(Continued from Confession, first part)
So, a few years ago during a midlife crisis episode, I was down and out. I was hoping nobody really noticed my failure. I was not as successful as in my initial professional years, and worse, everything that those years indicated what I would be; I was not even half way. Perhaps I was even going backwards but my stubbornness did not allow me to see it.
Anyway, the point is that I was auto knocked down and out. I needed to escape to a place where I could rethink my life from that moment on. However, money was scarce, or better said non-existent, because I was living on credit; so the prospect of going all by myself to a nice beach or a retreat in the mountains or anything similar to that was just a chimera. Self-humiliated and wanting to escape from my own body and mainly my mind, I laced up my shoes and went for a run. A partial escape that sometimes helped to reduce stress and, when lucky, cleared up my mind and allowed me to gather ideas.
This time, though, after a few minutes into the run I started remembering things. Not the kind of things that one remembers consciously, but those that have been there hidden in a cluster of memory neurons and suddenly spark and demand attention.
All came back to me quickly. Part of my problem was that I was being over generous with everybody else, except me. I needed to retake all things that belonged to me once, find the people that mattered most in my life, do the things I always wanted to do, and so on. I was leaving everything concerning myself for later, always for later. And that had me in a shameful state, at that moment I knew that if I continued like that I would go down in a more and more miserable way. I did not know where to start though, because I didn’t know what to do. Then the distant reminiscences of those teenager years, the ones that were the cornerstone of my few successes lighted up like a beacon. Many and varied memories came back, and one in particular elbowed the others to get ahead and face me: the love of my life.
As strange as it might sound, it was still not clear what that meant. All I knew at that moment was that I was the one to blame and that had left the relationship, practically by accident; but needed to search for and find it then. I had the need to find it.
With tears in my eyes, I remember thinking “I wish I could do it”.
I kept running although most certainly at a slower pace, I should have ran farther than previous days, because unquestionably I thought and thought for many minutes, perhaps an hour or more. I don’t remember anything else from that run except that I thought lots and remembered many things. I was not tired at all and kept running. A few minutes after thinking those words I found myself looking at the floor sighing: “I would want to do it”.
And yes, everything was getting clearer and it was only a matter of a few more minutes when with my chin up I said to the trees on my right: “I am going to do it”. And surely, a moment after that I shouted with everything I could possibly manage: “I will do it!” And I knew I really shouted, because a minute later a couple of people walking in the opposite direction looked at me as if wanting to ask if I was alright. I had wiped my tears and what was left from those mixed with the sweat. So the tears were not noticeable. My very big grin would have convinced them I was perfectly fine, or perfectly crazy.
And so it began. I took my time to start planning the search. I knew the finding wouldn’t be quick, so I also planned how to proceed from that moment on.
However, I needed to do all that carefully and in secret. For many personal reasons I needed to hide what was going on. There were many people that certainly would be affected and I did not want to provide any hints of what was happening. As well, if the enterprise did not work, I could simply keep it to myself as if it never happened.
I planned and planned for days, although all that was recorded and rehearsed in my mind many times, I imagined the possible scenarios and outcomes. When I realized I was ready, I started.
It takes a lot of effort to do something important when all you can put in it is your spare time. Some days I could only allocate fifteen minutes, some others -with a lot of luck- a couple of hours, but the majority of the days provided zero minutes. I knew it would take time, I knew it could take a couple of years or maybe more but I was ready for the challenge. I knew I could stand the pressure and keep a secret for many months. I prepared myself for that, although by mere chance:
For example, a few times in my younger years I made a promise not to drink any alcohol for a full year, independently of the number of parties, occasions or company I would stand my ground. And I was successful on the majority and the last few times.
Also, a few years ago while traveling, when crossing the street I was hit by a car and was hurt. However, I was strangely lucky and my body continued to function at perhaps eighty percent capacity. Except for my clothes and my backpack, there was no highly visible indication on my skin that I was hit. When I returned home I did not tell anything to my family, partly because there was a situation that prevented me for causing more worries or concerns, and partly because I wanted to test myself to see for how long I could keep it as a secret, despite my slight limping and lack of mobility.
A full year went by before I disclosed such event to them.
So, the secret-keeping test was passed.