Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thoughts from an airport

A few little technical issues related to travel delayed the posting of this a few days, but so be it. I still felt like posting it.

I am writing this during a layover in O'Hare Airport. I'm finding this trip kind of like a time warp.

Most of my readers know that when the recession started in 2008, it took my career down with it. I have been unemployed or underemployed since. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy my current work very much – it's just not at the same professional level I was at before. And most days, I don't think that much about it – I'm really grateful to have the job and as I said, I enjoy it.

But today is the first time I've been on a plane since 2008. From about 1995 to 2001, I had jobs where I flew frequently. I wasn't a true road warrior, heading to the airport each week, but I flew maybe once or twice a month, occasionally more. Then from 2001 to 2008 my work was local, but there was still usually at least one professional conference or continuing ed event each year. Besides, we had two solid incomes in the family, so we were likely to fly in our leisure time, too. Then in 2008, it all came to a screeching halt. Nothing in my professional life sends me on the road, and pennies are way too tight at home to just hop on a plane for fun. (Most of the time, anyway. This trip is recreation – I am tagging along on my husband's professional conference so we can celebrate our 25th anniversary.)

Now, I'm like a country kid who has never flown before! In four years, there have been changes to the security procedures. Even though so far we've been in airports I've flown through a million times, four years brings a lot of changes. So nothing looks all that familiar. And Bob still travels a few times a year for work, so suddenly I feel like the country bumpkin trying to keep up with the more seasoned traveler. Definitely not how it used to feel!

It's not a big deal, really. It just caught me a little by surprise. From the perspective of my whole adult life, it is hard to imagine that I've gone four full years without being on a plane.