficult. A given percentage of the class wouldn’t cut it, and they’d be sent home.

A postcard arrived in the mail engraved with my interview date and time. I had made it to step two of the process. 

Master Fear Steps In

At that time, 1977, maybe 1978, all this young woman from Greenwood, IN knew about New York City was violent crime. What if I didn’t cut it at the training? I’d already failed out of one program. 

And there was this guy. Yup. A guy. 

I chickened out. Maybe I should stick around and see how things played out with the guy. I no-showed. 

Are you wondering if I talked to an adult about this? Asked for counsel? If I did, I don’t remember it. I do remember hiding a lot of things back then, and vividly remember the shame of not trying for something I really, really, wanted to do because I was scared. And then there was the disappointment when the guy thing turned into a disaster. 

To this day, when I fly on an airplane, I observe the flight attendants. I actually listen to the safety instructions and watch their hands as they point to the safety exits. I notice their outfits and hairstyles. I eavesdrop when they talk to other passengers. I observe their kindness to little kids and the elderly. Some seem to love what they do while others appear a little grumpy, distracted, and unengaged. 

I can’t say what might have happened if I had shown up for that interview back in 1970-something. But I can say I regret that my fear won out. Controlled me. And I suppose, even though I don’t believe in it, I could regret a lifetime of things I didn’t try because I allowed my fear to be in charge. 

The best I can do now is check myself when I’m afraid, and vow as long as I’m able, if I can possibly help it, never again, to be a no-show! 

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  1. I can always recall my biggest regret. I should have tried harder in high school to get better grades. I was critically mediocre. After high school I attended IU Bloomington. I dropped out after 5 semesters. Jump ahead 7 years. “I have left something unfinished” I told myself. I now have a husband and 3 sons. I was shaving my legs one day when a thought came to me, (insert lightening bolt hear) “I’m going back to school.” I finished my BS an MS and got straight A’s. If I had applied myself in HS, who knows I might have been valedictorian. Yep, this is my biggest regret.

  2. Debi, after my daughter became a flight attendant and I have a new respect for them. The training- they must score a 90% or higher on every test, they get one do over, if they don’t pass it, they are sent home immediately. As always enjoy your blogs.


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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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