Wish you were here

Posted by Cristian Livadaru on Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Wish you were here

I just discovered this post in my draft folder. Here I am rambling on about not not putting things off for tomorrow and here lies this dormant piece since ten whole months.

Short Intro and spoiler alert

This book turned out to become one of my favorite books. It’s probably hard to describe emotions and feelings with words and give you the same ideas I had while reading this book, all the images that were triggered in my mind to create this wonderful story combined with my own thoughts, experiences, and emotions, but I’ll give it a try.

If you want to read this book, stop reading this, it contains spoilers and will ruin the best part of the book.

The Island

In the first part where Diana goes to the Galapagos right before the lockdown started (without her boyfriend who was forced to stay in New you’re since he was a doctor, this fact is important later), I was living the stories on the island in my mind, I could see myself there, in that small apartment provided by “Abuela”, the uncertainty of how and when I would be able to get back but at the same time the forced break from reality, from tasks, from everyday duties and life as I am used to. No internet access, no phone contact with the rest of the world, no money. Just alone with nature and myself. Coincidentally this “being on a faraway tropical island” is my go-to thought when shit gets too much to handle, this romanticized thought of a “simple” life when in reality living on an almost deserted island is anything else but simple. Let alone that this is something I would never do to my two girls, just the thought about it stings and reeks like abandonment. But this very subject is also covered in the book, how Diana’s mother left, traveling the world as a famous photographer not being present in her life at all and her dad being her only parent, which died in an accident at work, life-changing in a heartbeat. After his death noticing the last text message he sent

“Are you busy?”

And that message was left unanswered on Diana’s phone.

How often do I take things for granted, or feel too busy for something and just shove it off for the next day, the next day that might never come? Before the Island, Diana had a plan for her life, what job, at what age to have how many kids … Then after two weeks on the island turned into four without quarantine being lifted and without a way back home … she almost drowned but got rescued at the last minute …

what the f***???

… just to wake up … back in the US … in a hospital finding out that she was on a respirator after contracting Covid. … Fuck? What? The island never happened? She never went? This was all a dream? While she struggles to accept reality, even I didn’t want to accept this, I want back on the island, this reality can’t be real, how can this all just be a dream? No, where all those nice people helping on the island, that “simple life”, the swims in the warm water, beach, sun …

While slowly going through painful physiotherapy, and learning basic things again she keeps on thinking about that other life, searching for the people she met on the island and reevaluating her life and her plan for her life after she almost died. When her boyfriend finally proposed to her, something she had been expecting and looking forward to, before the whole island thing (that never happened), … they instead broke up. Leaving him confused about what happened, and why this happened even if she told him he didn’t do anything wrong and her finally accepting that her short (non-existing) trip to the island made her plans vanish in thin air. Nobody is at fault, dealing with an outcome that society tells us is broken when in reality nothing broke, nothing bad happened, nothing anyone did wrong, and yet, painful and searching for something or someone to blame.

You can’t plan your life

“You can’t plan your life … Because then you have a plan. Not a life.”

This is painful and relieving at the same time. Nothing is forever, and while it can last forever, it’s not a given and not something you should rely on. Take it if it happens, but also enjoy the ride while it lasts, and take it if it doesn’t last forever. People change but don’t notice the change in themself let alone the change in others. Too busy keeping the status quo alive and having no time with yourself, checking in on your values and if the current state still fits into what we have become now. Afraid of taking action, adjusting your life to whatever you have decided to be different, doing things instead, that are comfortable, and expected by others and society.

Another quote from the book

I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t stay with someone because of your past together-what matters more is if you want the same things in the future.

I was also lacking a proper response to the fact of not searching for an answer to things that happened in my past and this is exactly what I was searching for:

Trying to figure out what happened to me isn’t important. It’s what I do with what I’ve learned that counts.

It might sound crazy, but sometimes there just isn’t an answer to be found, and remaining stuck on trying to find one is no solution.

I’m finishing this off with even more lines from the book:

The future is going to come, in some form, whether we like it or not. What we really mean is that we can’t plan for the future. And when we can’t plan-when we can’t find those patterns that make sense-we lose the skeleton of life. And no one can remain upright without that.

This, especially for a person like me that needs a plan, and lives by a calendar is something that scares the shit out of me. Accepting the un-plannable future, living in the moment, and making the most out of every day or at least trying to do that. Of course, this doesn’t mean having zero plans at all but accepting that there are things we can’t plan and we can’t control. Don’t overthink things, try new things, don’t put off things, and come up with stupid excuses without even trying. Don’t put off frightening things, there might not be a tomorrow or you might be missing out on something great.

The takeaway?

I kind of lack the proper mindset now to write a takeaway on this. It was stuck in my draft for so long that I’m not in the same emotional mindset as I was after reading this even if while checking this post, a lot of memories from the book came back. I will let you come to your conclusion and I hope I didn’t spoil this book even if I gave away the plot twist in the book. There still is enough room to trigger thoughts and help raise some questions about your life and the decissions you have taken.