how to survive the airport (and an introduction to 2016)

I really wanted to write a New Years-y post. I’ve never been much for the whole resolution thing; I tend to fall into the “I’m going to break this before Valentine’s Day, so why even start?” category. A lot of really cool people I know have written excellent, thoughtful, powerful and important blog posts about their hopes and dreams and words and themes for 2016. Read those. I’m just here with, in terms of engaging Internet literature, nothing. No plans, no particularly mentionable goals, just don’t fail school and I don’t know, don’t die.

So maybe I’ll do something I’m a little more familiar with: airports. Airports and long multi-leg flights.

Okay. Step one.

Wear something comfortable but presentable. That way you don’t look like a total idiot but can still fall asleep. For me this means nice jeans and a sweatshirt, pulling off the slightly jaded tired teenager look. Do whatever works for you. Minimal makeup. Wear your hair up.

Make sure everything is charged as much as possible. Always assume you can’t charge anything between now and there. Bring a paperback book just in case. A small bag of M&Ms. Call someone just so you look important to the other people at your gate. Always be kind to the security people. Smile but don’t make jokes.

Get really excited about the first flight. This is most likely one of your shortest. Get out your iPod and chill.

Traveling trip from yours truly, listen to James Bay. James Bay is the best travel music ever. It will change your entire experience.

James. Bay.

Don’t worry about doing anything productive, but if you must, ask for a glass of water. It’s refreshing.

All you need is James Bay.

In the last half hour of the flight, get to the bathroom before the fat guy three rows back. Don’t get caught in the last minute rush. Go and get out of there as quickly as possible. Don’t look at your reflection and don’t dwell on the fact that you look like an electrocuted twice-dead zombie with stage makeup on.

Wake up. Fix your hair and makeup with the camera on your phone.

First airport.

Step one. Go to the bathroom. If you do this right, it should be the second one you see, so there’s less of a line. Get to the main part of the airport. You’re tired. At this point the travel is less exciting and much more exhausting. Eat some good food, probably something you can’t get at your destination. Drink a solid cup of coffee. No one cares what time it is.

Sit at your gate. Connect to the internet. Catch up on the 5 or so notifications. Text the one person who’s actually tracking you. Check Facebook. Post an artsy photo on Instagram. Update your snapchat story. Check Facebook again. Realize you’re out of things to do on the Internet. Read. Write a blog post. Doze off for three minutes. Go to the bathroom. Sleep. Do something productive like homework or write an email.

Second flight.

Longer. Darker. Quieter.

Watch one movie. Okay, maybe two. Eat, if you feel like it. Then you sleep as long as you possibly can.

If you wake up, James Bay and some water. Or soda and some indie folk.

Sleep.

Airport number two.

At this point, you’ve been traveling for at least 12 hours, and you’re over it. Realize that you don’t know anyone here and that it is entirely acceptable to not care. You can look like a hot mess and it is okay to communicate entirely in grunts.

More coffee.

Read. Write. You can try to kill time online, but chances are the current time is miraculously in between every time zone possible so nothing will be happening. Drink lots of water and brush your teeth in the bathroom. Like I said, no one cares.

Your flight will be delayed three times and you’ll have to change gates and reload your planes and luggage will have to be moved. Hang in there.

Again, no one around you knows you. Your tired face is perfectly fine, but please please please be nice to the gate agents and flight attendants. They hate this just as much as you.

On your next flight, you will probably fall asleep out of nothing more than sheer exhaustion.

You may want to freshen up in the air at this point because you’re probably meeting someone on the other end. You don’t have to look red-carpet ready, but less like a zombie and more like, say, a clown. Or a witch.

Go home and sleep.

The end.

If you hadn’t figured it out, I am writing this from an airport. I’m tired. But as I’ve been writing this, I’m realizing that my 2016 starts on the other side of this flight chain. I’m still in break hangover, but I hit the ground running and everything I’ve learned and thought about suddenly comes into play.

I feel like my entrance into 2016 has been a little like a long flight: boring and exciting, old hat but interesting, all I want is coffee and a nap and my iPod. (Literally and metaphorically). My hair’s a mess, my makeup is stale and crusted and I might as well be dead.

I don’t know how I feel about where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’m pumped. I’m dreading it. All at the same time in a crazy plane-scented whirlwind.

But I’m giving 110% because I’m on so much adrenaline.

And it’s exciting.

Maybe I lied. I do have some things I’m thinking on for the next year. There’s things I’m excited to learn and figure out and crazy cool opportunities and events happening that I can’t wait to tell you about. Then there’s things I’m scared of. But for the most part, 2016 is looking grand.

Have a great year. Make the most of your time in airports. Listen to James Bay on planes.

In the meantime, sitting on this second flight, I’m going to take a nap.

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