Keeping my feet on the ground

Airplanes and elevators have several things in common. Probably the most obvious likeness is that they both go up and down, transporting us
to destinations that would otherwise take a much greater amount of time.

But for me, there is another overpowering similarity – both make me lose track of where I am.

When my feet are off the ground, I become disoriented. Daylight savings time didn’t help either. My editiorial conference in Indianapolis is in a different time zone. So in four days, we gained three hours and lost two.

Not only did I have a hard time keeping track of where I was, but I never knew the time of day.

So, what about my trip to Indianapolis? And what can you possibly learn from elevators, airplanes and time zones?

I admit that many who experience these things learn little from them, but I did take home a valuable lesson. Everything looks the same if you’re moving too fast. I learned in this fast-paced, give-it-to-me-now society, we see many things as being the same.

And yes, some things are alike, but it’s the differences that make them beautiful. An airport terminal in Omaha can look identical to a terminal in Miami. But outside of the airports, the similarities stop. On an elevator, a trip to the eleventh floor passes by a swimming pool, the weightroom and the beautiful view out the balcony from the second floor. But I’m not saying not to fly or ride in elevators anymore. What I am saying is that when you move too fast, you miss a lot.

Flying through life makes you lose track of where you are. I often meet people who have lived years of their lives moving too fast. They’re disoriented.

I meet these people in restaurants, stand behind them in check-out lines and sit by them on airplanes. And I converse with them about life. They ask me what I plan to do with my life and my future. And most people are surprised by my answer. I’m supposed to want to move to a big city and live my life in the fast lane.

But I don’t want to fly.

Too many people live their lives on figurative airplanes, moving too fast to see what’s really there. Everything is distorted. When you’re flying, there’s no exploration, no discovery and often very little fun.

I’m not saying that if you move to a big city, you must fly through life. There are plenty of people who keep their feet on the ground living in the city.
But I know myself, and living in a city would force me to fly in speeds too fast and I’d skip the things that are very important to me.

Because I know that I need to be in a smaller area, closely connected to people, enjoying nature, and living my life more slowly. I need to keep my feet on the ground.

So, that’s what airplanes and elevators taught me. Traveling fast and skipping things isn’t always the best way to travel. And it’s definitely not the best way to live.