Although I write this blog is English, my life transpires in seven languages or more with words from languages I know a little of intermixed every now and then. Add in some intermittent double vision and my other vision therapy side effects, and you’ve got quite a host of inputs into my brain.
About three years ago, I immersed myself into two huge books in Italian about the end of the life of the Italian journalist, Tiziano Terzani. As he was dying from cancer, he sat down with his son and told his son about some of his trajectory. From growing up in a poor family in Florence after World War II, where he would look at people eat ice cream and try to imagine the world of luxury they inhabited to his war reporting in Vietnam. The last book was called,
La fine è il mio inizio, (The end is my beginning). After having been a tried Asian correspondent for the German magazine, Die Spiegel for decades, he left his globetrotting life to take of himself in his final years before dying of cancer. He saw his cancer not as a plague, but as a way to travel inside. He was always reporting on the lives of other people and explaining the East to the West (he spoke Chinese, Italian, French, German and English). Now he wanted to understand himself and what was the meaning of his life.
Although I am very much alive and well and thankfully not undergoing a therapy at the end of my life, I just recently realized the parallels in our lives. I am also a writer, a globetrotter (with more than 50 countries under my belt) and I am now on the most difficult journey ever, one for which I have no passport, visa, map, guide or internal compass to guide me. The road to stereovision is one that forces me to make amends with all the crap from the past (two surgeries, going to a retarded pre-school, feeling like a reject, etc, etc) and accept an inner journey through my mind.
Terzani was at peace with himself. His longing to travel and explore went away as he journeyed further inside himself. He gave up meat and ate simply and adored his quiet time admiring the sunsets in Pakistan (or was it India?) and Italy.
I am becoming more and more content with my free time that I’ve created in my life as I’ve cut out many activities to make room for my vision therapy and resulting fatigue. I cut out or severely reduced being “dial a shrink” for friends with problems and listening to complaints. Nope, no time for victims and people who won’t get their act together.
At first, I resented the fact that I wasn’t able to do as many activities as before and be with friends and now I am reveling in my quiet. For the first time in my life, I have zero plans. Ok, I have a baby shower to attend next month. But other than that and some other social events, no plans or commitments. My life is an open slate and I love it!
As I am training my brain to see space, I am creating space in my life, so much so that I am happy with the nothingness of a grand expanse of time and space before me, virgin territory on which I can paint my new life.
Incidentally, I have plenty of frequent flyer miles and free ticket vouchers but they are not calling me to go anywhere.
Ok, I’ll be honest, I am still longing to go to Syria and Lebanon. But I don’t care if I have 3D vision and eyes at the back of my head, I am not going to a country (Syria) where the government is shooting civilians who are protesting. I’ll make do with my local baklava and falafel culinary choices before going on a hummus and sweetshops tour of the Levant. I’ll go when the countries are more peaceful. I have enough linguistic and ocular confusion in my head that political upheavals in Arabic will probably make me lose whatever sanity I’ve managed to keep.
I’ll change the title of the book to fit me better, “La terapia de visione è il mio inizio” (Vision therapy is my beginning).