Student Newsroom: Escape

I gazed solemnly out of the airplane window as scenes flashed through my head. Everything else seemed to fade out of existence, even the bustle and chitter-chatter as everyone boarded the flight. It was just me and my memories: vibrant fireworks bursting brightly against the dark sky, lucious foliage decorating the Stanford campus, intricate pieces of old technology sitting under ambient museum lights. I reminisced about the uncontrollable laughter of my family on the evenings we entertained ourselves at my uncle’s home, and the turquoise waves and snow-white seafoam rolling over the sand to my toes…

I then pictured the last time I would walk down my uncle’s stairs to the car, our last meal (the first Korean restaurant we’d ever been to) in California, driving to the airport, hugging our uncle goodbye, watching him walk away as I glanced back just one last time…

Interrupting my thoughts, the pilot spoke over the intercom, “Good morning, Everyone! We are getting ready for takeoff, so double check that your seatbelts are fastened…”

I dreaded coming back to Colorado, to the responsibilities and mundane everyday life of which I was able to escape while on vacation. During our short week in California, I felt free from these burdens. I felt excited and inspired, wishing I could stay in Silicon Valley for just a little while longer amidst the innovation and cool ocean breeze.

A knot welled up in my throat as we started rolling toward the runway. I wondered, what am I dreading so much? Was it all of the things I worked so hard to attain? Was it finally getting to work toward my ambitions in FBLA and STUCO, coming back to my family at the grocery store I work at, getting back into volleyball after a long year without it?

What I would miss about California— novelty, innovation, beauty— I knew I wanted to come back to. I couldn’t stay there forever; first, I had to endure the journey to achieve my idea of success— not living in California, perhaps, but feeling alive and fulfilled.

The engine of the plane began to roar. I felt it rumble in my head, in my chest, in my throat. The few tears rolling down my cheeks went from melancholy to joyful. A rush of adrenaline coursed through my body as we sped down the runway and into the air.

I felt excited to come back home. This was the beginning of the rest of my journey.

On my escape from reality, I was reminded of why I choose to be an “overachiever.” I want to squeeze every drop out of life I can get. I want to enjoy every moment of it, to love and learn from every bit of it, to appreciate my reality, to make it and others’ realities better.

Sometimes it is hard to see and appreciate the beauty in your everyday life. Perhaps we need to think less about the destination, and more about the journey.

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