When spring kicks in, at least 2 important things happen in my life. First, I get to spend more time outside, usually in a park, and second, my storage patterns are changing. By “storage patterns” I understand the places where I keep the mobile phone or my wallet.
During winter, the wallet stays in a chest pocket of my jacket and the phone in the front right pocket of my jeans. Well, when spring kick in, I don’t wear a jacket anymore, so my wallet goes in the right back pocket of my jeans, mirroring my phone. I’m comfortable with this routine and it all went ok for a few good years.
Until a couple of weeks ago.
What was so special about that day? Well, nothing at first glance. Just a nice, warm day of spring, at the end of which I decided to go out for a stroll in the park, with Bia, my 11 year old girl. She got a new mobile phone for her birthday, a Samsung Galaxy S5, rivaling in size (and probably features) with my iPhone 6. Because it didn’t fit in my front pocket, I put it in the back pocket of my jeans, cramming it in alongside my wallet.
Our park routine usually unfolds like this: Bia is scouting for some playgrounds and I sit on a bench, looking at other people, in my phone or nowhere in particular. It went like this for a good few hours, then I got a phone call from Raluca, my girlfriend, who told me she would join us. I told Bia about that and we decided to leave that specific playground and meet Raluca at one of the park entrances. It didn’t took more than 10 minutes and here we are, rejoining after a long day.
We then went on the shore of the small lake of that park, watching the birds and sharing bits and stories about each other day, when Bia decided it’s time for her to call a friend. On her brand new, ultra-tech Samsung phone, obviously. I reached to my right back pocket and gave here the precious piece of technology. And, 5 minutes later, we started to walk again, aiming for one more lap of the park, calling it a day.
At some point during this lap, I reached to my right back pocket again, this time for my wallet and then I froze. Like, literally, I felt a flow of cold air coming down my spine and I couldn’t move. My wallet was gone.
Raluca asked me if I feel ok and I said “Nope, not really, why?”. “Well, because you’re suddenly very pale” she replied, genuinely worried. “Well, my wallet is gone”, I said.
And then she went pale too.
Every time we’re put in a very uncomfortable situation, we have mainly two types of reactions: we either freeze or get into a whirlwind of thoughts and activities. It’s either apathy or hyperactivity.
What started with a short hit of apathy, in my case, turned really fast into a storm of hyperactivity. After the initial shock, my thoughts started hitting on each other like planes around a busy airport, of which the ground control went drunk. In a few microseconds I rewinded and replayed the movie of the last 10 minutes and realized the wallet slipped form my pocket the moment I took out Bianca’s phone. I started to run towards that place, near the shore of the lake.
It wasn’t there. We looked very, very carefully, made a few steps back and forward, but it wasn’t there.
As I was trying to cope with the situation, I started to assess the damage. I had all my cards in it, my ID and my driver license. In less than 2 weeks I had to fly to London. It was a very, very bad moment for me to lose my ID. And my cards.
And yet, here I was, wallet-less and powerless.
Reaching for my wallet was suddenly returning a “404 – Not Found” message. It was very frustrating.
During all these 10 or 15 minutes, Raluca kept saying something about “the angels who are really working here”, hinting at the fact that maybe the wallet wasn’t lost. I wasn’t so sure. As a matter of fact I was already starting to think about the next steps. How to replace my IDs, to block my cards and so on.
At this point, I briefly noticed, with the corner of my eye, a lady approaching very slowly, almost in circles, assessing me from a distance. We made eye contact. She asked bluntly: “Did you lose something, sir?”. I couldn’t believe my ears. “Yes, my wallet”. “Well, my husband has it”, she said and I saw a mad approaching behind her.
He looked at me like he was trying to see through me and asked, also bluntly: “What’s your name?”. I answered “Dragos Roua”. “And where are you born?”, the man continued. I told him my birth city. He reach to his pocket, took out my precious wallet and returned it to me.
“Our son found it, 15 minutes ago” the lady told us.
I can’t describe the feelings of relief, warmheartedness and joy I experienced during those seconds. It was like, for 10 or 15 minutes, I was dead. Like non0existing. No id, no access to money. Nothing. And all of a sudden, I was reborn.
I won’t get into more details, but Raluca’s sentence about “the angels working hard” proved to be true. Somebody did work hard for me to regain my identity during that short time window.
We may call that being, by lack of other terms, “my guardian angel”.
But it’s much more than that.
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.