“We have an isle or window seat option available, which do you prefer?” might be some of my favorite words ever spoken. When there are views to be had at thirty thousand feet (or anywhere really), sign me the heck up.
While mothers nurse their screaming babies, while business men type away on laptops, and while a guy wearing a plaid shirt in row 28 complains to a very patient flight attendant about his legroom; you can find me with my nose glued to the window.
An airplane window seat is the most compelling part of my adventure to come. As I sit still (for once in my life) and watch the world pass by below, thoughts and feelings dance around my head about what I’m about to experience or what I have just experienced on my travels. Each one being more special and eye-opening than the last. And I’ve really come to realize that I do some of my best thinking with my head high up in the clouds, looking down on ribbons of cloud topped by soft blue tinged strips of light. It’s always sensationally tranquil.
As I fly over little the tiny villages and cities, I think about people. “Who lives there and what are their lives like?” I wonder. I’d like to believe that I’m staring down at the homes of husbands and wives, passionately in love with beautiful children. But more often than not in this world, the inside of a home is something broken. I’d like to believe that I’m staring down at a person’s hometown and that they’re overwhelmingly happy. But sadly, they’re probably working a job they hate and living paycheck-to-paycheck.
As I fly over parks and schools, I think about youth. I hope that the children inside those schools grow to change the world (because we so desperately need it), but more than likely, they’ll follow the status quo or what his/her parent(s) desires. I think about the bullied children in the schools that I’m rising over and how the thought of going to school terrifies them or even leads them to take their own precious life. I hope graduation comes fast for them.
As I fly across borders, I think about my home. How vastly different it is from every single place I’ve been traveling to and what it will be like when I return. I think about the homes of families I’ve met in places like Manila and Mongolia, who sleep on cardboard and in the dirt. I think about my own family and what I did to deserve such a privileged one.
As I fly on a remarkable sunset, I think about time. How it’s a complete mindset and really doesn’t exist at all. The Earth just simply spins and mother nature accommodates, as it always has and always will. I think what it would be like to live in a world without watches.
When the flight attendant charges me for a bottle of drinking water, I think about money. How we all start life getting our ass wiped, then end life getting our ass wiped, and in between we’re just chasing coin. I save the bottle for later in the trip.
When someone boards the plane in a burka, I think about religion and how people care more about WHO created Earth, rather than the Earth itself. I think about how I found “God” with my head in a toilet bowl and not in a church pew.
And when I peak over my fellow passengers heads to see the guy wearing the plaid shirt in a new seat with better legroom, I think about how people’s problems are believing that they shouldn’t have them.
I think about how the modern society and economy is built on the false premise that people need to buy new goods and services all the time. That money or marriage means success and happiness. That you can only get an education from a credited four-year university. That you are worthy if you are pretty or smart. That if you don’t follow a “God”, you’re doomed. That you are important if you have money, drive a nice car, and wear Prada or if you’re fucking “social media famous”.
I call bullshit.
People need fresh air, healthy food, clean water, exercise, creative stimulation, companionship, self-esteem, and a safe place to sleep. That’s it. Everything else is a mindset. And all of these fundamental things are simple to obtain. Hell, most of them are free.
This new year, I’m focusing on the basic goodness and simplicity of the world. Anything that costs me my peace is too expensive. I WANT to settle for less. I’m taking time to consider and appreciate everything; not just when I’m forced to because the seatbelt sign is on and my cell phone is disabled. I hope I’m reminded again and again how gigantic the world is and how microscopic I am. And to cherish, cherish, cherish.
“Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness…give me truth.” —Henry David Thoreau
I hope you consider the same. Just remember to look out the window.