Airports and Moving On
It 11pm and I'm sitting in the passenger seat on the way to the airport. My parents are arriving home on the last flight and they don't know I'm on my way to surprise them. I wasn't going to, in fact, I'd fully intended upon going to bed and seeing them the next morning but occasionally the I only have 30 days left with my parents realisation kicks in and I feel compelled to spend that time with them. The countdown is making everything more real, although I'm not sure it's registered with me yet. Less than a month to go and I'll be in India.
By midnight we are parked in a lay-by at the side of the road waiting for their flight to get in. It's pitch dark outside and their plane is delayed. When they finally call on their way out I am so excited that I answer the phone without thinking and with that the surprise is sort-of ruined. It doesn't matter, because when they arrive I run to them anyways as if life was some dramatic movie. People are laughing but it's a new day in Edinburgh and I have a month left with my parents and I'll never see those people again so why worry? Airports were made for dramatic greetings, and it's a waste of a perfectly good opportunity if you don't use that chance to be ridiculously loving.
We are all so exhausted the next day we sleep in and I lazily begin to sort all my India stuff. I have a box of stuff I ordered from amazon and it all starts to feel very real. I go shopping with mum for odds and ends I need and I'm both ridiculously excited and overly emotional. We're standing in TKMaxx and I realised I didn't have nail scissors and I cannot explain why, but realising all the little everyday things I need during my year start to make me more nervous than getting all the big things. It's sinking in, slowly, that I'm actually doing this and I'm crazy with feeling.
I love the simple things about this world. Not the grandest gestures, not the biggest ways you can connect with others or with yourself, but the tiny pieces of ourselves that are almost overlooked. The itty bitty parts that make you, you. Little things like hugs at airports and nail scissors and finding a really comfy pair of sandals. The little things that make this big, complex world so simple.
Suddenly the days leading to India are getting fewer and fewer. I book my tickets down to London for a few days earlier than I need so I can see my brothers before I leave. It means leaving home a little earlier, and my dad and extended family, but I couldn't go anywhere for a year without seeing my boys first. Mum books to come down with me to see me off since dad is at work. One night we are sitting playing go-fish at the dining room table and talking about India. and I let slip a worry I'm having. I'm going to be different when I get back, aren't I? My mama looks at me and nods. For a little while she is silent and I realise it's not so much a worry as it is a hope. I will be different.
I think I've realised that leaving home doesn’t mean leaving who you are behind. Yes, I will grow and change and never be completely the same, but it doesn’t mean that everything about who I am will cease to exist. I will always be this person deep down.
We all want to find our place in this world, our piece to grab between our fingers and claim as our own; and sometimes we just want things to stay as they are, right in the middle of perfection, where our mouths are curved upwards into smiles and we feel settled and comfortable and safe and good.
But life doesn’t work like that.
But change is not a bad thing. Change is synonymous with growth, with second chances, with new beginnings, with do-overs and exciting starts. Change means somewhere strange and unfamiliar and vastly different than before.
But it doesn’t mean bad.
I think we fear change because we’re scared of who we will become when everything has shifted around us, when we don’t recognise those closest to us, or even our own faces in the mirror. We’re scared of change because change can mean we’re pushed in directions we’re hesitant to go, or that we might lose the ones we love somewhere in the process.
Change is scary because we don’t know what lies ahead, and standing on the edge, leaning forward makes it seem like a huge, uninviting drop-off between where we are and where we are supposed to go.
But change isn’t like that, at least not all the time. Sometimes change can be awful, yes. But mostly change is awful in the beginning because you’re not used to it, and once you settle in, you discover it’s not so bad after all.
Change leads you to places, to people, to opportunities, to a life you never pictured. It shows you ways that your life can be different from the one you had before; it shows you what kind of person you are, one that is even stronger than you thought.
Change isn’t a bad thing. It’s a opportunity.
It’s the world granting you a gift, allowing you to open your wings and to fly. Sure, you won’t soar at first. Sure, you might stumble or crash to the ground a few times as you learn how to flap your wings and be carried by the wind.
But then you will take flight.
And you’ll see that change isn't a bad thing, but an opportunity to be grasped.