Are sharks racist? Do dogs have SEC bias?
Just kidding. Those are titles of my good friend Ben's satire pieces that currently live unpublished in the archives of his MacBook's Word folder—both of which, incidentally, are bolstered with convincing (albeit coincidental) evidence.
Back to reality (flying miles above the ground at 600 mph in a metal tube; I use "reality" loosely): I'm on my way to Baltimore for a layover before heading back "home" to Dallas, and nothing inspires me more than the improbability of human flight—and the fact that an actual corporation cares enough about my presence at an event that they're willing to fly me to the destination and back.
Reflection interlude—the last 365 days of my life (and, if we're being honest, the several thousand that preceded them) have contained the most magically ironic of plot twists. This time last year, I had panic attacks on airplanes, had never flown alone, and, truthfully, didn't have much confidence in my own ability to problem-solve or troubleshoot. My parents used to joke that I have a "high sense of self-preservation," but the subtext is evident: "You're a massive weenie."
To be clear, I still sling a Bloody Mary (or three) every time I fly—but I'm light years ahead of where I was (and who I was) this time last May.
I owe a lot of that growth and push for self-discovery to the same company responsible for my current inhabitation of the clouds.
I learned I love to travel. I learned I worry too much. I learned I (mostly) land on my feet and—surprise!—I'm fully capable of "doing life" on my own without the comfort and consistency of a relationship. I learned I love to work hard and nothing satisfies me more than genuine productivity and creativity. And to think these revelations all came as collateral of standby flight privileges and a job in social media and marketing!
Going back to Cincinnati this weekend for work (the place I spent the first 18 years of my life before embarking on my adventure to Dixieland and beyond) was a little surreal and a welcome reminder of how far I've come. Adopting a "say yes and figure it out later" attitude has turned out to be the best thing I've ever done. After all, serendipity has managed to find me wherever I've wandered thus far—why start questioning it now?
A lot of my future is still totally uncertain. I'm not employed full-time (yet), I'm living with an adorable older couple I've affectionately dubbed Phendy (Phil and Wendy) rent-free, and the concept of weekly dry cleaning still befuddles and infuriates me. I still spend $200 every time I go to lululemon and then eat Cheerios for the next week to accommodate my charming fiscal irresponsibility. It's a balance, you know? I may be confined to Whole Grain, lightly sweetened breakfast cereal, but at least I have sweat-wicking leggings. (Sometimes I think lululemon hikes up its prices in an effort to ensure none of its customers can afford to eat, thereby ensuring they'll always fit into their overpriced workout garb. But hey, it's just a theory.) Needless to say, I am, by no means, an "adult" yet.
But if the last 365 days have taught me anything, it's that the uncertainty of a life unplanned can sometimes be more rewarding than checking off the boxes in perfect order. Hell, standby flying alone taught me that—think you're going to Birmingham? No, you're going to Tampa. Enjoy.
To be fair, the control freak in me is still reeling. I still head into a verifiable tailspin whenever I really delve into the "maybe you will, maybe you won't" reality that I'm faced with. But all I can do—all any of us can do, really—is take it one day at a time.
"I may not have ended up where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."
See you in four hours, Dallas.
The fine print: