In 2002, I was the Spanish teacher to the CEO of a transnational pharmaceutical company in Mexico City. At that time, one of my friends lost her job, and since my “student” was looking for an assistant, I asked him if he could consider my friend for the position. He, in a gesture that I appreciated, interviewed her that same afternoon. The next morning, I asked him what his impression was. “Hmm”, he answered tightening his lips as he shook his head in disapproval, “She lives in a small world”. For years those words have been hammering in my head. Something was off, something didn’t make sense. I mean, isn´t the world the exact same size for everyone? What makes us live in a big or a small world? And, why is living in a small world such a bad thing? Isn´t there a song, how does it go, oh yeah: “It’s a small world after all, it’s a small, small world…” So, what’s wrong with “living in a small world”?
Well, I think it’s a matter of perception. The world is, certainly, not the same size for everyone. We give the world a certain size to fit in our minds. We adjust its size according to our perception, interests, and ideas. Therefore, if we don’t have a purpose in life, if we find it boring or lame, if we can’t find excitement in what we do, if we shut ourselves down to new ideas and to new people, if we narrow our criteria, if we close our eyes, if we tighten our hearts, our world will be not only small, but so puny and tiny as almost impossible to live in. However, if we have big ideas, a meaningful purpose in life, a reason to live at our fullest, an open mind and heart, a wide criteria, a diversity of interests, and the audacity, enthusiasm, and passion to take action, our world, or our perception of the world, will be huge, open, and wide. A world of possibilities.
But, also, I think the size of the world depends on connections. Along with our perceptions, connections open spaces, shorten distances, reveal opportunities, making us feel linked, bringing us together, as if we were, indeed, living in a small world of many possibilities.
Dedicated to my sweet, loving, and marvelous mom on her birthday. Happy birthday, Zentellita! ¡Feliz cumpleaños, mami!