Wednesday, December 05, 2007

First day of school

The conversation turned to the first day of college, and around the table a couple of folks talked about 1962, and 1970-something, and other times long ago and far, far away. I didn't contribute, but suddenly I was on a plane above the clouds thirtysomething years ago.

I remember looking out the window for most of that 1,000-mile flight. It was a cloudy day down below, which meant bright sunshine and interesting shapes and contours above the clouds. I was on my first solo adventure away from family, the first major step in my life that was almost completely my decision - my parents, bless them, had left it up to me which college to choose. It turned out to be a good choice, but of that day, I remember being enthralled by the flight, and by the bright blue sky when I landed - the clouds over my departure broke up at my destination, and I landed in a place with as much sunshine as I'd seen up above.

My reminiscence broke up with a sudden realization - that bursting feeling of freedom that day was exaltation. That day, with my life before me, at the beginning of a four-year solo adventure full of promise and hope and all that stuff, I felt as free as I ever did.

You wish you could bottle a feeling like that, so when you need it you just open the bottle and breathe and there it is again. For just a few moments at a conference table, I realized we do bottle those feelings and we can bring them back.

Freedom tastes so good. Why do we ever set it aside?

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