The Sad And Happy Terminal: Airport Philosophy

Oct 18, 2009 12:19 AM

by binsar

There’s something about the division of airport terminal that always fascinates me. There are a lot of emotions going on there. There are happiness and sadness, excitement and disappointment, laughter and tears, all in one place: the airport. I went to Schiphol Airport for 3 days in a row last week. I went there to say goodbye to my friends who are leaving the Netherlands after their studying time here, and to accompany a family that is going back to Indonesia after their vacation. These experiences strengthen my previous theory about the airport’s two terminals.

In general airports always have two terminals: The Sad Terminal and The Happy Terminal. The sad terminal is where people are separated from their loved ones. It is a place of tears, long hugs, exchange kisses, holding on to someone as if they don’t want to let go; a place where you will see someone’s back leaving you. People will walk slowly to the departure gate after checking in because they want to spend their last precious moments together as much as possible. You will see people trying to buy time even when they know the separation is inevitable.

If you are saying goodbye to your closed ones then it is a really bitter place for you. There is something about the feeling of being left behind and leaving something behind. Somehow, you feel sadder when someone is leaving you than when you are leaving someone. It is sad because you are being left alone with yourself. She or he might have influenced your life so much and now they are leaving you back to reality, the life without the people who meant so much for you. For people who are going to leave, they also have sad hours in the plane where they will think about the life they leave behind. But you’re not sad as much because you know at the end of the flight there is another terminal waiting for you: The Happy Terminal.

You will arrive somewhere and maybe someone else will welcome you at The Happy Terminal. Here you will meet your other loved ones, where you are coming back to your previous life; or going to start a new life. Here people exchange hugs and laughter. For the people who are coming to pick up their loved ones, this place creates good energy. The arrival terminal is a happy place where you always get positive energy from people’s faces who are anxious to see their loved ones. This is a place where you will see the face of someone walking towards you. Some would even prepare banner to welcome their loved ones. This is the place where you want to be.

Thus, there are three levels of feelings for the persons who experienced this situation : sad, mixed, and happy. People will be sad when they are the ones who are being left behind. If you are the one who leaves, you will have mixed emotions: sad for leaving someone/something and happy for meeting someone/something. The happiest person is the ones who come to pick up their loved ones. And somehow, someday, someway, you will experience all three.

For people who are taking the flight, you will learn an important lesson in life: Happiness will come after sadness. Just remember this when you are taking that plane, “There’s a happy terminal waiting for you after the gloomy goodbyes in the sad terminal.” There’s always happiness after sadness.

*this article is dedicated for Prima and Aras who are going back to Indonesia; and Melati who returns to Amsterdam!

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  1. Love this, my gradmom is about to fly to the US and I red this makes me sad.

  2. Today I dropped off a loved one at sad terminal….. well said article!

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