“Passengers to Chicago, please come to gate number A7!” “We are looking for passenger Mr. John Park!” Announcements calling various names, bustling crowds heading to their destinations, and inevitable goodbyes with hidden tears heightened my realization that I was at the airport, about to leave. Seeing my luggage neatly piled up on a cart and standing in the never-ending ticket line put me in a state of deep thought. There, waiting to check my bags, I was absorbed in meditation thinking how similar my airport routines and my upcoming life journeys would be. And here, I am about to share my first life lesson that I acquired by myself throughout my experiences at the airport.
I can exactly recall the day of August 23rd, 2011. It was my day to step into a totally new world by myself. 7 years ago, I was a quite brave, 16-year-old girl. And the girl decided to challenge on something new for her upcoming life. It required me a huge courage to decide to study abroad in the United States alone, but my new journey was already started since I had decided to do so. Being apart from parents was not easy to decide, but my parents and I all had belief that I could make it successful. I always wanted to experience every new aspect of life and learn lessons from it, and my parents have supported me until now. And a brave, young Korean girl’s new life journey started on the date of August 23rd, 2011 by heading to the airport.
For me, the airport has become a place of introspection from the day. In fact, there is no a single place on Earth where I can have more self-time than the airport. Furthermore, the things I experienced there have helped me understand my life through a clearer light.
As I approached the check-in desk, I knew that I would be asked for a few things; I would be asked who I am and where I am heading to. Although I knew better to clearly tell my name and my final destination to airline personnel who was busily matching my face with that on my passport, I couldn’t help but ask another question to myself. “Really, who are you and where do you want to go with your life?” Such question, like the one asked by the airline personnel standing behind the check-in desk, would have an answer that might change over time. In fact, just as I might fly to France one summer and to Brazil the next, I knew that I might answer myself differently to the questions asking my life’s direction and destination as I grow up.
What is important here, both in airport and in life, is the fact that I get to the destination. Once I decide and report to the airline personnel where to go, I have to get on the flight, take off and land hoping to get to the destination without fail even with two or three complicated connections. Similarly, when I set off to reach my goal and eventually come across uncertainties, much like either when I meet turbulence during the flight or when I anxiously wander around unfamiliar connecting airports in hopes of being just on time to catch my next flight, I approach uncertainties with not too much worries but rather with a positive outlook.
Using my experiences at the airport to put my life into perspective allows me to understand that during my life journey, I will make a decision (where to go), will take my life flight off, and will ultimately get to the goal (the destination) even though there may be some turbulence in my life. And what if the destination is not satisfying? Then without hesitation, I can simply head to another place!
Of course, I imagine that there will be a plenty of challenging journeys in the future as I head into real society after graduating college. However, having learned a quite fantastic lesson over the years at the airport, I will be sure to take on challenges with undying optimism and strong will.