Back to Chicago

Ryan drove me to LAX this afternoon to catch my flight back to Chicago. Always nice to get a ride to the airport. I always find the ride back to be interesting. You pass all the same things you passed on the way into the city, but I most often see things with slightly different eyes than when I saw them the first time.

Oil derricks on La Cieniga. Inflatable Santas on motorcycles on Crescent Heights. Giant snow globes on green lawns. Blue sky. The bluest. And the palm trees reaching up into that blue.

It does however, remain completely off to hear the drone of christmas musak in 80 degrees under bright sun.

Traveling is always a time to grow for me. It doesn’t matter where I’m going or how long I’m staying there. I always look at it as an opportunity to reset everything. New bed. New morning routine. When I step out the front door, it’s different from my own. Doing nothing during the day exactly the way I would at home.

You really can’t help but think about things you take for granted during your every day life.

photo by Ryan Hughes
I won’t get into the personal details here. But I learned a lot about myself on this trip. I’ve been simplifying a lot in the last few months. It’s been good for me. Ryan and I have been through so much in the years we’ve known each other. I really feel fortunate to spend time with such a friend who knows me like she does. She’s good at keeping me honest about myself. She challenges me in the best way.

While I was here in LA, as the days went by, I was able to see a few things differently than I have been for the last few months. Some things I saw happening in other people’s lives taught me about things in my life and how I have been reacting to them. It’s that clarity that I get when I travel. It’s an amazing thing.

I looked through my viewfinder and took many different kinds of photographs than I have the past year. Working with what I had rather than trying to create what I didn’t.

I look at what Ryan’s done with her life in the last year, big important changes, and I wonder if I need more in mine. Certainly in my head I’m making adjustments, but I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life, traveling the world, but always coming back.

Maybe it’s time to go somewhere and stay there.

There are many places I’ve lived for a brief time. Other languages. Other customs and ways of doing things. Perhaps I have lived in these places too brief a time.

I’ve been letting go of the idea of need. Things I thought I needed. Things I thought made me happy. Like anything we become attached to, we spend so much time trying to hold on, that we start to lose perspective on who we are and this quest for happiness. I’m not saying I don’t want to be happy, but I think that over the years, it’s easy to build up a list of things I think I need to be happy, when many of those things can actually create unhappiness if I’m not careful.

Detach. Let go. Breathe. Create.

Flight crews, please prepare for takeoff.

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