I used to love the airport.
I used to love airports. When I was a kid it meant we were going somewhere fun. It was rare enough that it was an event, but often enough that I knew the drill. We’d play this game guessing where people were going. It never dawned on me that people might be arriving; everyone was going somewhere in my mind. Was it a family going on vacation, a person alone on an adventure? These people had no idea the adventures I had them going on. To Antarctica to take pictures of penguins. To Hawaii (which was pretty exotic in my head) to walk on volcanoes. To the ocean to dive for buried treasure.
And then getting on the plane… the takeoff was exhilarating! We got little pins from the flight attendants, sometimes a little activity book and perhaps best of all, peanuts! In a tiny bag! To an 8 year old the airport was a whole other world. I couldn’t wait to do it all again.
As my career brought me a different type of travel I found myself still sometimes playing the people game but their adventures were more mundane. The little bags of gifted peanuts disappeared and were replaced with a bag of M&Ms I stuck in my bag. But I still loved going, even if I didn’t leave the hotel the event was in or had been to the same city, for the same thing, year after year. (I’m looking at you Washington DC.)
And now since I have had kids, something changed. I have crazy anxiety. My heart beats so fast. My imagination soars. Sometimes I lose a few silent tears at takeoff because I am freaked out at the thought of, what if? And it’s the ‘what if’ that makes me crazy.
Which brings me to this post I am writing as I sit at an airport bar, with a mediocre $15 margarita, before my flight to Florida. Apologies to the person sitting next to me on the flight.