Sunday, February 26, 2012

fear and accomplishment

These days I seem to be surrounded by far flung travelers. My dear friends are living and teaching in South Korea this year, and my baby sis has been in Bejing teaching for the last two. Me? Well, I'm sorta proud of myself for flying 2/3 of the way across country. It's all relative...

I hate traveling. I really do. There are so many factors beyond my control... I dislike being a captive audience in airports and confined to small spaces in airplanes. I don't like sitting next to strangers and feeling like I have to lock myself in a tight little box so I don't disturb the person assigned to the seat next to me. There's never any food I want and what is there is insanely expensive. And then, there's the fear of crashing.

I forget how much I hate it, though, until I've finished the trip. I knew this one would be tough because I was leaving my men at home. Flying is expensive; it turns out that it is insanely so during February vacation, and there was just no way we could afford to have us all go. The internet and cell phones make it pretty easy to stay in constant conversation with the boys back home... but when we landed in Portland, and I knew they were just outside... well, I got kind of choked up. We'd made it there and back again, and now we were back to the way life should be. And we'd made it.

Those of you who fly all over the world may not think of it as an accomplishment, and truthfully, it's really not. But each time I do something like this without WB beside me, I prove to myself yet again that I can do it. As much as I hate traveling, I hate solitude more. It sounds cheesy, but I am a better person with my husband around. He completes me, and calms me, and has strengths that I don't. And it's not so scary to get stranded in an airport (cough* Dulles, you suck!* cough) when my whole family is with me. But de-icing at 9:30 PM, halfway between my home and my sister's, with only my daughter to keep me calm? Getting through that was a big deal for me.

I will probably never be able to visit my sister in her far flung locales (unless WB drugs me, serioulsy), and I will probably never teach anywhere but here. But we measure success by what we are each capable of doing, and I am sometimes capable of more than I give myself credit. And it is good to be reminded of that every now and again.


Deus Ex Machina said...

It is certainly always best to judge yourself on your own merits and not by others' accomplishments. And, we are only capable of what we allow ourselves to do.

So, stay true to yourself.

Traveling Jones said...

Success isn't defined by the actions of others, but by your own growth. I'm sure you teach Sunshines that. (And I hate the process of traveling, too. I've just perfected the art squashing my agitation into a tiny little ball in the bottom of my stomach so I can pretend it doesn't exist. I can now fool others -- even though I don't fool myself.) And don't make any self-fulfilling prophesies; I'm still holding out hope that you'll come visit me somewhere, sometime.