Randomly Organized Thoughts From 35,000 Feet

As my plane began its descent I sat and listened; sandwiched between two others who were sharing their experiences from their different stages of life.

One person who had just retired with her husband had just sold their house and purchased an RV in hopes of beginning to live out their lifelong dream of traveling the country. On my right, another person shared that their partner had died in the past year, and this flight was a big step in the process of trying to continue on with their life.

I was returning from a conference and it had been a long day of traveling, but their sharing caused me to stop and think.

Everyone on this flight is headed somewhere, for different reasons. Some might be moving toward something, while others might be leaving something behind.

The more I thought about that thought, the more this flight, and the people in it reminded me of life’s transitions.

Each of us may be going to something, or leaving something behind, at different times, and for different reasons. Some may give us warm feelings, while others may cause us sorrow.

More than anything else in that moment, their sharing invoked strong feelings of gratitude in me.

The first five words I uttered in my mind afterwards were:

My wife’s waiting for me.”

I felt fortunate because she was waiting to pick me up for sure (because access to transportation is important), but I also felt fortunate and happy because for this trip, and in this instance, I was headed in a direction that brings me joy, and looking forward to picking up where we left off in hopes of having more time to live, learn, laugh, and love.

Today was a good day.

In addition to trying to be more appreciative in general, the flight back was also a reminder for me to try to be more considerate and mindful of others because of the reality that although we may inhabit a shared space or experience for a time, where we are “headed”, and why can shape how we interact and respond to things.

Has this ever happened to you?

Share your randomly organized thoughts/experiences from 35,000 feet.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW



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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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