Every morning, before getting out of the bed, 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 needed, 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? How many years of fulfilling life?
Do you really take the time to make your book of life available to your closest ones?
Or are you just drifting away, scribbling a completely unintelligible mumbo-jumbo, while still expecting everybody to understand your deepest desires?