Airports make me depressed. Just one flight in and one flight out, ok. Perhaps I can enjoy the debauchery of people drinking beers at 6 am. But as I was approaching my sixth airport in three weeks, I felt the deep dread. Traveling in the van was exhausting, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a whole other level of tired that comes with being surrounded by people behaving badly in airports.
So, with full awareness that I was starting to fall into that feeling where I can’t find the energy to connect with others, I took some mental health days. With my first day, I took the time to celebrate family birthdays at a vineyard. After enjoying the best white wine I have ever tasted (link here because I know y’all will ask), we sat down for some lunch with a river view. One of them is married to a pastor who recently celebrated 25 years since seminary.
“All of the people who went straight from seminary to a church aren’t pastors any more,” she said. “They don’t get it.” It being life, the world, and how hard it is to simply be alive. I thought for a moment, then added, “If you lived a really straightforward life, I think it’s hard to know why people seek God.”
While I don’t consider myself a very religious person – I don’t attend any church weekly or even online – I am very spiritual. It’s a consequence of a life with a lot of question marks where they don’t belong. A life where I had to question things most people can rely on with certainty. A life where people left.
When relationships I thought would always be part of my life ended, it was easy to believe something was broken about who I am. To overanalyze and speculate about the situation. I’ve spent years believing that if I could just fill this space left behind, I would be successful at anything. This is when it would have been helpful to seek out God. Instead, I spent a lot of time believing there was some characteristic or person standing between me and happiness. Something I didn’t have.
The more I watch people behaving badly in both churches and airports, the more I realize we might just all have that in common. This funny feeling that something isn’t quite right. That we’re just falling short. That we’re behind. At airports, in the microcosm of travel, it shines a magnifying glass on all the ways we try to hurry along the healing at work and in relationships. Hurry along the nagging feeling.
Whether you’re religious or not, in that moment, we’re all seeking something and the answers we need aren’t going to wash over us. There’s no oracle or ChatGPT for interpreting feelings and determining next steps. But maybe we’re seeking something that tells us it’ll be alright. That today is just one day in a long and well-lived life. That even when we’re exhausted and feeling disconnected from the people we love, that we’ll be out of this airport soon enough.
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.