Beginnings: Goodbye London
Fragment from imaginary dialogues
“My London Adventure is over. I’ve decided to go back home at the beginning of March. On my birthday, in fact, as a little symbolic act.”
“What went well?”
“These 4 years have been the densest [<link; medium read] of my life, in terms of growth and experiences. I’ve developed skills that will stay with me for a lifetime. I’m going back home an entirely different person. It’s given me a glimpse of what’s possible.
I’ve built a very strong foundation while in London. I’m going to keep building on it and pushing myself in the years and decades to come, on my artful quest to discover the limits of my potential, and I’ll keep sharing insights from my journey in my daily writings.”
“What didn’t go well?”
“The social aspect.
And not for lack of trying. I gravitated towards jobs involving a lot of interaction, which were far outside my comfort zone (maybe too far), I attended Parkour classes for almost three years, as well as numerous events. Despite all this, it feels like I’ve made very little progress.
I’m an introvert. I can function best in 1-on-1 interactions, or involving a very small number of people. When there’s more people around, my brain shuts down. To be able to function among people, I’ve perfected some dysfunctional coping mechanisms: avoidance of eye contact, and excessive task focus.
As you can imagine, people don’t take well to being ignored, so they ignored me in return, which would trigger in me feelings of guilt and insufficiency, which would cause me to close down even more.”
“So you’ve been sabotaging your own efforts.”
“And very effectively I might add. I suspect it might have something to do with some unresolved trauma from the distant past.
For instance, I worked during night-time for a year as a glass collector in a bar. Every night we’d remove the tables and chairs from a certain area of the place and turn it into a dance floor. During weekends they brought in a DJ, and the place got very busy.
To mitigate my discomfort, besides my usual coping mechanisms, I moved. And, man, did I move. I did not know I could move like that. I cut through the crowd like a fish through water, as a female admirer put it (amusingly, my zodiac sign is Pisces). When there was music, I moved with the rhythm of the music. In a beautiful instance of serendipity, in running away from social interactions, I discovered my Physical Genius.
Some people called me the Dancer. I had admirers, people came to see me move… but I didn’t see them. It took me a long time to notice that people were smiling at me, even longer to start engaging with them in small conversations. I’ve had so many opportunities in that place, but I didn’t know how to take advantage of them.
One of the many girls I liked there was a colleague. I never spoke with her. One night, I think she had drunk a bit too much. She was outside, I was inside. Our eyes met, and she shouted ‘Dani!’, like she was really happy to see me, and came towards me, her arms extended. We hugged through the open window for what to me seemed like an eternity… And that was it. One of the most beautiful experiences of my life.
I’ve had many such small experiences in that place, and since then, every one a promise of possibilities, but I didn’t take advantage of any of them.”
“Do you feel any regret?”
“None. Regret is useless. I’m deeply grateful for each and every one of them.”
“What will you do better going forward?”
“I like to think of my London Adventure as the foundational stage. It set the stage for what’s to come.
The theme of the next stage of my life is CONNECTION. This is the area I’m weakest at, and my biggest obstacle, which I realize holds immense potential.
For the next 5 years, my macro-focus will be Connection. During my stay in London, it was secondary to my other pursuits. Now it’s become central. I want to develop my social and emotional intelligence, which are very underdeveloped. I want to (re)learn how to make friends, how to create and maintain relationships. In 5 years’ time, I want to become an ambivert.”
“How do you feel about going back home?”