Verbatim: I've got my ticket, but where am I going?

Posted: Monday, February 07, 2011

It feels like I just walked in to the airport and bought a one-way ticket.

For anyone who's ever done any kind of air travel the scene is familiar. The cars and taxis rush by outside, pausing to unload passengers and luggage, hoping they didn't park illegally. Signs in large print point toward different terminals, showing impatient travelers the way. Security guards in uniform wander, attempting to look menacing. Planes take off overhead and passengers are paged to their flights.

Yet in all the organized chaos it's the people that intrigue me. It's the coming and going. I watch as a family is reunited with an older couple, presumably the grandparents. I see a young man in a uniform so starched it looks like it could stand on its own, awkwardly hug his teary eyed mother before walking towards security. There's the girl who, after hugging each of her family members and kissing the tall boy who stood by her side, looks back over her shoulder one last time, feigning bravery. I see just one moment of their lives and it makes me wonder.

I wonder if their stories are like mine. Each of these travelers has a destination, someone they are leaving, and someone they are coming home to. They are in this no-man's-land; neither home nor away. They, like me, are in a time of transition. Unlike me they know exactly what their destination is.

As an 18-year-old with a fuzzy half-formed plan for the future in her head, senior year has been a bit conflicting. Technically I'm an adult but in some ways I don't really act like it. I am taking a college class yet I'm still in high school. I'm trying to find a way to pay for college, and it hasn't started yet. It's like I'm standing in that airport looking down at my ticket and wondering exactly what will happen if I get on that plane. It's like I don't know the plane's destination.

Yes, I can tell you the name of the city, and the college -- I've even been there -- but what happens once I get there is a bit fuzzy. I'm going to go to college and study -- well study something. I want to achieve ... something. Learn ... something. Do ... something.

I have that one-way ticket going somewhere. Now, I'm just waiting for the plane to arrive so I can figure out where it will land.

This article is the opinion of Carol Clonan, a senior at Skyview High School.

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