Lagging on a Jet Plane

May 14, 2023

It takes me several months to adjust to the one-hour daylight savings time charge (which only leaves me a few months before it changes right back). I don’t do much better on switching years, as all who have received checks from me dated “day-month-PREVIOUS year” will attest. Once stuff changes, it needs to stay changed for at least three or four years, say I!

Time zone variations are really next level. After living in Hawaii 12 years, my poor sister C is still on the receiving end of calls and texts from me at 9 AM (Eastern) which is really 3 AM in Honolulu. Even the three-hour difference with the West Coast gives me pause--is Evan awake yet? Or is he down for the night? Or perhaps…sleepless in Seattle? (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

But when you add long-distance air travel to time changes, watch out! Suddenly, everything I ever knew is thrown out the window! I’m returning to Philly from Italy, and ready for dreamland when everyone else is in their midday. Conversely, I’m deplaning from Alaska at what I think is mid-morning, and the folks at home are setting the table for dinner. It doesn’t help that there is no airline food menu any more that would at least clue me in to the mealtime where I’m going to land (when—if ever—is the right time to savor that tasteless bag of mini-pretzels?)

Along with my skin and knees, my brain is lagging behind under the best of circumstances. I am hoping to lose some of the extra weight my antidepressant meds have gifted me with over the past few years, but I fear my epidermis won’t keep up with any shrinkage (we used to call my sweet Nana’s excess flesh “underarm dingle dangle” and Lord I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me). Today Aiden AND Peter demonstrated their latest trick: jumping up instantly from a kneel to a squat (Aiden even did it wearing his heavy backpack)! My joints shrieked just watching them. And my cognition is similarly challenged, and bested, on the regular.

Centuries ago, there was no such thing as jet lag (no jets, for one thing). It took weeks to cross the ocean on a ship, months to cross America in a covered wagon. The body, mind and heart had ample opportunity to acclimate. In our urge to go ever faster, we’ve lost the joy of gradual. And now that space travel is destined to be an activity for the masses, it’ll just get worse. Imagine stepping off a shuttle and meeting grown grandchildren who weren’t born when you’d taken off!!

Maybe it’s only a matter of semantics. If we did a reframe, we could speak of this time travel we’re all doing as “hopping,” a much livelier and pleasanter term than “lagging.” I much prefer the image of merrily leap-frogging across time zones, rather than slogging along like a zombie.

Let’s hop to it! Meet you for dinner—or—breakfast?


    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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