Depth perception is “the ability to perceive the relative distance of objects in one’s visual field.” In other words, how close we are to something or someone. If anyone has ever felt alone amongst friends or loved ones, you understand that physical closeness can pale in comparison to feeling emotionally connected to others.
On the first day of high school, back in the late 1900s, I recall a riddle the math teacher presented to the class as an icebreaker. The riddle was this: How can two people stand on a single piece of loose leaf paper, be facing each other and still not be able to touch each other? The quote attributed to Cesare Pavese, “We do not remember days, we remember moments” is apropos here. I remember this moment simply because I happened to be the one in class that solved it. I felt clever, which was something I rarely felt at that age, and so it stuck with me. It was also one of the last and very select few positive memories of that year and the years to follow. The answer is to slide the piece of paper underneath a door. That way, two people can be facing each other, with both their feet touching the paper, and still not be able to touch each other. Depending on the door, they may also not be able to see each other. It serves as a wonderful visual metaphor for how we can be physically so close to someone, yet literally unable to connect. The riddle is an example of two people being equidistant. Yet, in life, the feeling of being “so close, yet so far” is anything but equal. Feeling alone in the company of friends or loves ones is a terrible feeling.
This is paradox of self-improvement. When working on yourself and pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself, you often feel isolated. When you try to rid yourself of ego and maintain the even-keeled stoic state of being, you fail often and often feel alone. In striving to develop deeper connections, you may feel like you are slipping away. In your quest for depth, you may find it in a deep dive, only to realize your lost in the deep, murky unfamiliar waters, tugging at your lifeline and feeling no response. It’s a dark place to be – in waiting for a response, waiting for others to realize where you are. Do you wait? Or, do you keep swimming to save yourself?
As we wait, time doesn’t. Not all truths are warm and fuzzy, but that doesn’t make them any less necessary to know.