Just over two weeks ago, I moved back to Oklahoma after four years spent in New York City. Like many changes, it brings mixed feelings. The move makes some friendships easier to maintain and others more difficult; some opportunities easier to pursue and others less probable. It’s hard to complain when choosing between two good things, but that doesn’t make the loss of one of them any easier. I’m not the first to leave New York and won’t be the last to lament the loss of a home that offers 3-star Michelin restaurants and 24-hour Seamless delivery, the Metropolitan Opera and grungy Lower East Side underground concerts, or fashion icons in Soho and the pigeon man in Washington Square. It’s a city for anyone and everyone, but can paradoxically be one of the hardest cities to find your place. For me, it was a city that brought great personal change and one of the most difficult things about moving is that I finally felt close to finding mine.
If you ever pass through India one day and decide to try to visit a few places on the way to somewhere else, know that the airport will be your favorite place in the country. Not when you land, mind you, no I’ve seen plenty of airports and this one is really no different than those all over. But when you leave, that’s when you’ll cherish the airport for the oasis that it is; a welcome calm in a sea of chaos. There is no better cure for the common annoyances of less than helpful airline employees and handsy TSA agents than a few days in Delhi. Add in some jet lag and you’ll find yourself dropping to your knees to kiss the ground of Terminal 1 and its sweet, sweet air conditioned facilities with promises of elsewhere. Sure, you’ll probably have to get past the man who will interrupt your check in process because he is ready to be checked in and what is a line anyways? It’s ok, he’ll tell you dismissively with a wave when you try to reclaim your position at the counter. And you might have an unsettled feeling when a different man cuts to the front of the security line and refuses to let the agents inspect his suitcase because he is in a hurry. But, at the end of the day, it’s worth it because you get to leave and the man with the suitcase isn’t on your flight. So, with the same nuanced perspective of someone dropped into the middle of Times Square and asked to reflect on the United States, I’d say if you want to enjoy India you should probably stay longer than one full day bookended by flights into and out of the country. Alternatively, you could always just read Eat, Pray, Love.
It seems that almost everyone in Oklahoma City has a story about Aubrey McClendon. He touched many people’s lives, helping countless individuals without a second thought. In the spirit of remembering a great man, I thought that I would share my Aubrey McClendon story with others in the hopes that those who knew him can hear another example of his kindness and generosity while those that never had the pleasure of meeting him can be inspired by the way that he lived.
“Nice sweater.” I had stopped at a gas station in Rye, New Hampshire when I received this compliment from the clerk. After watching the Iowa caucus coverage I started to get caught up in the election fever. I subscribed to the Five Thirty Eight podcast and thought back to the excitement of the 2008 presidential primaries. At the time, I thought how cool it would be to part of Obama’s potentially historic campaign. I was intrigued hearing about how he was able to so effectively mobilize the ground campaign in the Iowa caucus and come out with a victory. Equally interesting to me was Hillary’s come from behind victory in New Hampshire. The bizarre rules of the Iowa caucus, the large independent voter population in New Hampshire and the unpredictability of both state elections was something I wanted to be a part of.