This afternoon, I sat in O’Hare airport for hours.
That’s typical of O’Hare. Always lets you in and never lets you out. Every time I try to leave that airport, cascading delays–
But, it gave me time to think. I needed that time. Wait, I need that time, present tense. I travel so much; I’m so active that I don’t always have the time to sit back and reflect.
In fact, let’s be honest: sometimes that’s a deliberate action on my part. I don’t want to sit back and think because that’s when “normal” starts to slip in and it makes me anxious as it reminds me that I don’t live a typical life. Most of the time, I’m fine with that because I love my life. Except, you know, in those moments when I hate it. I hate it that I can’t just fit into the “norms” around me. I hate that I just can’t settle. I hate that I can’t just be like everybody else.
(Don’t castigate me here – I know, I know 1) there is no such thing as normal, and 2) being you always pays off in the end. Of course it does! I both like and love my life, just you know, some days? Hate it)
I hate that people think I don’t want the same things (marriage, family, community, etc.) or that I’m incapable of it (why? because the way it could work with me requires a little more imagination than stop, drop, and roll into a suburb?) I hate that people think that my feelings don’t get hurt when I get rejected or things don’t work out the way I want (of course my feelings get hurt! just because I’m willing to risk a lot doesn’t mean I’m immune. I’m resilient, not an alien). I hate that people think I don’t have roots (my roots are bigger than yours and wider than yours and more cultivated than any bonsai plant in a zen garden).
I hate, most of all, that people think it’s easy being me. That people muster up the energy to even envy me. Do not mistake me: in some ways it is easy. Once you step outside the norms of society, once you break the gravitational pull, it is easy just to get on with doing your best work and living your best life. It’s freeing!
However, remember what I said above? I’m not an alien. I’m human and I put my pants on one leg at the time like everybody else. In the long run, no one escapes the gravitational pull. The pressures of life: aging parents, twisting career paths, adjusting friendships… all of it tries, desperately and most shamelessly to make you re-conform to who and what you “should be” regardless of who you are.
So, it’s not easy and it’s not always ideal and sometimes to escape the noise of other people’s opinions, I travel, relentlessly and constantly. But, I know, I always know, that there are days like today, when I’m sitting in O’Hare for hours or I’m stuck in a tin-can for 7-8 hours flying over the Atlantic, that I will have a moment of peace and silence. I will have the space to think and to hear my own voice.
What is it saying?
“Patience. Patience in all things. Relax, you don’t need to decide everything right now. You don’t need to know. You don’t need to have all of the answers. Stay open, stay open to everything. Who knows what’s around the corner? Don’t rush.”
[I hate standing still. I always think I’m going to sink into a hole. Right to the bottom. All the way to the bottom of the sea.]