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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Fear of Flying

Up in the Air.

The opening chapters of the book. The entire length of the film. It has given me a fear of flying.

Perhaps fear of flying is too strong a phrase. But the story, which you are probably all familiar, of a corporate hatchet man who spends most of his life in the air, in hotels or in anonymous corporate spaces to avoid having relationships. That is the part that scares me.

I travel a lot. Not as much as the character in the book or as much as some of my consultant peers, but a couple times a month I’m on the road. When I’m home, I’m recovering from traveling, catching up on work and trying to maintain my friendships. What is beginning to worry me is the same thing that worried me when I managed an ice cream parlor.

I’m maintaining frienships, but am I growing them? I’m certainly not doing right by romance in my life.

First vignette.

Friend who is a therapist: I was thinking that we could barter. You coach me on technical things and I’ll listen to your problems. Me (dripping in sarcasm): But I don’t haaaaaaaave any problems. Friend who is a therapist: I read your blog. Me: sigh Friend who is a therapist: Your problem is that you can’t stay in once city for a month.

Second vignette.

Former friend: I’m officially an old maid. What about you? Have you met anyone special? Me: No. Former friend: Well, it takes one to know one.

I often wonder how people on the conference circuit maintain their marriages and relationships. Maybe it was because they met and married before they became a business traveler., before the road warrior days.

But… it is only when I’m on the road that I meet men I find interesting. Not that Chicago doesn’t have interesting men, but when I’m here I’m working, recovering, or seeing the friends I already have. I’m simply not open when I’m in Chicago. When I’m on the road, I give myself some downtime and a chance to meet people. I go to shabbat dinners with strangers and events at new places.

To that end, I haven’t decided if I’m going to cut down my travel or spend more time out of town. Right now I’m thinking of spending May in New York City. I don’t have any commitments to travel that month, so why not try to spend it in a city that speaks to me more than I expected it to. Maybe the other option is doing an apartment swap in Chicago and try living in a new neighborhood.

I’m open to advice, but not to criticism, so feel free to comment away.

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