I have a five hour layover before getting on my flight to Taiwan and the airport seems to be bringing out the melancholy in me. Somehow, airports contain the key emotions of life and death. It is the place of joyful,loving greetings and painful, tearful farewells. And in between both is the helplessness of waiting.
And because so much of my travels used to happen with Robert or away from him, I can't help sit at an empty gate without thinking of him. It has been over half a year since his actual death, but in reality I had been grieving him for many. So, the finality of his last breath was in many ways the finality of an existence I had, the end of a person I was. For better or worse, his death transformed me.
Perhaps it is those changes that fill me with an unusual fearlessness. I find myself embracing happiness that might not be easily understood, working on projects without worrying about reviews, and losing interest in promotion. And I begin to grasp that my ideas for a successful life have been redefined--I no longer pine for movie deals, 6-digit advances or even the glory of a gold sticker. The success of colleagues with better toys, larger homes and fancier cars somehow leave me cheerfully indifferent. It might be temporary, but it is strangely freeing to realize that suddenly I do not care.
Don't get me wrong, I love my work, truly appreciate accolades and still strive for greatness. But as the days go on, I find myself redefining greatness as well. Perhaps greatness is connecting to people, not impressing them. Because admiration is an emotion one rarely sees at an airport.