This may be a bit of an odd task, but I’ve been trying to think of life experiences that are “untranslatable” to anyone who hasn’t had that experience. I’ll forgo the obvious two biggies – dealing with death, and dealing with cancer – and pick things that are a little more random, and a little more specific.
Remember, these are things that can’t really be explained to someone who hasn’t undergone them – in fact, usually when you start explaining it, their eyes glass over and you can actually see them not taking it in. In many cases, it’s a defense mechanism borne out of self-preservation.
Anyway, here’s a list to get started:
• kidney stones. I can’t come up with a word that means “excruciating and nauseous to the point of near death” for those lucky not to get them.
• being any person of color in the US
• depression. No, it’s not “being sad.”
• delivering a baby.
• having a kid or kids. Whether you like it or not, you go to Babyland, and unless you work at it, you and your single friends no longer speak the same language.
• miscarrying and any fertility issues
• debilitating back pain. This is another one impossible to describe – you can’t express to anybody how your entire world is painted in colors of misery for months, because, well, it’s boring.
• being the veteran of a war