What is your final destination ?
What is your final destination please?
That is the first thing that you are asked at the airport check in ticket counter. Flights may have several stops on the way and then some flights are direct non stop. We always hope to make it to our intended destination, but I am usually more concerned not of myself but of my checked in luggage and whether it will reach safely on time …… until recently. I was on a long journey on a direct flight from India back to New York. Few hours into the flight there was a medical emergency. There was a fellow passenger traveling by himself and he ended up have increasing breathlessness, fatigue and chest pain. The differential diagnosis is vast, but the life threatening ones are few. Needless to say, he was not getting any better, and the decision was made to emergently land the plane in Iceland. We landed safely and the passenger was taken off the aircraft by the emergency medical team and he was wisked away to the hospital. We took off and proceeded on our journey to New York a few hours later, after a brief halt on the runway.
That poor man had every intention to goto New York, JFK airport. He had cleared all the usual hassles of immigration, security check in, and was on the plane, that took off. But it was not his destiny to reach NY at that time . I feel bad that he was left in Iceland by himself, but I am sure he had excellent care thereafter, and he will reach his family at some point. And what of all the other passengers with connecting flights, that all got disrupted. The lesson is that no one really knows what the final destination is going to be, or when it is going to be. Does the” not” knowing make life any less worth living?
If you are told that you have only 6 months to live and after which you will die from a terminal illness, how does this change the course of your actions in life from the time you hear of this till the end? You might decide to be more carefree, let go of worries, forgive, forget, be kinder and more generous, be more humble, slow down, basically live all you can in 6 months. Now what if you did not know that you were going to die in 6 months? Will you continue to live in fear, stress, under pressure, miserable and angry and then be full of regret on your deathbed? None of us really know when we are going to end this vacation on this planet, nor do we know how or where it is going to happen. However we all know that it is going to happen. When we know of a upcoming weather disturbance we prepare for it, what is different about this final destination. It is not like it is going to be a surprise, you just do not know where, when and the how, all small details in the grand scheme of things, wouldn’t you say?
It is the journey to the final destination that ends up being of importance. The character building, the longer lasting friendships, the compassionate legacy that you leave behind is what is remembered and cherished. We can make life into a drudgery or can spark some excitement into it by enjoying the moments. During this flight something very interesting happened. Despite the delay, the change in flight plan, the inconvenience for every passenger with connecting flights, no one created a fuss, or got angry. There was no ruckus being created or voiced frustrations. There was a surprising and resounding calm. Passengers were walking about the aisles and galleys and talking to each other. Many were total strangers just happened to be in the same space at the same time and so communicated. Fate to meet, or meet your fate. One could say that in an emergency situation everyone was helpless and powerless to shout, but I would submit that it is in an “emergency”situation that the human goodness and kindness “emerges” and cooperation occurs. Why does it have to only be in an emergency situation though? If you are ever getting late catching a bus, or the train gets delayed or our meal choice at a restaurant was not up to our satisfaction, why do we start falling back into human tendencies of yelling and screaming? Moreover you might be surprised to see the intriguing things that happen unexpectedly. I have seen many a sun rise, but never one so beautiful as the one on the tarmac in Iceland.
You can live your life believing your days are numbered or you can number your days. The choice of how you live your journey is up to you. Who says that we have to be afraid of our final destination. I think our final destination is a beautiful one, and this journey can be as fantastic as we would like it to be. The unpredictability and the mortality is what makes the moment to moment existence fun and exciting. I for one look forward to enjoying the trip to the final destination with enthusiasm, vigor and interest. There is so much to learn and experience from moment to moment that the glee cannot be contained,that is when you know you are alive. Having learnt and experienced everything and there is nothing left is when you know you have lived.
Enjoy your flight to your final destination, and do not worry about your baggage, it is safe and so are you.