Airplanes are an interesting situation. Beyond the uncomfortable being sardines with strangers bit, it is a time when I am easily distracted (I realize said variables are not mutually exclusive). Books only go a chapter or two before I get sleepy. Oh, maybe I'll sleep for the duration! I always hope falsely, trying not to let my internal dialogue jinx myself. And, 45 minutes later, I'm awake, walking the aisles. I try to milk being vertical for all it's worth and hang out by the bathrooms until some bully crew member tells me they 'need the area clear'. Why can't I just chill by the door and look morbidly at the emergency exit handle (you know you've played the mental what-if game, too)? I have always been too afraid to ask. Then I return to my seat, and sit blank-faced as I decide whether to drown out the droning plane engine noise with music or read or try to conjure exhaustion. And so the cycle of distraction repeats itself.
My latest flights took me to Utah, a place I swore up and down I would never return. Originally booked for a wedding, I re-routed my whirlwind on-the-ground plans to see a bunch of friends instead. It was maybe the most relaxed I've ever been on a trip in my life, for various reasons. I concluded that Utah is far more interesting than I ever gave credit, but equally so, I know why I was itching to leave and still don't believe I could live again.
Lately, New York has been nothing but hassles coupled with a newly learned sense of chlaustrophobia (disappointing), so anywhere without a good public transportation system would have sufficed (Sorry Boston, 3 weeks ago, I'm looking at you and your T). Lucky for Utah this time, I had a wonderful time seeing so many dear friends in different phases of life than when we last parted ways.
And it was on the airplane, high in the sky, where I cemented my feelings for how much they mean to me. And how at peace I am with my life, in all its competing struggles and triumphs. And how free and liberated I am at this moment to potentially go somewhere new, or stay with a renewed perspective on how to live here in the city, starting with this guidance I've heard tossed around for a while: "To live in New York is to leave it."
Needless to say, I'm a believer now.