Thinking properly, part 2 – looking Lady Destiny in the eyes

I enter the small flat. They are sitting at the kitchen table. Greetings are exchanged, and we begin the process.

I translate their words to Jenny, the social worker. Her very calm, soothing demeanor makes it difficult for me, and even them, to be nervous. I convey their story – the sad history, the current situation, the outcome they desire.

They answer her questions. She asks them more. They speak about everything, calmly and truthfully. They do what they must – slowly, they lay their lives in front of us on the table, bare and defenseless.

I look into their eyes, and they look at mine. For a moment, I become a part of their world, of them. I may be translating their words coldly and objectively, but I cannot help feeling incredibly moved by the whole situation. Their lives, and the lives and destinies of two more persons they care about immensely, will be determined by this conversation, by this appraisal of whether or not they are… adequate.

We finish. I say goodbye to the family. It is a truly strange feeling; stepping into someone’s life, watching them talk about their most private, most important thing in their world, and then disappearing, probably never to see them again.

I take Jenny to the tea-place where just hours ago I had a very special situation of my own.  We talk about the adoption case, Serbia and life in general. I receive my payment and we say our goodbyes.

I cannot talk about the adoption case in detail, because I am forbidden by law, but it is not necessary. What is important here is to realize that, yes, there are special moments; moments which have enormous impact on how your life will go from there on.

But they are not always so clear and powerful. In fact, they are a lot more common than you think. But too often we say no to them.

It could be from fear, or social conditioning, or indifference, or any combination of those. In any case, the result is that you say no to them; and because of that you don’t organize that road-trip, you don’t meet that amazing new person and you don’t learn that language you always wanted to. You miss a chance not to grow, but to flourish. Because you thought that it wasn’t anything important.

I passed by Dina on the street, and our eyes met. We, stopped, talked and realized we don’t know each other, but exchanged phone numbers anyway.

Two months later, I promised to her I’ll visit her in Paris next summer.

Next summer, I visited her in Paris. I slept in 5 different places, from a student’s flat so small you literally cannot lie down on the floor (don’t ask about the bathroom. Just don’t.), 10 minutes by foot from Notre Damme, to a spacious apartment in a luxurious suburb.  I met Laura, Penelope, David, Vladi, Brankica and others. I had breakfast with Milica on Montmartre. I walked, relaxed, read books, planned my experimental workshop and also learned a lot about myself. Being alone most of the day in a beautiful city had that effect, among many others.

My trip to Paris was a fantastic experience, and I have no idea how much further it will positively influence my life.

But it wouldn’t have happened if Dina and I didn’t look each other in the eyes. And decided to stop. You know, just to check if we know each other.

So, say yes to those moments. Learn to recognize them and capture them before they pass you by. Listen to that voice. It takes practice, and, as with everything in life, you will make mistakes. Some of those moments will lead absolutely nowhere. But some will make you go to places or do things or meet people you never dreamed you would.

Like when our eyes met. And next summer, I was in Paris.

to be continued

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3 Comments to “Thinking properly, part 2 – looking Lady Destiny in the eyes”

  1. Reading your posts, I come to realize the universality of that awful little voice that so persuasively claims “No, but you can’t do that. It’s too much. Just quit”. You know, the horrid little whisper (no, not an ACTUALL voice, for you literal minded folk) that makes you NOT do the things such as, for example, going to Paris when you said so.
    Line of least resistance voice, neg-voice, call it what you will – it’s annoying, because it’s not pathetic, or self-loathing in any way. It’s the voice of (false) REASON. The kind of voice you’ve been taught to use, the voice of a Survivor (not really, but that’s what it presents itself as)
    It’s a similar voice to the one that tells you one should not play with toys anymore (even if the toys are of a highly mentally stimulating nature), that you should not dream silly things, and that it’s too late to learn an instrument….

    I hate it, and I’m learning to overcome it. As you know, I’ve been through some “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again” times in life. I’ve learned from (most) of my mistakes. And I’ve made some seemingly awkward decisions.

    For example – coming back to my country after 2 years of absence, to finish high school. Nobody thought I’d make it. I did. Why? I didn’t listen to anyone, not even my own defeatist-voice (that’s a good one for it). After a dreadful waste of time (listening to the voice again) I came back to Holland and am now finishing UNI with merit (I gots meself a witsy bitsy scholarshiiiip, whohoooo!)

    So what’s the point in this wondrous passage of self-glorification? Nothing really – just saying I agree with you about the JUST DO IT (Nike) policy. Cheers 

  2. Yes, it’s very much true, that voice is deceptively rational, but it’s the bad sort of rationality which springs from all the wrong premises. However, we tend to listen to it a lot, because it sounds so… sensible.

    Luckily, it’s easier than ever today to find someone who’s dealing with the same voice (beacuse a) most of humanity is trying to deal with it, and b) some of those people write blogs 🙂

    Heh, yes, I remember your trials. Congrats on the scholarship, and keep on taking ground away from the voice of defeatist reason, one activity at a time 🙂

    Though I have to say, from my own personal experience, sometimes things just are over your head. You can’t just go and run a marathon if you’ve never ran before. That’s sort of the other extreme of that voice (i.e. I can do anything, because I’m a unique snowflake). We all have to constantly keep learning how to gauge how possible or impossible something is, but at the same time constantly push our limits, step by step.

  3. True. Both voices are, therefore, a method to use false rationality do lie to yourself. Guess its all about learning what your real possibilities are and capitalising on them…

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