Everything I Never Knew I Always Wanted

Working in an airport each and every day—in a job that involves some travel, there are times when the exhilaration of travel, and the emotions that accompany it; the excitement of leaving, the thrill of the flight, and the peaceful closure of a safe return start to lose their impact. Long flights on business become airborne naptimes and temporary workstations, hotel rooms begin blur together and the novelty of a free bag of mini pretzels with a thimble sized coffee start to wear off.

While once upon a time I was excited for the opportunities to travel that accompany my job, these things that so many glean excitement format times have become the status quo, the norm—just another part of the daily grind. As I stepped off the plane that day I breathed a sigh of relief. Home was less than an hour away and with my feet planted on solid ground after a turbulent flight, I was glad to be back.

Another trip for the books, another safe return home, another step out onto the escalator that would descend me to the baggage claim area as I scanned the crowds of eager faces that beamed with anticipation of the arrival or return of a loved one. As my eyes danced across the crowds of folks with excitement painted across their faces—an unusual sight caught my gaze. For the first time in almost eight years and countless trips down that same escalator I was met with four pairs of eyes fixated on me, two excited teens who jumped, pointed, and waved and one extra large black coffee in my brothers hand with my name written all over it.

I was one of the travelers I’d always envied in secret—a traveler who arrived to faces that beamed with anticipation of my return- an excitement I'd yet to encounter in my travels. I've often heard the phrase, “You don't know what you've got ‘til it’s gone” and while all too true, I'm much more a fan of the phrase "It’s everything I never knew I always wanted."

Translation—this is me. Here. Now. Appreciating what I have rather then relying on 20/20 hindsight to appreciate what I had. Whether or not it’s something I’ve asked for; right here, right now, life has something positive to offer me. If I can just brush aside the negatives and move beyond my annoyances, I can see the beauty of life for what it is.

Its not about blind optimism or maintaining a positive disposition at all costs—its about living in the moment and embracing the moments that will one day be some of my fondest memories, big or small, while I still have them in my grasp— when they are real, tangible.

Hindsight is 20/20 for me because it’s easy. Discovering my appreciation for something when I've lost it has been unavoidable—and often quite simply regret. Learning to see the beauty in the moment, Right here and now, takes work, cognizant effort, diligence, patience, and acceptance.

I will never proclaim to be the master of all things “here and now”—It’s a work in progress—but I know without a doubt that I’ve spent far to many of my nearly 28 years on this planet failing to appreciate what I had—failing to recognize the positives that life was offering me until I was seeing them fade away into the distance in the rearview mirror.

I'd be lying if I said I don't have my own miserable, sad, grumpy moments- or my own miserable sad and grumpy weeks but despite these things there are lessons to be learned, relationships to cultivate, and things we can all be grateful for.

As the airport became the only thing in the rearview mirror that day I could have focused on the fact that I was gone from my family, that my workload for the next few days had doubled in my absence or that I would be back at that airport in my office in less than 8 hours. I could have easily let the stress and fatigue of travel, my turbulent flight and the fact that this was the first decent cup of coffee I’d had in three days get to me; but as we drove home from the airport - the car buzzing with chatter and excitement as the five of us simultaneously attempted to fill each other in on the every detail of the last few days, I savored my first amazing coffee, immersed in the chatter and buzz, and allowed myself to be present in the positives that that very moment had to offer.

Rather then letting that moment slip through my grasp to be left in the dust as a memory, I embraced the coffee, the buzz, ,the chatter and the return home to an excited family—realizing that right there—that moment, was everything I never knew I always wanted.