This is one of those things you need to bear with me for a minute, or two, depending on your reading speed and how much reflection you do while at it. I was a smart ass as kid, who knew! Finding out math was a thing and that my dad taught math for a living lead me to a path of using math “wrong” to prove my dad wrong – solid, undeniable logic with loopholes I found funny. …My dad actually did enjoy it too.
One of my favourites, and what I still use in my work to demonstrate logic does not rule all, was the good old 1+1. My teachers told me the answer is 2, so did my dad. The economics books I got to know way later on my life, and strategy workshops and gurus too, tell it’s three, because “synergy” and whatever bullshit of “teamwork makes the dream work”; 1+1 makes more than 1. Here was my thinking as a kid; you rake a pile (1) of leaves and another pile (1) of leaves and you put them together, you have a pile (1) of leaves. 1+1=1
It was funny as a kid. Still find it useful in work settings. In my personal life? It has been an equation following my life; an equation I’ve actually used against myself. My now + a single effort = my now. Why bother? I have tried and failed, made way, and had hard as hell setbacks. But I’ve tried. I’ve tried and tried and tried. I’ve tried and found myself back where I started, maybe even worse. I’ve had momentarily wins, I’ve had the highs of running away and moving around. But. I’ve felt like I’m still where I was, not making any way forward, especially not with that single thing of action.
So. Childhood. I had a lot of reoccurring nightmares as a kid. One of them was of me walking down a street in my hometown and falling down because my legs could not carry me anymore. I would fall down. I could not get up. I would desperately try and stand but could not. I would see people passing by, ignoring me. No-one would stop and help. No one would acknowledge me. No one would help. I was alone. A kid. Alone.
Two weeks ago I started having those dreams again – just with a small but major a change. I would walk down a street, go to a coffee shop, cross a bridge, attend a show… I was once even a politician in my government, and once being able to fly around pirate ships to escape high jumping werewolves that looked like panthers – not sure that’s a good thing or a bad one, leave it up to the Freud enthusiasts…sorry no apparent long shapes in that dream you could interpret as penis…where was I? Right, walking. For the past couple of weeks I’ve had these dreams where I’m somewhere, walking (or flying), and my legs start to wobble. I feel like I’m about to fall down. And instead of walking, instead of falling down? I grab a table, a chair, I might even walk faster towards a wall I see so that I can hug that wall and stay up. I know, I’m scared, I will fall down – but I don’t. I might, who knows. But I don’t. And then I wake up.
I wake up and realize that was a dream. I wake and realize that unlike 30 years ago I now have coping strategies, resources, friends, medical help – and the will and understanding to ask for help, to get me going. I wake up realizing that all the work, the ones of adding to zero, have actually made a difference. That dream, is a fresh reminder of where I started. It is a nightly reminder of me making progress. It is a nightly reminder I am so much better off than where I started from. It is a nightly reminder I can, eventually, truly, stand on my feet.