I fell in love with airports when I was 15 years old.
It was spring break of my freshman year of high school and my grandma was taking me on a trip to Washington D.C. The trip came after a particularly hard year mourning the death of my grandfather, in which I’d reached out and spent time with my grandma in the months that followed. She’d taken both of my sisters on cross country trips when they were younger, so as a sort of “my turn” and a “thank you” she asked me where I wanted to go.
I loved history and the idea of big cities so I eagerly requested Washington D.C. and my grandma made it happen. The entire trip was a wonderful experience I’ll never forget, but what my heart fell in love with most was the airports; the experience proceeding and succeeding actual travel.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore travel. That trip absolutely helped make it so, along with a wandering heart, and a childhood spent mostly in one place. But there was something about watching all these people head to the ticketing counters, all with completely different destinations in mind, all with completely different stories of why they were going and how they got there that left me mesmerized.
Fast forward 7 years, and I have experienced more emotions in the middle of airports than almost anywhere else on earth. I have cried until I could barely breathe and smiled until my face hurt. All entering and leaving airports. It was in the open-to-the-outside Kahului Airport in Maui where I took a deep breath with my best friend and smelled the ocean and flowers standing next to baggage claim – just like my grandparents years before had promised me I would. It was in the Miami International Airport where I left a piece of my heart after meeting what would become my future husband. It was the Minneapolis Airport where I watched the love of my life descend the escalator when I still barely knew him. It was in the Mobile Airport in Alabama where I left him the third time and could not stop crying my entire flight to Dallas. At the Minneapolis airport I welcomed him what felt like a final time the weekend of our wedding with a sign asking if he was ready to get hitched, and a glow that probably told the whole room of people I was a soon-to-be-bride. In an airport this past June I said goodbye to my sister, my brother-in-law, my niece, and what felt like a piece of myself before I moved to Alaska permanently.
Airports and I have an interesting relationship, and yet I couldn’t love them more. Any excuse to travel, whether it’s to see a new place or old friends, I countdown the hours until I leave for the airport and never the hours until I arrive at my destination. Isn’t it the journey and not the destination, anyway? I know most people consider airports a nuisance, a hassle, an invasion of privacy (is it reeeeally such a big deal if the TSA makes us stands in the full body detectors), and a congregation of everyone’s germs…but I get too excited about the act of traveling and the reasons why.
Everyone at that airport has a different destination and a different reason why they’re going and what an amazing job it would be if I could just sit down and ask everyone to tell me about it. Tell me why you’re here and where you’re going and what excites you. Have you ever fallen in love or had your heart broken in an airport? Have you ever embraced someone so tightly you promised yourself you’d never let them go? Have you ever been so exciting about your destination that you found yourself smiling at strangers, and still managing to be polite to the airport staff when your flight is delayed? Have you shared a smile with a tired mom or made a silly face for a baby in the off chance it might make either of them laugh instead of cry? Have you looked at your neighbor and wondered where they were going, and wished you just had the courage to strike up a conversation and ask instead of continuing to bury yourself in a book or your cellphone – and not because you’re interested in a romantic or even a platonic way, but just because?
And I get to do it all over again in just a few short days.
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends…”
– Love Actually
It hit me suddenly, once I posted photos of our new home on Facebook and the likes and comments began to pour in, that people may have thought we bought our new home.
We did not. It’s a rental in a duplex. We simply upgraded rentals to something much nicer.
But the fact that my family, my friends, and even people from my high school days genuinely thought the husband man and I bought a home gave me the strangest feeling. Does everyone really think I’m that grown up?
I can’t buy a home. I’m 22 freaking years old. I mean yes, I graduated college. Yes, I’m married. Yes, my husband and I already live together and both have full time jobs. But…but…people actually buy homes after all those steps don’t they?
Well, we’re not. We’re not getting a dog for awhile either, and we’re definitely not having kids. I may have started life quickly; graduating in three years and getting married right after but that doesn’t mean I’m any sort of grown up.
I’m notorious for leaving the stove on after I cook dinner, forgetting my gym shoes when I want to work out, and never locking the car door when I go in stores. I’m constantly losing things, burning things, and breaking things. And I’m perfectly okay with all that. I don’t want to be my mom yet. I want to make mistakes. I am 22 years old. I don’t have life figured out, my spiritual beliefs pinned down, know where I’ll be living in ten years, or even what I want to be when I grow up.
I grew up enough to know the difference between right and wrong, to get a degree, to get a full time job, to love myself so much that I could let that love overflow into another, to decide to spend the rest of my life with that guy, and to rent a home with a garage and dishwasher.
But I’m no grown up.
I still have lots of growing to do before buying a home, taking care of a dog, taking care of human being, or even taking care of a plant. I’m proud of my husband and I for being responsible enough with finances to upgrade rental homes, but I’m also proud of the fact that we stay up until 2 AM drinking and eating junk food and then sleep until noon every now and then.
We’re financially and personally responsible kids at heart and soul. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.”
– Maya Angelou
No, not closer to any of our families or friends. Not even out of Alaska. Not even 10 miles away. But we’re moving because we decided on a spontaneous whim this week we (me) needed to stop counting down the days until we move to our next duty station and get a better place to live, and just make it happen – NOW.
I need to live in the now. Today. I need to look forward to Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, and not just the weekends or trips. I can’t do that in the apartment we’re in. I moved from my parent’s house to dorms to my sister’s to two different apartments back to my sister’s and then to this apartment in the last 3.5 years. This particular apartment is the worst living situation I’ve been in. I don’t mean to complain (although my husband may beg to differ), but it’s a very old, dilapidated building. The kitchen floors have giant gaps filled with goodness knows what, and the living room has carpets that are packed so tightly down with smells we’ve fought to get out to no avail. The cupboards are crooked. The sink randomly clogs. We have no yard. Or garage. And we use coin-op laundry with about 15 other units of which 3 washers and 1 dryer work.
Your next question – WHY on earth would you move there?
Well because when I was first moving here in June we had NO idea if I’d find a job, so we wanted something that would be livable if all I could get was minimum wage. Even with my college degree, I wanted to be prepared for the worst. Oh, and we live in Fairbanks. If you were ever under the impression that Alaska is cheap to live because it’s less populated than major cities…
HA-HA. Joke’s on you, dude.
Minneapolis, MN is a fairly sizable metropolitan city in a colder climate. Apartments in Minneapolis are fairly pricey, UNTIL you look at that fun little line called “Utilities”. Energy costs in Fairbanks are 423.6% more expensive than the national average. Electric? 210.5% higher. Utilities in Fairbanks are higher than both New York City and San Francisco, two of the most, if not the MOST expensive cities to live in the United States. In case you think I’m exaggerating:
Also, groceries, gas, & even tickets to the movie theater are all significantly more expensive in good ol’ Fairbanks. Food has to be shipped from every corner of the planet to get to this frozen tundra so if you’re hoping to visit and see a dollar menu at McDonald’s or a $5 foot long at Subway, you’re in for some serious disappointment.
So, we got this first apartment because we were concerned about living on one income, it was one of the cheapest with heat still included (you don’t rent if heat’s not included), and we were young and living on love anyway.
Fast forward 8 months and two comfortable incomes later.
We’ve had an amazing time being newlyweds and living in this place, but it’s time for the next step.
It’s time to go somewhere NICE. Somewhere that we’re not grouchy about going outside to do laundry only to find the dryer is still being used. Somewhere our cars can be kept inside and we don’t have to worry about warming them up or shoveling snow off. Somewhere I can continue my new found love for cooking without questioning whether the stove is going to stop working or whether I have enough counter space. Somewhere I’m proud to have family and friends visit.
It’s a little bittersweet knowing that this will be our last few night’s in our first ever home, but we are both so incredibly excited to spend the next year and a half in this new place.
Always, always on adventures with this amazing husband of mine. I literally wouldn’t have it any other way.
The screen shots I took above are from the website Area Vibes. It’s a great website that measures the livability of cities around the United States and compares them with other cities giving you an idea of the cost of living, crime, education, etc. Pretty fun to play around on if you’re bored, or a great resource if you’re considering moving!
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
The most important lesson I have learned since my days as an uncomfortable, nerdy 16 year old girl eager to please everyone around me: someone (often multiple someones) in your life will always have something negative to say about decisions you make.
Accepting this. Embracing this. Moving forward from this is one of the most mentally freeing experiences you will ever have. I’m about to abuse my quote quota for a blog post, but this is so significant and quotes tell it best. Since I was a young and would run to my dad in tears about something or someone, he would always say to me:
“Why care what people think, when they seldom do?”
I repeated this quote at the national LifeSmarts competition in Miami, Florida my senior year of high school. A group of judges asked everyone on the competing teams what their favorite quote was. When it came to me, the words tumbled out without a second’s hesitation and when I realized that I’d probably offended half of the people in the room, I suddenly understood. In that moment that I was essentially telling the judges, “You don’t use your brains often so I could care less what you think” I realized I did not care what they thought of me. I did not care if they thought I was the smart ass girl from Minnesota. Instead I laughed at their surprised faces, went on to beat the other team, and then later that day met the love of my life.
That’s another story.
It was the first time I had said the quote, and truly embraced the words. I’m not sure if I’d credit my new found self-confidence to offending a room of people, or if it was getting so far at a national competition, or maybe it was from meeting that boy from Alabama who I fell in love with. But something changed.
I didn’t care when people questioned me about moving from a town of 102 to a city of over 300,000 and if I could handle it. I didn’t care when people asked me how I was going to maintain a long distance relationship at only 19 years old. I didn’t even care when people told me that majoring in political science or public relations would never get me a job.
This is not saying you shouldn’t take people’s advice into consideration when those people matter to you. Listening to the opinions of people you value is an important, humbling quality. An example: When I abruptly decided I was switching schools and moving to the South because it’d be easier for our relationship. My parents, college friends, and high school friends all told me to calmly assess whether that was practical. It did not take much for me to realize that no, it wasn’t.
But the negative criticism various people will throw at you for literally every decision you make? It’ll happen, and I hate to say this, but it will never stop.
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
– Dita Von Teese
When I got engaged and made the decision to move across the country, I received some of the most negative backlash from some of the most unlikely people. People who did not know me well had things to say that left me speechless. I thought back to that moment at LifeSmarts. I was the smart-ass, apparently “clueless” Minnesota girl all over again. So I handled it quite similarly to the way I had three years before.
Laughed. Got married. Moved.
I never apologize to people who criticize my decisions. You shouldn’t either. Not now. Not ever. Don’t apologize for who you fall in love with, what passion you choose to follow, how you practice your beliefs or whether you practice them at all, how you vote, or where you live. Do not care what people think when they seldom do. We all have a handful of people who support our decisions, who are always encouraging us, and whose opinions matter above all others. Value their input and their’s alone.
“I rather be someone’s shot of whiskey, than everyone’s cup of tea.”
I have never, in my life, managed to keep a journal/novel idea/blog going as long as this lovely little guy here, so thank you to the handful of souls who read every blog post and all the followers who have been drawn here for one tag or another. I know my writing is fairly sporadic and unconventional for a blog, but my goal for Get Busy Living in 2014 is to direct my writing towards one overall theme. Thanks for sticking it out with me!
February is finally here, and upon turning my calendar to that pink, heart filled month I breathed the biggest sigh of relief. It is no secret that January is my least favorite month. It’s miserably cold no matter where you’re from, my motivation to go to the gym/cook healthy meals/get out of bed dwindles significantly, and probably because of the holidays having just ended – the month feels as though it drags on forever. I try not to wish away any of my days, but I am immensely thankful for the bright, cheery month of February pulling us out of January’s depressing grasp.
As I mentioned above, I’m trying to subtlety direct my writing to one central theme in 2014: overall health. If you just cringed at the thought of my blog being filled with workout routines and recipes, fear not. And if you got hopeful that you’ll see more of that, not quite.
I asked myself recently, what am I passionate about? Really, truly what is it that I love to do or talk about doing? What fuels my inspiration?
I kept coming back to one thing. Having a healthy mind, body, and soul.
Staying active and eating healthy are important cornerstones in my life. They are things I do daily and absolutely want to share with people, but even more than just keeping a healthy body, I love thinking about and doing things that give me a healthy mind and soul. Whether it’s finding things that inspire me, fighting pessimism and recognizing what I’m thankful for, practicing mindfulness, surrounding oneself with uplifting people, or simplifying my life and my thoughts to what truly matters. These aspects of health are so much more important than the aesthetic parts our society, and even myself, have obsessed over.
You could be the most fit person in the world, but without healthy self-esteem, an uplifting support system, appreciation for your abilities, and an awareness of moderation/balance, you could still be an incredibly unhappy person. I intend to write about the big picture. I want this blog to become an encouragement for myself, and for all who read it, to pursue a healthier soul, mind, and body. In that order.
So that’s the plan for 2014, and I want to start with a weekly theme to kick it all off:
What has inspired my soul this week?
1. The movie Lone Survivor has been on my mind nonstop since we watched. My husband and I had a pretty intense discussion following the movie about war crimes and people’s perception of the war in the Middle East. He told me that there are some amazing soldiers like the ones portrayed in this movie, and there are scumbags – exactly like what we fear – who use and abuse the power they are given to treat locals horribly. I’m a proud wife to a good man in the military. I sometimes forget that supporting him and the great decisions he makes is an important part of our relationship.
2. Running, because after weeks of Crossfit, throwing on a pair of running shoes and giving it my all whether outside surrounded by nature, or on a treadmill with my favorite tunes in my ear is so needed. I enjoy the group glasses and strength sessions with a trainer, but when I’m running no one is critiquing me. No one is telling me I’m doing it wrong. I don’t have to look around and wonder why I can’t put as much weight on my bar as most of the class. When I run, it’s just me and my breathing. I realized this week that I want to make time to run at least once or twice a week. It’s such a nice change of pace. Literally.
3. The Bell Jar because it was an incredible book that reminded me depression and anxiety are very real. And although I’ve never experienced depression, it is an illness. People are not making it up or exaggerating. Our thoughts can be our biggest demons if we aren’t careful. Recognizing that even my own anxious thoughts can be harmful is why I want to explore new ways to keep my mind healthy.
4. Pancakes. There is something about making pancakes on a weekend morning that warms my whole heart. Covering them in peanut butter, and using just enough maple syrup to keep you feeling sweet. This super delicious, flour-free recipe is what we used yesterday. I’m once again drooling over the pictures, so that may be our breakfast today, too.
Hope everyone enjoys the super bowl. The husband and I aren’t a big fan of either team so we’ll be rooting for the commercials 😉
“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”
– B.K.S. Iyengar
What’s inspiring you on this lovely Sunday?