There’s turbulence on the plane and I love the fear it sends through me. I love the clarity it gives on my life. Growing up in the times of 9/11 has made the act of stepping on a plane an act of facing one’s mortality even when we’re all more likely to die from a car accident. Statistics don’t calm my emotions at the end of the day (especially after you’ve experienced enough of the bell curve’s extremes).
I was on a hike in Denver last summer with a friend when we stumbled upon a rattlesnake sunbathing on the trail. Throwing some rocks in the vicinity of the snake was enough to make it slowly want to slithery away from its sunny spot. Relieved we bounded right along chatting as we went. Nearing the head of the trail I suddenly heard rattling in the bushes right next to us – I couldn’t see it. I could only hear it. I had never felt my knees knock together in fear until that moment. It gripped me.
I am learning to love the fear of not being here. It’s like a hit of clarity – a rare and elusive drug. The plane tilts back and forth while my heart wrestles with what I want my life to be about. Nomading provides this rush on a consistent basis whether it’s getting on a shaking plane or experiencing the chaos of life of another in a new city. Where do I want to spend my time? Who do I want to spend it with?
The life I’m stitching together across cities and timezones still doesn’t fit quite right. The edges feel frayed and the pattern disorganized. The stitches don’t hold together well after so many rounds of tug of war. I need these moments of clarity as the world is so vast and my sister lives continue to pull at me demanding I choose one of them sooner or later:
“If I could go back in time I’d make the same choice in a snap. And yet, there remains my sister life. All the other things I could have done instead…I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” – Cheryl Strayed