Saturday, January 23, 2010

Emotions versus "Economics" or Practicalities of Life

Lion is an English-speaking 50-year old driver hired to drive me to the office.  He is Argentinian but has moved from country to country since a young age because his father was a diplomat and he himself grew up to work in Spanish-speaking tourism in Asia, Europe and other regions.  He moved back to Argentina 3 years ago because of his beloved 15-year old son from his previous marriage, who almost died from pneumonia.  He has several degrees, and was a professor at International Relations in one of the city's universities.  He has a business hosting HR coaching workshops and also provides private city tour services.

Today I went to a very shady neighborhood to take pictures, and decided it would be safest to have him accompany me.  Lion gave me a lot of background history of the neighborhood, as he walked around La Boca district with me.  When we were done with the tour, he drove me back to hotel.

On our way back, we talked about traveling/ living in different countries as part of his life.  He explained that he had been back in Buenos Aires for 3 years, and sometimes he did miss the excitement and adventures of working in other countries, the money and fulfillment he felt in his overseas assignments.  He knew he had had a very adventurous life, with the opportunity to see so much of the world, and felt the need to settle down for a while.  We felt that for some people, it is like a destiny to travel from place to place, like a natural instinct yearning for the comfort of discomfort in being in strange environments.  Perhaps in our past lives we were normads...

Lion gave me a word of advice when we talked about his decision to move back to BA.  I could feel he was quite sentimental when he said to me,"In life you sometimes have to make difficult choices, and some of these choices involve choosing between your emotions and 'economics' or practicalities of life.  When my ex-wife was 3 months pregnant, I was working in Singapore.  One day, I was flying from Bhutan to India and I had a terrible plane crash.  I was the only passenger and I survived the crash.  For about 10 minutes after the crash, my life flashed before my eyes, and I felt I had lived an eventful life, I had seen the world...with no regrets.  Yet, a small voice told me that my life was not yet complete - I still needed to be a father and look after my son.  After I survived that crash, I decided to move back to BA.  When my son was born, he looked at me with his big blue eyes, and instantly I knew he was the most important thing to me in the world.  After my divorce, my son stayed with my ex-wife, and I started my traveling again.  I finally moved back again when my son had pneumonia and almost died 3 years ago.  In life, you make your choices and you live with the consequences.  Some choices are not rational, but if something/someone is important to your heart, it's worth the inconveniences and sacrifices."

I was speechless for a moment.  He didn't know anything about my life except that I traveled a lot, so his advice took me by surprise.

I thought about The Little Prince and his proud rose back on his planet - the rose he had left behind to travel to other planets, only to learn from the fox that his rose, and the time he had spent with her, were something special and important to his heart.

The conversation led me to my contemplative state the whole afternoon at work in BA.

No comments:

Post a Comment