I regularly find myself in airplanes. In those transits, the best times are when I can explore an airport that feels completely empty. At night. When there is almost nobody there. It gives a feeling of rest in an otherwise very crowded, loud, and hectic environment.
For me, this feels calm and relaxing. It gives me space to think. Open hallways and spacious areas. But the best is once I head into the plane in the middle of the night. Everybody a bit groggy, not ready for what’s coming. Moving their resting place to sit and sleep in a seat for the next few hours.
But that’s where I can’t sleep quite yet. It’s these moments that are the best part. A window seat, taking off in a big city, the engines roaring, the plane shaking and lifting off. The climb to high altitudes and the view back down.
A view, revealing the workings of many humans in a small space. The idea that behind every road, light, and window, there is life. People built these streets and houses. People live, work, and sleep in them. People go to school, and some have a day off. Some are happy, some sad. From up here, it all looks like one, familiar, and calm.
From up in the sky. With the airplane view. Everything’s so calm. So beautiful. It looks so simple to get around. So friendly the imagination of interactions. But for some reason all that turns around once I touch down. When I combine fantasy with the stories, I have been told. Stories about shootings. Stories about gun rights. But it’s so green. It’s so vast. There is so much space.
On one of those late night flights, I got inspired to write the above lines. Capturing the feeling that I get when I arrive in a new space. It feels strange and unclear, the stories can be harsh, the fantasies negative. But from above, it’s all so familiar, so light, and fun to explore.
It’s an experience I try to remember, to relive when I get caught up in the details, the fears, and the perfection. Taking a step back, looking at it from above, the airplane view, the bigger picture? It gives perspective, freedom, familiarity, and the vision. I get strength and want to explore. To go out there, drive down different roads without fear, to meet all kinds of people, and explore.
I encourage you: Take a step back every so often. Step into your imaginary airplane, take the window seat and look out there as you take off. It gives you some new perspective, and that provides strength and energy for the next steps.