Back when we could still travel, flights used to be dull. Remember? No WiFi for 8 hours, no space to move around, cramped bathroom, weird people next to you. Wasn’t exactly glorious. Sort of boring, actually. And yet one particular mundane flight to Munich, just over a year ago, changed my life.
Which is strange, since it was just another flight. Borderline late, as usual, tedious check-ins, “random” security checks, the usual. So by the time I boarded, I was already exhausted. And as I sat down in my cramped economy seat to unwind, I spotted it. In the column of seats next to mine, just a few rows ahead, was an infant. A human child. You know, the loud kind. The worst nightmare of every air traveller.
Dismayed, I prepared myself for a long, long flight. I’ve got a short fuse when it comes to certain things. And noise is certainly one of them. So I had to distract myself. Guessing the number of people on the flight? Lasted me 20 seconds. Calculating how much each shriek from the infant shortened my lifespan? Depressing. With no other options remaining, I resorted to people-watching.
One of the first people I watched were the infant’s parents. I needed to know what kind of people would set their own progeny loose to torment 300 people. But try as I may, I couldn’t throw shade at them for lone. There was something different about this couple. Something genuine.
They were one cohesive unit. All connected to each other. Synced up. The synergy between husband and wife, or dad and mom, was unlike anything I had ever seen before. They actually made their child feel safe. I could see it in her eyes. Suddenly, I went from contemplating parachuting from the emergency exit to empathizing with this little family.
That moment made a big impact on me. It showed me something I want more than anything else, for the first time ever. I realized my work is just a side mission. Sure, I’m always up to something cool, but it’s all secondary. Seeing the little happy family on that flight made me realize that’s what I ultimately want: To nurture a family.
Which sounds bizarre if you know me from my usual content, I know. I guess this true purpose gets drowned out in the noise of my typical motivation and performance content. Yet it’s true. Perhaps even more true than the other things I talk about more. This is what actually drives me. My ultimate picture of happiness usually surprises people. After all, it looks so plain. So ordinary. Like everyone could do it. But I guess that’s the point, isn’t it?