I flew to Chicago by myself last weekend. Two three-hour plane rides (one there, one back) gave me basically an entire week’s worth of alone/writing/reading/thinking time, the kind I usually try to steal about an hour of each day during overlapping naps. On the return flight I even had internet access, which was kind of like those massage chairs you sit in when you get a pedicure: not necessary, but made something I was already looking forward to a little more luxurious.
Here are some things that crossed my mind during all this freedom:
- I am the only person I have ever known who loves Ohare airport. It reminds me of my twenties. Of flying home from college and then back again to the ‘home’ that was my school and my friends and a city that wrote the story of my climb out of adolescence and into adulthood. After we moved to Arizona, the first time I felt homesick for Chicago was when I left on a business trip and flew out of Sky Harbor, my new home airport. I wept for Ohare.
- I sat next to a sweet girl on the way home who is getting her Masters in International Business. She was beautiful and worldly and made me acutely aware of the fact that I am no longer 23 years old (or 26 or 29) without making me feel bad about it. I told her I was a writer and she gushed genuinely, Really?! I have always hoped to write something someday … and you’re actually doing it. That’s amazing! I tried to tell her that really what I do is stay home with my two kids and may someday do a little freelancing, but she seemed only to hear the part about being a writer. Wow, she said. You’re doing what you’ve always wanted. How did she know that?
- This must have inflated my ego, because I signed up for THIS on the way home. I’m excited to learn more about the freelance world, especially in a setting that takes into account the fact that I write during naptime, a highly risky and completely unpredictable work environment.
- Speaking of writing professionally, this is my friend Tim. He is a writer. When we met and became fast friends 13 years ago we bonded over being Californians out of place in the Midwest and talked about someday both being writers. Also? He wore sunglasses inside for the entirety of a formal wedding. I’m pretty sure it was to be ironic. Writers are crazy like that.
- Speaking of friends, I know everyone thinks their friends are amazing, but seriously, MY FRIENDS ARE AMAZING. Without the kids or even so much as a date to the wedding I went to, I tried to focus on having real conversations with the people who were there. In this group alone are attorneys, educators, entrepreneurs, ad execs, PR execs, artists, writers, physical therapists, speech therapists, finance people, IT people, government people, more than one Ph.D., and someone who made THIS for breakfast:
Beyond the resumes, though, are individuals I may only see once or twice a year but am completely impressed by with each passing visit. Who knew that a bunch of nerds from all over the country could convene in the middle for a few years of fun on the shores of Lake Michigan and that we’d end up all grown up with crazy cool jobs and kids and lives. Fun.
- I wore this dress. I got it here. It was too tight. I didn’t breathe properly for about six hours and may have permanent brain damage. The end.
- Four roommates in 2002:
Four former roommates in 2011 (the Best Man inexplicably holding a bridesmaid’s bouquet):
- I got to get all Patty Simcox on three new mamas and pregnant one. Also good times.
- The wedding I attended was a stately affair and the party stayed very much in control. No naked dancing on tables. That is what I left behind at home.
- The views were lovely, both while I was there:
and especially on my return: