Tuesday. 25.06.2019
El tiempo
Cesar Calvar

All my other lives

Photo by J Mankin in Pixabay.
Photo by J Mankin in Pixabay.
All my other lives

Did I ever tell you that when I was born they changed me for another baby in the hospital?

Do not laugh because it's true. It all happened on a winter night in a small town in the north of Spain, in the private clinic that my mother chose to give me birth.

Two babies came into the world around eleven o'clock at night, and after they separated us from our mothers to be cleansed, a maternity caregiver made a mistake. The result was that later each mom received the wrong baby.

I could have been the protagonist of one of those tears dramas based on real stories about children changed at birth, that commercial TV channels broadcast on Sundays at the time of siesta. But for my luck or misfortune -I will never know that- my case was soon detected: the other baby that was born almost at the same instant that I was a girl. So, you can imagine that it was not difficult to undo the mistake and the whole thing ended in laughter.

I tell you all this because sometimes I fantasise about the idea of ​​not being me. And when I do, I always wonder what would had been my life if that error had not been repaired. If the other baby had been also a boy and nobody noticed the change, what kind of life would I have had?

When I place myself in the best of scenarios, I like to think that I would had been raised by a family of artists, for example musicians. I have always been interested in music because it is a universal language. My family would had instilled in me the love for music and today perhaps I would be a virtuoso of the piano or the guitar, capable of thrilling people from different countries, cultures and languages. People who would fill theatres or stadiums to listen to me.

I could be the protagonist of one of those tears dramas based on real stories about children changed at birth, that commercial TV channels broadcast on Sundays at the time of siesta

I also like to imagine that I could had been raised by the family of an athlete. For instance by a football player in the First Division, who would teach me the secrets to succeed in the king of sports.

Football is another universal language, capable of uniting people. If you do not believe it, imagine this situation: a courtyard of a prison where some thirty men of different origins share the misfortune of being locked up. Try to put them to work, propose to them to debate any topic or just give them newspapers to read and half an hour later everyone will be pissed off. But throw them a soccer ball and soon there will be a game in which everybody will participate, either as players or as audience. And it will be an event marked by compliance with the rules and respect, both towards the partner and the opponent.

Yes, football would had been my dreamed job. And with the right training I would had earned millions.

In my best dreams I also think I could had been raised by a family of politicians, diplomats, doctors, lawyers or military officers. That would had given me infinite opportunities and privileges that I never enjoyed.

But sometimes I also imagine that things could had gone wrong. I would be still the same person, but the hospital's mistake could had forced me to grow up in a poor family and I might not had been able to study. Or in a broken family, unable to provide me with a decent childhood and to guide me in my youth. Or maybe I would had suffered extreme poverty that forced me to emigrate from my country. Or I could had lost my parents as a child, or had suffered abuse or a serious accident. Or I could had fallen into the hell of drugs. I will never know what would had happened if everything had been different.

With this I am trying to tell you that we do not own our lives. Since we are born we are subjected to invisible forces that influence our existence and limit our possibilities. Forces based on factors that we do not choose: the country where we are born, the family and the environment where we grow and the conditions of security and stability in which we become adults.

As a child nobody dreams of being unemployed, poor, sick, lame, weak, crippled, ignorant or incapable. So please, if you know someone who is in any of those situations, do not blame him or her. Those things are rarely chosen, they come imposed by life and it is very hard to escape from them.