Book Of Life

The Book Of Life

Every morning, before going to the bathroom, Bianca, my 4 year old daughter, comes into my room and asks for my iPhone. Most of the time she gets it. After touching it for a few minutes, she gave it back and starts her normal morning routine. Never asked her why she’s doing while holding the phone. I guess I always assumed she’s playing some of the games I installed especially for that.

Recently I had to find a specific note in my iPhone Notes, something serious, an address or a flight ticket number. To my surprise, the first note I found was from the same day and it was something like this:

“aquiwue iwury iwurywiuey., kahihas aiehkahjs”.

And it went like this for a few more lines. Apparently, I took that note at 6:49 AM. Oh, of course! It wasn’t mine, it was Bianca’s! I admit it took me a good 7-8 seconds to realize that (yes, sometimes I can be extremely slow). Happy that I solved this unexpected mystery, I deleted the note. The next one, to my surprise, was from the same league, with a slightly different approach:

“ajhskj ajsj bnmabf kajhjkhfhjka a”.

Of course, it was from yesterday. And after deleting it I found the one from the day before and so on. In 5 minutes I discovered about 30 notes written by Bianca every morning in the last month. Some of them were short, but some of theme were pretty elaborate. The first impulse was to clean up the app and delete them. But something made me not to.

I found the information I need, did whatever I had to do with it and left the notes untouched in my iPhone. Planning to ask her later about them, of course.

The Secret Diary

The next morning, after she asked for my iPhone, I sat down with her. She seemed pretty absorbed in her writing. Useless to mention that she was incredibly skilled in finding the right app, in the right screen, etc. It wasn’t by mistake, she was doing the writing on purpose.

After she finished the note for today, I asked what was the note about. “But it’s about your name, didn’t you recognize it?”. I admitted I didn’t. “Yeeeees, it’s your name, look closer” she said, and then she left the room, preparing for kindergarten.

The next day, I planned to talk more about the notes so even before she asked for the iPhone I started a small conversation:

“I’ll give it to you but first, I want to ask you a few questions”.
“Oooookey”, she answered, with that voice half-bored, half-promising.
“What is this note about?” and I browsed to something from a week ago.
“Well, it was eating out a Pizza Hut, remember?”

Didn’t remember that, to be honest.

“How about this one?” and I pointed to something even older.
“That was when we watched that movie, remember?”

I remembered watching that movie, but it happened before the note. Of course, she doesn’t know how to read or even identify the days of the month in a calendar. Time is still friendly to her.

“Ok, I said, you can have it” and handed her the iPhone. Immediately, she started to write the note for the day.

The Book Of Life

On my way to work that morning, I realized that Bianca was actually writing her book of life. A journal. A witness of her own experiences. And then I realized we’re all doing that. And, to my huge surprise, I realized we’re all doing it the same way Bianca did: in our own, private language.

Nobody really understands our own book of life. We have goals, objectives, paths but we’re the only ones knowing their real meaning. We write our book of life in some kind of gibberish. I may say something like:

“I want to run a marathon

but you may understand something completely different. For you, running a marathon could be something very different than it is for me. Our lives are incredibly specific because we use a custom-made, private language. And that makes us really lonely people, no matter how much we interact on a formal level.

Bianca’s book of life become alive the moment I started to connect with her. The moment I was interested enough to find out more, her book of life become intelligible for me. Until that, it was just random letters, nothing more.

How’s your book of life? Do you take the time to connect with people around you and let them know what you meant when you said that thing? What you meant when you made that commitment? What you meant when you made that present? Or do you just write gibberish and assume that everybody understands you?

How many times the pages from your book of life have been torn away because nobody really understands them? How many times you ignored messages from other books of life, just because you assumed the message must be written in the same language you understand? How many times you ignored other books of life because you didn’t take the time to sit down, talk and connect with the other person? How many seconds of happiness you lost by that? How many hours of joy?

Do you really take the time to make your book of life available to your closest ones?

Or are you just drifting away, mumbling a completely unintelligible mumbo-jumbo expecting anyone to fulfill your deepest desires?



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. That’s so sweet. We can learn so much from kids. I liked the way you made the analogy to our paths and our books of life. Indeed, we’re writing our own, in a language only we can understand. This gives us the insight into other people’s lives. Not because we don’t understand them, they’re unworthy of our consideration.
    .-= Anne Lyken-Garner´s last blog ..5 Detoxing Tips That Work =-.

    1. It’s the coding method we’re using, if the other one is able to understand it effortless, than we’re having communication. But if we’re needing decoding, as in Bianca’s notes, we have to make efforts to understand and internalize the code.

  2. Interesting post! It is indeed so easy to presume that others ‘understand’ what you mean. But everyone has a different meaning behind each word they use. And the only way to find out is to ask.

    So good of you to ask your daughter what she meant!
    .-= Annemieke´s last blog ..Beneath the World of Logic =-.

    1. It would have been really stupid just to delete those notes, supposing they’re were just “garbage”. Been there as a kid, where people assumed I was just “baby talking” when in fact I was so damn serious 😉

  3. I get peeved with people saying great post when somethings obviously not a great post, but ya know, like an ok post. Especialliy on the A-lister sites.

    But this really IS a great post and explains brilliantly a

    The highest compliment I can pay it is to say I wish I’d written it. Then again I don’t have kids so that was never likely to happen 😉
    .-= Tim Brownson´s last blog ..You’re A Sales Person =-.

  4. Dragos – I think that I probably write more gibberish than most people. My overactive brain is always kicking the stuff out. I try to share it with others the best I can. I’ve worked hard on how to translate it so others can understand and it makes a difference. Thank you.

    Phil
    .-= Phil – Less Ordinary Living´s last blog ..What we can learn from children =-.

    1. I don’t know if you’re writing more gibberish than most people. You’re the only one that could “feel” that. And if you’re really feeling it, maybe it’s time to stop writing and get out asking people around. They’ll answer, you’ll see 🙂

  5. Dragos,

    It sounds like your 4 year old daughter just might have a future in blogging! Perhaps she is writing her first posts on your iPhone.

    My friend has an iPhone and his 7 year old son also loves to play with it.

    The main points I take away from this post are that it is very important to properly communicate our story. And it is also very important to actively listen to others and ask the right questions, so we hear about their life stories.

    We definitely live much better lives when we communicate with those around us more deeply.
    .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..How to feel better when you are REALLY down =-.

  6. Hi Dragos,

    I enjoyed reading this post, particularly how you were able to see past the ‘gibberish’ of what your daughter was doing with your iPhone and that you were able to learn a lesson from it. I guess she sees Daddy writing and wants to emulate what you do on a daily basis. I find it remarkable that she’s able to remember what each day’s writing was. What a memory and imagination!

    It’s such a sweet story so thank you for sharing it with us.

    Thanks,
    Karen
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..What Would You Do If You Knew? =-.

    1. She was not able to remember everything exactly as it was. I think she’s seeing events “floating” around because she doesn’t have a similar time understanding. Fact is she was keeping a diary and that was absolutely amazing for me 🙂

    1. That’s the cornerstone of communication, reaching out and confirming your assumptions. If we’re not doing it, we’re just drifting away, in a world of imagination. Might be nice, but can be also deceiving.

    1. At this age they’re imitating a lot, without really knowing what they’re doing, but perhaps later, when these memories will surface from their unconscious mind, she will find it appealing too 🙂

  7. Hi Dragos, I loved this.

    Kids are just uncomplicated versions of ourselves and it can be hard to get into their world at times, but the effort is worth it, like you found out.

    I think that the personal stories are working great for you and they give your posts another dimension.
    .-= Steven Aitchison´s last blog ..A Definitive 4 Step Process for Setting Goals =-.

    1. I would love to be as uncomplicated as a kid sometimes, I really do. Thanks for being around, Steven, always appreciated. 🙂

  8. Dragos, I read this post when you first posted but was speechless. I came back and read it again today. Bianca is a lovely name. And she can teach us about life, unbelievable. My exercise routine is ever changing but as far as writing journals, I certainly don’t. We blog :)! And we share ourselves that way with the world I guess…..I share a great deal with my friends and family. Perhaps too much. There is an amazing power in sharing, conversing, and listening to others share their life. The older I get, the more the tiny little things matter and I love life more every day for that. Thank you for a great post, AS ALWAYS!!!

  9. Wow thats a really unique way of looking at things. I think that it’s amazing the things you think of when you’re out and about. Most people think of their best ideas when they’re not actively thinking at all.
    .-= Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com´s last blog ..Tabata Intervals : Day 30 (Post Mortem) =-.

    1. I want to thank you for this post. You put a smile on my face this morning. It really speaks to me. Lately, I have felt a lot of anger and frustration for what I’ve perceived as unjust rejection. Maybe there’s still hope.

  10. […] Whenever I ask those questions I’m getting the most intriguing answers. But each and every answer reinforce the fact that people are extremely motivated by performance. Fulfillment seems to be seen rather like a consequence of a performance based attitude, than as a path to be followed on its own. In today’s post I’d like to sketch a few directions about how performance and fulfillment approaches are shaping our lives. […]

  11. brilliant!! I love how you write about your little girl. Kids certainly are some of our best teachers, and sources of inspiration aren’t they? 🙂

  12. […] This will have at least two implications: First, you’ll realize that the worst case scenario is not as bad as you thought it may be. And second, you’re going to realize that you are a very powerful person. You did it. You went through the hell and back and you’re still alive, ready to tell your story. […]

  13. Dragos, one of my favorite posts on your blog. Not necessary due to the depth of the answers in the end, which are by themselves helpful and worth to be applied anytime. But more because of your daughter’s attitude. There are so many things that we know deep inside when we were kids without anyone telling us about them, but unfortunately we tend to forget them when we grow up.

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