I flew by myself for the first time when I was ten years old. This was before 9/11, so my parents dropped me off right at the gate, and my grandparents picked me up on the other side when I landed in Nashville. I left my book on the plane, a copy of Left Behind that scared me into good behavior for years, always looking for signs of the rapture.
The flying aspect of the trip left a much better impression than the book. The thought of being in another place in such little time appealed to me. Plus an airplane is the only actual place I’ve ever asked for ginger ale to drink.
I’m currently sitting in the Charlotte airport. The Queen City sees the worst of me, without a doubt. This is the airport I’ve cried in the most (at least half a dozen times) and drank in the most (usually related to the crying). The Tequileria in the main atrium makes decently strong margaritas. I’ll drive by this same exit later this week, but for now, I’m headed home, to Baltimore.
Airports put me in a reflective mood. I don’t know if it’s the people watching or the fact that I’m often alone, but I rarely encounter the urge to ruminate quite like the one I find in airports.
This year, man. It’s been so full. Full of surprises, full of work, and with a few dashes of heartaches, eye-rolls, and car accidents in between. But I’ve realized that a full schedule does not always make for a full heart. It’s the end of the year and I’m plumb worn out.
My friend, Macy, gave me a copy of Emily Ley’s A Simplified Life for Christmas. I devoured it on my way to Nashville. Actual, practical steps for simplifying all aspects of my life made me want to weep. I actually teared up reading the intro. It’s like Emily stepped right into my heart and saw how hard I’m trying and gave me a hug. I’ll be re-reading it again when we make our trek back down south later this week, with highlighters and a to-do list.
I want less and I want more. I want to be less and I want to be more. Less clutter and more meaning, in my mind and in my household. Less quantity and more quality, in my closet and in my friendships. Less about being right and more about being kind, in every word I type or share.
I’m still trying to decide if I like 2017 or not. In terms of business, I have what feels like an embarrassment of riches. I’m so grateful for each and every couple that chooses to trust me with their big day and I still feel completely floored that I get to do any of this. In terms of my job, I love it more and more with each semester. This fall was a tough one, with a few students who challenged me in new ways, but I love being in the classroom more than I ever imagined. In terms of faith and friendships, it feels a little murkier. The election left me feeling untethered and out of sorts, as I sifted through what it means to be an evangelical Christian. I honestly still don’t have words for how I feel about it completely, or if I do they’re far too raw, still. Our journey to a new church was good and hard and stretched us in a lot of ways. And friendships this year were both bitter and sweet. Sweet in the way that lovely people drew near to me in one of the craziest seasons I’ve weathered in Baltimore so far. And bitter in the way that losing a sense of closeness to someone will always feel. I’ll never not be saddened by growing apart, no matter how natural or even beneficial. In terms of the tall husband, we celebrated five years of marriage and nine years of making out, to the tune of a wonderful road trip and way too many lazy take-out dinners on the couch. Fall is always the hardest on our schedules, but we leaned in and leaned on each other. In terms of adulting and homeownership, this year blew major chunks. One tedious thing after the next has me diving for cover (under my appropriately-heated and sprayed-for-box-elder-bugs roof).
2017 – the jury is still out.