I thought it couldn’t get easier than flying out of PDX airport, but I was wrong. Long Beach airport (LGB) is even easier! I got my ticket and passed security within 5 minutes. WHAT? (I also never check bags).
I am sitting in the airport, drinking a cocktail before my departure home. I am a big fan of the airport cocktail. Something about airports keeps me nostalgic and dreaming. It’s a place of betweeness, not here or there. It’s always nice to sip a drink and reflect on your trip, and think about what you want to accomplish when you get “home”. I am leaving my home for my new “home”. Home feels like such a transitory place for me.
I love airports because it’s a great place to people watch. I always surmise about where people are going, and what for. Is it for a relationship? Work? Family? Vacation? I love relationships and I love stories, so airports make my imagination go wild.
It’s been a truly wonderful, rejuvenating trip. It was a quick 60-hour whirlwind, but I saw my family and friends and got to reconnect on so many levels. It’s been one year since I’ve been home and even though it’s been a while since I’ve seen my friends face-to-face, I’m so happy that with good friends you just pick up where you left off. It’s like there was no time between us at all, no awkwardness, no apologies.
This trip has also been an exercise in gratitude. I’ve been holding my breath, because I didn’t want to jinx it, but after two years, I FINALLY HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE! AND SO DOES MY PARTNER. After going to the ER last year while being uninsured, I am so grateful to be covered 100% by my job. It even includes massage, chiropractic work, and acupuncture! After going through hard times being unemployed, uninsured and on food stamps, I am so grateful that things have changed.
Meeting with my friends was awesome, but also gave me a lot of perspective about how lucky I am right now. Many of my friends are dealing with divorce, death and life-altering accidents. One of my friends almost died in a car accident six months ago. His feet were broken, ribs were fractured, and had to have surgery. He’s been out of work ever since, just started to walk again and may walk with a cane the rest of his life. We went out to dinner and he was telling me everything he’s gone through the last six months. I started to cry and couldn’t even imagine his pain. Yet through this all, he is still so positive and jovial. I knew half way through the dinner I was going to pay for his dinner and drinks. It wasn’t even a question. I honestly believe that we help people in the ways we can, and spending $50 on our good time was absolutely worth it. It was a great feeling. Usually it’s pretty 50/50 with my friends, but there are times when it’s clear that it shouldn’t be that way. There have been times when he was in a way better financial situation than me and he’s treated me, and now the tables have turned.
I have another friend who is selling her house, after living there 32 years because of family and neighbor drama. I felt so lucky and privileged to connect to friends and hear these stories. I feel so grateful for everything that I have.
I broke out into tears today, truly feeling the pain of divorce, death, sickness, and bad luck. It reminded me that we all have our own pile of $hit to deal with. Mine may be student loans, but for others it’s love, or family, or health, or a multitude of those things. At different times, we are the privileged, or we are the unlucky. It’s a revolving cycle that makes it clear to me the importance of friendship and gratitude.
I have so many thoughts swimming in my head right now. They bounce around carelessly, but I can’t contain them on paper. I have absolutely nothing to say about money right now, because sometimes it seems so trivial.
If you can walk, talk, breathe, eat and have shelter, YOU ARE SO LUCKY!
Sometimes we need a perspective shift, something to maintain that attitude of gratitude. This trip has realigned my thinking and for that it’s priceless.