I am starting my Sunday morning in dire need to reflect briefly upon a revelation announced by one of my friends yesterday that took me by surprise. It was a good revelation even if it has made me think about days long past and days to come.
But before I get into one of my predisposed "thinking about what it means (if anything)" moments, I will briefly digress into some early reflections about my visiting cousin. (A big plus is that he is a night owl so I have the luxury of a few hours in the morning to do my own thing before he wakes up! There is hope yet that I will still be able to do a decent amount of writing during his stay with me.)
The cousin safely arrived from Verona on Friday morning and has been exposed to the quintessential Australian experience, the summer BBQ, not once but twice in his first weekend here. It was just seredipity that his arrival coincided with two of my social gatherings lined up for this weekend and the weather has (after over a week of flood producing deluge) put on a fine show for him. It is, of course, a truism that the extreme weather will mark the remainder of his lengthy stay but it was good to have a positive start.
I have also been reminded about how fortunate we are in Australia compared to the world - with my cousin in awe of the wide open spaces, the greenery, how relaxed everyone seems to be and the quality of democratic life here in general. Even though I have travelled to Europe many times and am always so happy to return home after exposure to the greyness and bustle and throngs of people there, it was a welcome reminder of just how much Australians have to take for granted. We are genuinely blessed and it only after visiting somewhere else that it is possible to really appreciate that gift.
Now - reflection time! At the first of the BBQs, a friend of mine said quite randomly that he thought he and I think alike, that pretty much everything I said he agreed with. It wasn't really out of the blue that he should say something like that because we really do think about certain things in the same way and both of us appear to be fascinated by the same things with questioning minds that desire to delve into the philosophical much more than your average punter.
Truth is I've known for a very long time he could be on a common wavelength to me. I suspect it occurred to me shortly after I met him, when his sister dragged him along to one of my Spring deck drinks. It was clear to me that his mind was in a far away place that particular day and I saw a part of myself reflected in him in that moment. What part of me did I see? I saw the "not really wanting to be around people on that particular day" part, with some hurt, which had occurred in the not too distant past, contributing to a sense of disconnectedness. There but not there. A prevailing sadness that is rarely noticed by others (except those close enough to catch glimpses of it and learn to accept this is just what it is).
The search for life meaning is not something many people even contemplate pursuing (most people when give a choice would prefer to sleep walk through their lives - of itself something that saddens me). And I have an advantage of having well over a dozen years head start on my friend. I doubt the extra years has made me wiser than him but it has given me more time to think about such things. My first novel was nothing but the deepest of reflection about the most philosophical of questions - what defines us as a person. I sometimes think about loaning him a copy of this novel as I know beyond any doubt that he would "get it", and get so much more out of it than most readers because he is in a mind space where the words on the page would resonate with him to his very core. But then I worry he might read too much of himself in those words and, if he is genuinely like me, it will take him to the darkest of places (as it did me at times when I was writing it).
I admit I was a little taken aback by his revelation. I have seen glimpses to suggest he is like me but no one has ever said it out loud to me before. In my entire life. I am rather used to managing my communication to 'translate' how my mind processes everything from complex policy analysis to deep feelings into a language that the world can understand because my mind is almost entirely a world of tangents and the mainstream prefer linear. It is unusual for me to encounter someone who speaks even remotely a similar internal language as me. Part of the reason I write fiction is to help me make sense of my thoughts and feelings because I have never really encountered anyone who can actually hear what I am saying and make true sense of it when the words spill out of my mouth. (Aside: I do not think I am particularly unique by the way; things being lost in translation is a universal truism for as much communication between people generally as it is not.)
But I feel very comfortable with this friend to talk about the tangents as my mind actually experiences them (in real time!), to relax enough (most of the time) to speak in my own language, and to be myself. It is incredible that I have finally encountered a mind mate. It only took a few decades to find a friend like this. It is a really good place to be. Even if I need just a little time to adjust to this most welcome discovery. Life IS full of surprises.