It’s quiet on the flight now.
People have been fed, old men have dozed off, and the little kids are busy with iPads that are (thankfully) plugged into headphones. With the silence comes an abundance of time to think. It is perhaps the first time I’ve just sat and thought in quiet for some weeks or months. Oh sure…I think all the time and some people who know me wish the whirring craziness in my brain would slow down a bit. But quiet reflection is active and I have been too busy…both professionally and emotionally…to give myself the quiet space to sit with my thoughts.
The plane is flying at 394 mph at 34000 feet somewhere over the and since I’m headed home, I wilfully refuse to translate that into the metric system. (Take that Rest of the World!) Often when I’m in the air for more than a couple hours, my thoughts turn a bit dark.
What if the plane goes down? Water or land? Will I cry as we go down? What would the prayer be? Who would the prayer be said to…what is his or her name?
This time the only question that lingers is…What would I say if I had one last moment to write a goodbye?
Obviously I would want to tell the people I love how much I love them. I know I’d forget someone…but I’d give it a whirl. I would tell my sister and my best friend how much they’ve meant to me. And I’d want all the of the children I love to know how proud I am of them and how much I want them to have lives filled with joy. Also, I’d make sure to quickly sign something leaving my team to Granström…who else would I entrust these 85 people to than the guy I already entrust them to?? 🙂
But what else would I say…today…at this stage, in this season? Maybe something like…
First, let me start by saying Thank You. Yup…it’s a big fat generic thank you. But really. You’ve all been such a huge part of making me who I am. From those who walked beside me when I was taking my first steps, to the lady in 1D who keeps making sure I’m still here (at least I think that’s what she’s doing…or maybe I have something in my teeth?)
People are so people-y. Humans make me nuts. And they make me fall in love with them over and over and over. And I don’t mean just the tall good-looking sexy ones (btw…thank you too gentlemen). I mean all the people. Some of you have been worthy of my fury and others have been the object of my affection. But each of you who have crossed my path have done something to share yourself…good or bad…better or worse. And you have also received some part of me. I hope mostly good stuff. But I know there is plenty I could also apologize for…because I too was a human and very people-y.
Second, I ask that you laugh more and try to not take yourself and everything else so seriously. I can’t make you do it, but it’s a suggestion. Look…at some point you too will be on a plane over the Atlantic that goes down…or you’ll have a heart attack (hopefully during sex)…or maybe you’ll lay down in your bed one night at 92 and just wake up dead (as my dad used to say). No matter what…your last breath is coming and it will not be refused. So…
- Laugh as much as you can
- Tip your face to the sun every chance you get (if you don’t know why…move to Seattle…or Berlin…or Stockholm for one winter and find out)
- Hold babies…even if you don’t like babies much or are a little afraid of them. Hold them and tell them that it’s all going to be okay. They need to know and you need to tell them
- Go for walks while listening to good music. Tune everything else out but the beat and the fresh air in your lungs
- Do work you are proud of. And even if the work itself might not be thrilling…work with people you want to inspire and be inspired by. Also…it is okay to say “It’s just a job” and go home. And it’s okay to say “I need to finish this one thing” and stay late. But it’s not okay to do shitty work or no work. And it’s not okay to use work as an excuse for living a real life. And sometimes…you will do work that just pays the bills, feeds the children, and keeps it all afloat. There is no shame in that. Pull that chin up and keep it pushing
- Look people in their eyes. People you know. People you love. People you hate. Strangers. The Homeless. Children. Old people. Making eye contact is a moment of shared humanity. You are not invisible just because you don’t do it. But you might make another person think they are invisible and that is not cool
- And furthermore…as often as you can, find a smile for the other person. Not because you owe it to them. Not because every day is made entirely of unicorns and rainbows. But because a smile is “It’s all going to be okay” for grownups. They need to know and you need to tell them
- Create something. Draw. Write. Knit. Finger-paint. Bake (I’m looking at you Björn…if I make it off this plane, I want baked goods). Build websites. Speak life into people. Sing. Dance. I don’t care what…there is only one you…CREATE!
- When you feel like crying…go for it. Cry when you are angry. Cry when you are sad. Cry when you are happy. If the tears want to come…fucking let them come. We spend too much time on this blueberry trying to control our emotions. Have the feelings. Show the feelings. Holding them in doesn’t make you better than anyone. It isn’t a sign of courage or toughness. It’s just built up energy and it will find it’s way out…one way or another.
- For the love of God and all that is holy…stop pretending you know everything there is to know about the love of God and all that is holy. It’s a fucking mystery. You aren’t certain there isn’t a god. You aren’t certain that there is. Believe what you want. Read. Study. Listen to others. Be amazed. Be disappointed. But stop being so certain. What we don’t know is still way bigger than what we do…so don’t be an arrogant prat. Just dance with the uncertainty
And if you don’t believe in anything else…believe in Love.
Love changes things. I’ve seen it make the hideous into the beautiful. I’ve watched it transform hearts and seen it chase away darkness. Love has room for you. It has room for them. It even has room for those people over there. (Yes…them too!) Love is boundless and abundant. Love will kick your ass a few times. But don’t give up on it.
It’s all a gift darlings.
Take another breath.
It’s all a gift.
PS- The ENTIRE time I was writing this we flew through some of the most treacherous air I’ve flown in for a long time. And then…as soon as I was done, so was the turbulence. Pretty sure that was the Universe messing with me…and giving me a sense of creative urgency. Sorry, not sorry to the rest of the passengers!