This I Believe

Jennifer - Lemont, Illinois
Entered on January 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change
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That Plane Ride is Changing Someone’s Life

It was a dark, November night and I sat in the front seat of his car as Reel Big Fish blasted from the speakers. A lot was running through my mind, most of it being about what I was going to wear to school the next day, so I wasn’t even paying attention to him. I looked up into the sky, lit up by stars, and he said to me as a plane passed over head “That plane ride is changing someone’s life.” Surprised he even noticed I was looking out the window, I responded quickly “Not necessarily” with attitude dripping from my mouth. Thinking after I spoke, a habit I have yet to break, I realized he was right. To this day, that a plane ride changes someone’s life is the only thing I can constantly say I believe.

The first plane ride I can remember was when I was two years old. I was with my dad on my way to Disney Land to meet Minnie Mouse in person; to a place I thought only existed in my wildest dreams. Then, it seemed like such a big deal to be going anywhere without my mom, especially on a huge airplane to a place I thought then was only four hours away. Even then, at such a young age I learned independence from my mother thanks to that first plane ride.

Ten years later, after at least 50 more plane rides, I found myself sitting in the Detroit Airport waiting to board the connecting flight back to Chicago after a week spent in the Caribbean Sea with my family over Winter break. O’Hare was snowed in though due to some crazy snow storms and the thought of being stuck in an airport totally freaked me out as I burst into tears. It was in the same moment that the tears began streaming down my face that I realized how spoiled I had let myself become. That flight changed how I saw myself and taught me that I get much, much more than the average person and I expect much, much more than I should.

Whether it be a chaotic plane ride, like September 11th, or a smooth one taken to Hawaii to relax for the week, every plane ride to or from somewhere brings change into one’s life; new stories of exotic places, seeing a family member after years of distance, or the move to a new country. So when you look up into the sky on a dark cold night, just like that November night I once did, realize how many plane rides are taken each day and how many lives are changed at the same time.