When I was a kid, I would hyperventilate at the Planetarium when I tried to wrap my brain around the idea that the universe went on forever. It freaked me out to think of earth, and of myself, as a tiny spec in the grand scheme of things. I'm not sure you can call it an existential crisis when it happens to an 11 year old, but there you have it.
Nowadays, the same type of feelings spring up when something big happens. In this case, Hurricane Sandy. Of course, I worry about my friends on the East Coast, and I'm sure everything will be fine as long as everyone stays safe. But when I look out my window and see not a single cloud in the sky, my heart rate quickens a tiny bit at the thought of how far away we really are from our friends and family scattered throughout the country, and in a lot of cases, the world. The physical vastness of the planet (and the Universe!) compared to what our bodies are physically capable of freaks me out. Mainly, it scares me that, should something like the Day After Tomorrow happen, our little family wouldn't be able to strap on some hiking boots and rejoin the rest of our family because we are just too far away.
Before this post takes a turn for the far too serious, let me disclose that B and I have been serially watching the Walking Dead all weekend anytime Mia is asleep. We have about 8 episodes left to go before we are totally caught up and can start watching what is currently airing on AMC. Ever since the days that I got majorly into Lost, about 50% of the thoughts I have while watching an apocalyptic style show (Lost, Revolution - which I watched 2 episodes of before giving up because I didn't like the main character) are somewhat wistful about how much simpler life would be if something like that would happen. Not so much in the case of the Walking Dead -- I do not fantasize about living in a world where there are zombies ready to eat you around every corner. But a world without electricity, or marooned on a tropical island? Sure.
The reason anyone can actually go away from home for anything is that it's easy to stay in touch. It was easy to pick up the phone or sign into AIM back in college, and it is even easier now to sign into Skype and have an actual face to face conversation with your parent, or make sure your child knows her grandparents' faces. It's easy to get on a plane and visit your grandmother for Christmas, so that she can see her great-grandchild. All of it is easy, and when I have my existential crises, at least I'm reminded not to take it for granted.
Because, it may come a day when there are flesh eating zombies preventing me from getting on a plane for a friend's wedding. But probably not. Until then, everyone on the East Coast stay safe!