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The Airport: We Are All On A Journey

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The Airport: We Are All On A Journey

I find the airport calming. For the most part.

I was sitting at gate A33 just the other day at the beautiful McNamara Terminal in Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and I had the chance to recollect my thoughts for the first time in over a week. The week prior was filled will exams and papers and no sleep. But as I sat in one of the thousands of seats in that airport, I realized, the airport is a metaphor. A metaphor for life.

We all travel to and from the airport, in different ways, means, and from different places. Some people catch a ride from friends or family, some catch a bus, and some Uber or Lyft, or park their car in short or long-term parking. We all make it to the airport in someway to get to a commonplace, the airport, at the same time. We all check in to our respective flights and head for security, where honestly we all just want to get in and out of as soon as possible with no problems after taking our laptops out of our bags. Annoying, but we understand this is for everyone's safety so we tolerate it.

Exiting security is where I find airports to be a metaphor for life the most. We all started at similar beginnings and had to go through similar processes, involving getting to the airport and going to security, but now you are free to go.

People crowd around a busy airport terminal waiting for their flights

Similar to everyone being a baby for the first few years of life, you have very little control over your beginnings. You do not get to choose what you eat, the family or people you were born into, or where you were born. You have no control over these things. But security represents the beginning of your ability to change your life and make your own decisions which I believe happens from the young age of 4 and 5. You are free to choose who you want to be friends with. You can be picky about what you eat or wear. You can decide. In an airport, this is similar to how you are free to browse through pop-up stores selling overpriced clothing. You are free to grab some coffee or food before your flight if you feel like it. You are free to do whatever you want before your respective flight leaves. You can make your own decisions before you go on your way to a new location.

But what I find outstanding is the simple amusement of watching other fellow travelers pass by and guess where they are heading to. Where is their next location? Who are they going to see? Are they starting a new beginning? Are they traveling for their own pleasure? Are they going to see family? What are their intentions? I love guessing where someone may be traveling too and what they may be feeling at that particular moment.

The airport reminds me that we are all on different paths. Some in a hurry, some relaxed. Some ready to leap into a new adventure, some not able to leave the past behind. But all of our different paths cross at this particular time on this particular day at the same place: the airport. The airport reminds us and emphasizes that we are all on a journey. The airport brings us down to earth, that we are just one of the billions in this world experiencing the journey of life. We may not all know where this journey may each take us, but we are not alone. We are together.

A group of people exit the airport after their flights land.

Together at the crossroad: the airport.

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