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Shaking things up: There's nothing wrong with a little turbulence

Shaking things up: There's nothing wrong with a little turbulence

I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s coincidence that my last few flights to and from the Midwest have been some of the most turbulent I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve never been an anxious flier (though I have been known to blame a few pre-flight cocktails on “nerves” when met with my mother’s narrow-eyed stare upon arrival) but these last few treks have got me rethinking air travel entirely.

It’s funny how getting jostled violently in your seat makes you reconsider the people you just left and those you hope to see when (and if) you land.

As I silently administered last rites to myself during the bumpy flight, I couldn’t help but think through clenched teeth that visiting my long-time college boyfriend had better be worth the near-death experience. I’m certain that when he picked me up from the airport he was met with a raised eyebrow he couldn't explain—nothing he’s not used to.

And I spent the trip back racking my brain trying to remember my last exchange with my mother, hoping that if we were really going down my last words hadn’t been snarky. When I realized I had, in fact, survived, I called her and offered to pick up dinner on the way home.

It’s been a bumpy ride trying to navigate the space between pseudo-adulthood and the real thing, between friends and family, there and here. I guess part of my problem was my refusal at 18 to share a college campus with any high school classmates or hometownies. My Missouri sojourn was a raging success in that respect and I made a bundle of new friends, but the total lack of overlap engenders some serious separation anxiety.

Life in the last six months or so has been, well, turbulent. Some of the best friends I've ever made, and might ever make, are from the Show Me State. And though I've (at the very least) realized they're not all together — without me — reliving the glory days at happy hour every day after work, it's been difficult reconciling this new life and its new cast of characters. I'm hoping I'll wake up one morning and suddenly know which life is real, and whether the departure or the arrival gate is home. 

But I suspect that in life and in love, a little turbulence might not be such a bad thing. Sure, it's uncomfortable. It's impossible to ignore, you might get bumped around a bit and come out with a few bruises. But with the inconvenience there sometimes comes a moment of clarity that can only be found in those crash-and-burn situations. 

My weekend in the charming Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, where my ex-boyfriend slash current-not-quite-sure has almost completed renovations on a darling but decidedly manly house, was worth the near-death experience. 

My plane ultimately didn't crash and burn; maybe my relationships won't, either. 

News_Caroline_turbulence of life_Jan 10
Clouds and turbulence ahead: It’s funny how getting jostled violently in your seat makes you reconsider the people you just left and those you hope to see when (and if) you land. Photo by Simon B.
News_Caroline_turbulence of life_Jan 10
As I silently administered last rites to myself during the bumpy flight, I couldn’t help but think through clenched teeth that visiting my long-time college boyfriend had better be worth the near-death experience. Photo by Patrick Cheng