Ania asked me the other night whether I thought of her as someone who sees life as a challenge. I answered that I didn’t. That was true; however I couldn’t think in that moment exactly how she does see it. We were in the company of some of her friends, and fortunately something prevented me from saying what I did think next. What I thought was that someone who sees life as a challenge is a miserable person, who would gain very little of my respect or sympathy. (I might say as I read this after thirteen years that my views have softened rather in the last decade or so) It was fortunate that I kept quiet on this, since it followed her enquiry (in Polish) to her friend about how his life was going, and his answer that it was (as she expected him to say) a challenge.
She filled the pause in my response by offering that she sees life as a joy – a pleasure. Yes that’s true of her, but it’s not true of me. I’m very glad that my wife finds pleasure in the things that she does. It makes it easy and productive for me to encourage her. She enjoys what she does and she is good at what she does. Helping to spin that wheel is a simple rule for me to follow, and it is a constant happiness for me to watch that circle of joy and success with very little effort on my part.
But what then am I when measured in these terms? How do I see life? Ania tells me that I see life as an adventure.
You honour me with the sweetest compliment. That is exactly how I want to be and how I want to be thought of. I think it’s true. I love the balance of new experience and the activity of making the most of both the joys and (yes) the challenges that these fresh environments present me. I take the ingredients of my situation and use them and my experience from past adventures to move from this situation to a better one. I always aim to deliver something of merit efficiently and effectively. I know it will never be perfect, nor do I want it to be. And the fun is to make it as near so as suits the dynamic of the moment, to learn a little and move on to the next adventure.
I have a warm feeling that my wife entrusted me with the judgment of her life view. I did not fail her. Ania returned the favour by paying me a rich compliment. Thank you, my love.