Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thoughts From a Travel-Weary Brain at 30,000 Feet

My trip back home in January took from start to finish over 40 hours, and only included 2-3 hours of sleep. On the way back I was in a writing frenzy, but my brain was so spaced out that I didn't even remember I had written pages and pages on this journey until I found it in my notebook today. So here's a post from back in January:

I'm on my way to Chicago right now. I was somehow able to finagle a window seat on all four flights back home, so I am able to satisfy my child-like fascination with watching the entire world from thousands of feet in the air. (I just can't understand why someone would want an isle seat). You can probably tell that I'm still relatively new to flying, so I haven't gotten over the initial thrill of it. Something tells me it might not ever get old for me though.

One thing I absolutely love about flying is going through the clouds. This morning, the weather looks like hell below the clouds. It's rainy, foggy, and gray. But no matter how depressing the weather looks standing on the earth's surface, after you pass through the clouds it all disappears. Every day is sunny above the clouds. The sky is blue and it never rains. It's kind of hopeful in a way. The next time you look outside and feel depressed, you can remember that on the other side of those depressing clouds is a beautiful world.

The sun is just beginning to rise, but it's still very dark. Out in the darkness, I can see a few purple patches in the clouds where light is being absorbed from the city lights below. I remember back in the days in Fort Wayne before I went to college I would work late nights delivering pizzas. I worked in the suburbs, so some of the deliveries were pretty far out into the country. On cloudy nights, driving back to the city I would see the clouds in the distance glowing purple around where the city was. I'm not sure why, but I've always thought that this was beautiful. But now this is the first time I'm seeing it from above.

In a way, it kind of reminds me of my life. Six years ago, when I was delivering pizzas, I never dreamed that there was something on the other side of that purple glow. I had no idea of the potential my life had, or the places I would go. I was stuck in a very static world that consisted of little more than punk rock, trying to impress females, and The Thirty Minute Star Trek Hour. It was a very selfish and myopic world to say the least. Some of you might be able to recall a famous quote by me during this time:

"As far as I'm concerned, people who I've never met don't exist. There very well might be people living on the other side of the world, but as far as I'm concerned, if I haven't met them they're not real yet."

I'd like to think I've progressed a little bit in my world view.

I've been criticized, and rightly so, by some of my friends that say I'm too hard on people or expect to much from people. Many times, if I am not careful, I will act rude to them if they don't pass my standard of 'enlightenment'. I've recognized that this is definitely a problem I have, but I've never really understood why I act this way. I think perhaps I've finally realized that this angst and frustration I feel towards people like this is really my hatred and embarrassment of the person I used to be. I hate to see anyone as ignorant as I was.

But as I'm looking down at the clouds, I can almost see myself six years ago sitting in my car on the other side. I had no idea about life on the other side because I was blinded by ignorance and fear. But now I feel free of these things, and it's as if the floodgates are open. There is such a feeling of freedom, hope, and potential for the future that I never thought was possible. The only limit is your fears.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I really like this post. Thanks for pulling it out of the forgotten scribblings and sharing it.

I'm also relatively new to flying, but I'm with you on how lovely it is to come through the clouds and have your eyes dazzled by the brilliance of the sun on the tops of the clouds. Talk about perspective.