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I do some of my best thinking on planes, likely out of survival. If I’m not 100% distracted, I’m a mess up there. Here’s what I was thinking about on one of my last flights.
Prepare for take off
Have you ever flown on a bad day? It’s gloomy or raining or snowing or the sky just feels weird and you’re positive the plane will enter a cloud and never come out. Beside the weather, you’re just having a day. Maybe it’s what you’re leaving, or what you’re flying to. You’re sitting on the tarmac, smushed against a stranger who’s waiting to open their crusty hamburger, watching the guys in reflective jackets load hundreds of bags of too many outfits, and you’re just not having it.
You half listen to the safety briefing thinking “what if this is the one time I really need to listen and I don’t?” so you kinda pay attention, but not nearly enough to stay calm if something actually happens. You take off and your town gets smaller and smaller and smaller until you pretend you know what highway that is but we all know you don’t. The sky is dark and weird and you’re feeling dark and weird as you get closer to it. The plane is shaking and bouncing and people are trying their hardest to not look afraid, but if you look close enough, everyone’s a little on edge (except the 60 year old woman already snoring through her romance novel — how the hell do these people get to sleep so fast???).
Don’t like this one bit, but it doesn’t matter — you’re along for the ride no matter what. You have to be.
If you’re like me, at this point you’re quietly praying “please stop the turbulence. please stop the turbulence.”
And then, just then
You and your headphones and the other 175 people in this pencil with you shoot out from the other end of the cloud and it’s perfect out. It’s perfectly blue. The sky is gorgeous. The plane is perfectly still. You’re actually, literally, floating above the clouds. As far as your little window let’s you be, it’s blue and magic and clear and warm.
Twenty seconds ago, you were doom and gloom, because that’s all you knew. Just on the other side of those clouds below you are heaps and heaps of people who think today is a crappy rainy day. A crappy rainy week. A crappy rainy year. They’re covered in rain. Their hair, ruined. There new raincoat is proving not to be rainproof.
But in this moment, you know the truth. You know that it’s really, really pretty up here. It’s actually kinda breathtaking.
It’s nice up here. I promise. Just you wait.
If you haven’t caught on to this metaphor, let me be blatant — this is a lot like life. No matter how rainy and windy and grey and weird your day is, you can trust and know that it will and does get better. It’s always sunny somewhere. It’s always clear somewhere. And it will be clear and warm and calm for you again soon.
Just you wait and see.
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