The other day, a huge fly flew into my office through an open window. She flew around for a few minutes, looking for a place to lay her eggs. Not finding one, she decided to leave, this time by the brightest window on the sunny wall.
The trouble is, that window was closed! She flew right into it anyway, crashing and falling to the floor. But she got up and tried again, and again, and again ...until she was exhausted. And there I found her body the next morning.
She had been a beautiful fly, black with green highlights, and big enough to fly to the fifth floor in such cold weather: the Queen of the Flies! Surely, she deserved a better fate than to die alone and exhausted after bashing her head against a glass window for hours. Ironically, she was only a couple of meters from an open window, but she never found it.
I regretted not having intervened. The window she was trying to fly through doesn't open, but maybe if I had approached from the left, she would have fled me to the right and found the open window. Sometimes, it's better to repel than to attract.
Simple people might say that the problem was that the window wasn't open. At a superficial level, of course that's true: life would be better for all of us if the obstacles to our happiness were simply to disappear. But that hope is the mark of a child - adults hope to surmount obstacles, or learn to avoid them.
The real problem is that the world has changed. Flies were already around when the dinosaurs were invented, and for most of that time, flying towards the brightest spot was a good way to get out of a closed space. But now the world includes glass and artificial interior lighting, and that simple approach doesn't work any more. The world has changed, and it's not going to un-change, so the flies have to learn a new trick, or die alone and frustrated because they didn't recognize the right path.
Sad story, huh? Makes you glad you're not a fly, right? After all, we humans don't behave like that ...
... or do we?
I know several charming young ladies whose love lives resemble my story of the Queen of the Flies. They try the same thing over and over, even though it doesn't seem to be working. Maybe it used to work: they are often fans of traditional relationships. Their friends support this persistence with encouragement to try again and again. Heaven forbid they give up and start thinking about what to do differently!
The fact is that the modern world is much more complicated than it used to be, and often, the right path is not the most direct. Often, you have to leave a room or a building by a door that doesn't lead in the direction you want to go, and then walk around a little.
But these ladies don't do that. The more desperate they get, the less open they are to going in any direction but directly towards the goal. For example, if they want to get married and have children, then they only go out with men who are obvious candidates to be a socally acceptable husband and the father of those children. They rule out the deeper criteria and even a deeper look, and so they end up in silly relationships with men who have told them what they want to hear.
A few years ago, I went out with a very attractive and very nice woman who found herself somewhat puzzled to be almost 50 without ever having lived with a lover: never married, no kids. Soon after our short adventure, she found the man she was waiting for, and has been happily cohabitating ever since.
She may think of that as a coincidence, but it's not. Going out with me changed her thinking, even if it was to help her decide what she didn't want. The point I'm trying to make is not that going out with me will lead you to Prince Charming (although I've been the "last boyfriend" more than once), but that going through an experience that changes your thinking may help you recognize opportunities around you, as much for humans as for flies.
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