The Joys of The Airport Stop Over
Right now I’m camped out in the Vancouver airport, lying on a bunch of seats and finishing off both a box of Sweet Tarts and the remains of my Salt ‘n Vinegar Pringle’s. I’m also prepared in case I get hungry in the air; that’s when I’ll shred open the pack of candied peanuts I stealthily stashed in the side pocket of my backpack… nothing like planning ahead, right? Having so much time on my hands to do nothing is making me analyze these stupid little things; God, how I hate airport stopovers…
In eight more hours I’ll board a sixteen hour flight to Sydney, which to be honest I don’t mind since when I eventually stumble off the plane I’ll be in the land of Kangaroos, Bogans and XXXX* However, let’s see if I still feel this way after being cramped in a tiny seat between two people who are also desperately trying to sleep sitting up, all whilst ignoring the people kicking them in the back every couple of minutes… not fun!
The good news is that this is the first time ever I’ve travelled with a laptop! I’m doing this so I can stay in touch and hopefully write a post or two to kill some of the stale “waiting around in airports” time… good plan, eh? If you are reading this, then you’ll know I was successful…
When I came up with this ingenious plan I had no clue what to write; my primary concern was not to drop the laptop when bumbling around getting it in and out of the backpack – makes sense, right? To nobody’s surprise, just 20 minutes after arriving at Gate 54-D an EPIC FAIL occurred okay, maybe not epic (since nothing broke) but I dropped the damn thing nonetheless, and felt like a tool. Arrrgh! But I digress…
I didn’t know what to write about mostly because I’ve had something on my mind lately that’s been bothering me a lot; then I thought “Why not write about that, and try to figure out WTF is going on there?” And so that’s what I did, and here’s what I came up with:
An Odd Conversation
Recently I was on the phone with someone I’ve known a very long time, and was filling them in on what we are all up to these days – so far, so good. To sum it up, I’d say that our versions of “Success” are polar opposite, and that’s totally cool – in fact, I always compliment them for all the great things they’ve achieved as a family unit, which believe me are pretty awesome and impressive, but again – they are just different from the kinds of things our family aspires to, and set out to achieve… that’s what makes us all individuals, right? Again, so far, so good.
However, recent conversations with this person has taught me not to talk too much about what we are up to, etc. as their life is much quieter and more low-key life than ours (no travelling or WDS type stuff, etc.) and they’ve become annoyed – even agitated – if I talk it up too much. And while our lifestyles are vastly different from one another, I never compare them or suggest theirs is not as good, etc. because it’s not – it’s simply different, and most importantly, it works for them.
While this has never been an issue in the past, this time was different. Instead of being supportive of us, this person came across as aggressive and judgemental of how we live, speaking in a tone that was so confrontational I was taken aback by the onslaught of negativity. They dished out a few (what I thought were good-natured) barbs which I laughed at; but when I did the same, they attacked, calling my comments “harsh”… Huh? Where the hell was all THIS shit coming from?
Next, they suggesting our travelling was an act of selfishness – being something they would never do themselves because they don’t “put themselves first”. This was followed up with a tirade about how a “new guy” at work was so ambitious he’d inquired about stock options – something that really pissed off my friend, who refered to this guy as annoying. And with this trifecta of bitches, the pattern finally revealed itself, and I finally figured out EXACTLY where all this shit was coming from.
It seems my friend was comparing his life to how others choose to live and felt inferior, judging them (and us) for taking different (some might say more ambitious) paths than they’d taken. Understanding this was an un-winnable war I politely finished the conversation, and hung up.
I felt hurt by his accusations, and thought long and hard about what had just transpired, and here’s what I came up with: I’ve always accepted this person for who they are, and hoped they’d do the same for me, which for many years they had. We were always friends who celebrated each others differences, and supported one another no matter if times were good or bad.
However as we’ve gotten older, the spread between our lifestyles has widened, and I now see that this person feels uneasy, even uncomfortable with the differences in our lives; and rather than asking themselves why they feel this way, they are judging others as selfish and overly ambitious as a way to justify their lot in life. The sad part is that in their own way, this person is very accomplished; just in a different way than us. But for some reason this idea is hard for them to swallow, so they lash out and criticize us instead.
Now to be fair, this person isn’t overly ambitious, nor do they make big plans or put much effort into being extraordinary; but nonetheless, they have made some amazing contributions just the same. Oh sure, their accomplishments may not seem as grand as owning companies or travelling the world, but they are important nonetheless; and by not seeing this, I believe they don’t see themselves as worthy, and feel they need to justify their choices by calling those of us on different paths “selfish” or “annoying” – this isn’t right.
Maybe this route is easier than admitting they never put in the time, effort or commitment to achieve these kinds of things, but honestly I don’t think so; because if they wanted thse things, they certainly could have achieved them – they just chose a different path. Yet on this phone call, none of that seemed to matter.
And you know what? I realized it’s not my job to try to convince them otherwise. In fact, it’s time for me to make a decision on whether I want to continuing pandering to these insecurities while downplaying my own life experiences, or quietly saying “good-bye” so as not to have to (metaphorically) walk on eggshells around them anymore. I’m choosing the latter, and here’s why:
I’m Not Alone In This Feeling
During WDS this dynamic seemed to be the biggest common thread amongst attendees; they wanted to accomplish great things, and finally felt incredible to be amongst a tribe of like-minded people who didn’t judge them for their ambitions or goals. This was a stark contrast to the small-living folks back home who constantly belittled them for wanting to create bigger, brighter lives of awesomeness and adventure. And now with this conversation, I realized this is how they must feel, and I don’t like it one bit.
I truly believe we need to be honest about who we are, and live that honesty; nobody has the right to judge us, our dreams or our lifestyle – as long as it’s all above-board and it makes us happy, then we need to be true to who we are. If this person no longer supports me, then I should stop looking for support from them – but keep in mind if they ever need help, I’ll give it – two wrongs still don’t make a right.
Find Your Tribe
We must surround ourselves with like-minded people, and discard those who don’t get us – regardless of how long we’ve known them or how we are related to them. If all they want to do is judge us, or shit on our dreams, then why on earth would we keep them around? If they want to live small lives, that’s their business – it doesn’t mean we have to dummy down “who we are” to accommodate their lack of ambition or courage. Those are their problems, not ours, and I for one say enough… and “good-bye” for now.
Now I’m going to go back to my incredible tribe of supporting, loving, business-minded and ambitious travelling wing-nuts and do what I do best – Live life on my own terms. And if you have someone who doesn’t support you, please consider my story, and see if you too can find a way to be happier? Trust me, you deserve it.
*Apparently XXXX is a “Bogan” Beer now… =(