Twenty years ago today, I landed at Memphis International Airport for the first time. I was eight years old, and my life was changing forever. I was excited, but I really had no idea what moving from England to Mississippi really meant. Twenty years later, I remember that day vividly. The fire alarm went off at the airport hotel the night before we left, and then there was a bomb scare at the airport while we were waiting in line to get our tickets. To make matters even worse, my dad stayed behind to sell our house. My mom, my five-year-old sister and I were flying halfway across the world to a strange new city to start a new life, and my dad wasn't with us. I still have the diary post from that plane ride. I remember my mother telling me to write something, because I would want to remember that day. I have never forgotten it.
There are moments in our lives that make us who were are, and that day will forever be etched in my mind as one of those moments. When we touched down at Memphis International Airport, my grandfather and his Memphis cousins greeted us in their Chevy Blazer. A month later, we had a Blazer of our own. Eight years later, I learned to drive in that Blazer.
One thing I know for sure about that day is that I never looked forward or back. I don't think I realized that I wouldn't be going back to England, and I didn't imagine what my new life would look like five, 10 or 20 years later.
Honestly, I don't think I would have been surprised to discover that my future self would be married to Jonathan and living twenty minutes from that airport, but I do think it says something about childhood that the past and future didn't cross my mind.
As adults we constantly look forward and back, and we have trouble focusing on the present. If only life could be as simple as it was back then.
Of course, it was far from simple. If life had been simple, we would have ended up in California (where we all really wanted to be) instead of Mississippi, but then I never would have attended Ole Miss and fallen in love with Jonathan. Everything happens for a reason, and we just have to believe that God puts us where we need to be at the instant we need to be there.
Tonight, I will not look forward five, 10 or 20 years. I will stay in the now, and I will only momentarily treasure the memories of that day.