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just when you think you had it all figured out...
a 4 month absence slaps you in the face.
by julie abate (@juliekristine)

For the last 4 years I have been a flight attendant. I dabble in other things here and there but my primary income and job has been as a flight attendant. I love it. I really do.

The job in itself isn’t hard. It’s really quite easy; even with all the crazy people you deal with on a daily basis. The good definitely out-weighs the bad. However, being a flight attendant is more than just a job… it’s a lifestyle. I’m sure lots of people say that about a lot of different jobs but in reality it’s true for us. We sleep in different cities & countries, our bodies forsake timezones. Sometimes we eat like kings and queens. Pasta in Italy, steak in Argentina, fried plantains in the Dominican Republic; other days we eat whatever we can get our hands on. I don’t know many flight attendants who don’t carry reserve food in their bags. I usually carry packets of oatmeal or soup. Something you can eat that after a 14 hour duty day and not getting off the airplane that sounds semi appealing. I found out that peanuts and milk is a complete protein and sometimes that is my entire lunch or dinner. Our weight is constantly fluctuating. We sleep whenever we can. I recently discovered I can sleep sitting up with my eyes open although that is a rare circumstance but I was amazed at my new skill. We try to fit in work outs when we can so we don’t end up like some of the more senior co-workers that we see. All that and trying to maintain a personal life and friendships and in my case constantly trying to educate myself and grow.

I live in New York in an area full of flight attendants. There is always something going on. Even if you’ve worked a long day it’s just nice to take off the uniform and meet whoever is also in town at the time for wing night or karaoke night and blow off some steam. I have a lot of friends who are way better disciplined in the diet and exercise area than I am. Which brings me to my next point. I’m almost ALWAYS sick. It’s not just the lack of sleep or poor diet… it’s the hotel rooms and passengers. I’m allergic to dust and mold so specifically I get sick just while I’m sleeping. But the passengers also come on board and touch everything with their germs. We do build up quite an amazing immune system but even then you can’t fight off everything. Basically we are burning the candle at both ends.

All these leads me to my new path. Winter and spring are slower flying months and so sometimes we are offered voluntary leaves of absence for different amount of times. This time they offered a 4 month leave. I’ve never taken one but I was starting to get a little burned out and tired of always being sick. Also my significant other has the possibility of being deployed in June and so I would love to spend as much time with him before he deploys. So I put in the for the leave and to my great surprise, I got it. I’m not gonna lie that I freaked out and I am still freaking out as to what to do with all this time. I know a million things that I want to do but at the same time I have never been without a job or usually multiple jobs. I’ve always freelanced graphic and web design on the side on top of making and selling dresses, scarves, paintings… just about anything I can.

So without having a real job prospect for the next four months I downgraded a few things to bring my bills down to the minimum. I sold my precious iPhone and down graded to a little LG flip phone. Flying international my bills would sometimes get up to about $500. Now I will only be paying like $50 or so. I’m completely out of debt so my only other bill is my apartment in New York which I share with my friends. So now is the perfect time for this leave of absence. Now this is the beginning of my four month adventure which I plan on documenting whether anyone reads this or it’s just for me to go back and look at one day and laugh at how ridiculous I felt the day I traded in the iPhone for the flip phone.

On this leave I have some goals, so I will be making multiple blog entries to cater to the proper audience. This is my main one and I will post links to the separate blogs if you are interested in said subject.

My goals in 4 months are as follows:

-Complete all 240 hours of photoshop CS4 classes online
-Finish 10 piece cocktail dress line.
-Run a 5K (which for me is a huge deal)
-Be less dependent on the phone… simplify.
-Learn and be qualified in Italian by the summer.
-Vegetarian and raw cooking which includes juicing.
-Read books that are too big to travel with. I refuse to buy into the digital book.
-Learn guitar.
-Complete Dreamweaver, Lightroom, & other relevant courses.
-Rollerderby! I have all my gear and I’m ready to start!
-Get healthy.
-Work on second book to be published.

I’m sure there are more goals in there as well because I am an over achiever which isn’t always a good thing because I get overwhelmed and never really finish anything. But now is the time to do as much as I can. These are all my short term goals and I hope that you will join me on my adventure over the next 4 months to see where I end up and how my perspective changes.


I am sanely crazy. I am quietly loud. I am a random planner. I am organized chaos. I am shyly outgoing. I am anonymously political. I am confidently insecure. I am a thinker. I am a feeler. I like to go out and I like to stay in. I like to dress up and I like to stay in pjs. I don't like to be alone. I don't like to be smothered. I get bored easily. I will watch scary movies but only if you hold my hand. I will try new foods but I can't promise I will like it.

more about julie abate


my transition
reevaluating life in a cvs line
by julie abate
topic: general
published: 12.30.99


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