Okay, this blog should have been titled “My First Two Flights After Vaccination.” There’s this new variant of the virus that is causing an increase in sickness and death in some places. However, given my situation and the statistics presented to me about the effectiveness of the vaccine I received, I returned to living a mostly “normal” life this summer, which included hoping on an airplane for the first time in over a year (although I did still have to wear a mask).
It is often said that people’s actions are a better indicator of what they truly value than their words. When I returned to traveling, my first trips were not to explore some far away unknown place, even though I still really want to do that. Instead, I chose to travel to places that are familiar and not as exciting, for the purpose of visiting friends and family.
My first trip was to Minnesota, to visit with friends from college. This photo is going to appear strange, but my friends decided to produce “flat” cardboard versions of every member of our group so that if we ever have a gathering some people can’t make, we can still kind of bring them with us.
There’s a “flat” version of me too….
This was not a glamorous destination. The main places we explored were Rochester, a town primarily known for the Mayo Clinic, which is certainly not a good place to visit right now, as well as a giant corn water tower.
Some 30 miles Southeast of Rochester, in the Root River Valley, I was surprised to discover that the town of Fountain, MN is the Sink Hole Capital of the U.S.A.
Seriously, it’s not in Florida as we all would have assumed.
But, they celebrate this odd distinction. The main attraction in town is a brewery named for the geological feature that caused the sinkhole here, where they bring in bands and food trucks to celebrate Sinkhole Saturdays.
My other trip was to the house where I would spend the second half of my childhood, ages 11-17, where my parents sill live.
It was for a family reunion where we barely even left the house. Most of what we did was playing games with the children, watch the olympics and do things like arts and crafts.
Both of these trips were a chance to laugh. They were a time to be funny, goofy, creative and social. They were times to interact with the world, the real world, what is physically in front of us rather than something on a screen.
They also both reminded me of past chapters of life. Visiting with college friends, I felt like the version of me I was when I was in college. Interacting with children reminded me of who I was when I was a child. I could not help but engage with that childlike spirit for life.
When I returned to a then smoky Colorado sky I could not help but ponder, and wonder.
Why is it that???
- At the age of 10, when we interact with each other, our default mode is to play a game, think of something creative, imagine, run around and engage our imagination.
- At the age of 20, when we interact with each other, we party, we still play games, just a different kind, we goof off, watch things and talk about things like who we find attractive and what event we want to go to next.
- Sometime after the age of 30, we start to default to conversations about what is angering and dividing us, our latest source of frustration or something mundane.
What happens? Is there something about adulthood, or “adulting” that we are doing all wrong? Can we rethink all of this? Sometimes I feel like we need to.
I’m just fortunate that this summer has provided me with plenty of opportunities to once again engage with the world in a manner that feels far more human than most of what I was doing when we were all far more fearful of the pandemic (as well as a lot of what adult life had become in the 2010s).
It won’t be long before I am off to another foreign land I’ve never been to before. Exploring is something I value quite a bit. However, in the summer of 2021, given the phase of my life I am in as well as where we are culturally, I probably needed to laugh with my friends and family more than I needed to explore. Hidden in everyone’s actions, there is always a reason.