“Your time will come, you’ll meet the right one when you least expect it.” Preach on, parents everywhere, preach on. Everyone has heard this adage at least a handful of times in his/her life. But do we ever truly believe it? No. But we choose to hold on to it with a firm grasp because, for those seeking lifelong companions, who have yet to find one, it is the only glimmer of hope. Believe it or not, it is true, just not in the way that people tend to interpret it. Love doesn’t come along because you’ve given up on finding it and are just wandering through life aimlessly and hopelessly until suddenly someone comes by and sweeps you off your feet. It is true because the point in your life when you are actually capable of recognizing “true love,” is when you have gotten to the point of being truly happy as a single man/woman.
I spent the majority of my 20’s as a single woman. In the beginning, it seemed like a struggle. You know when you see something at the store every time you’re there, but the one time you go specifically for that item, you can’t find it anywhere? It was sort of like that, but in reverse. I never saw other couples holding hands and kissing and frolicking around like carefree school children when I was in a relationship. But the last 3 or so years, I couldn’t see anything but! I had chosen to focus on the fact that I was quickly approaching my mid 20’s and still single.
This made me bitter and envious, but worst of all it made me completely discount anything in my own life that did bring me happiness. I was actually allowing other people’s happiness in a relationship to make me feel that if I was not in one, I must not know true happiness.
At some point, and I couldn’t tell you exactly what the turning point was, I had a revelation. I was determined to be happy with or without a significant other in my life. I spent the next 4 years concentrating on and developing every other aspect of my life. I had a job that I loved (which is something few people can truthfully say), some incredible and fun friends, hobbies that I genuinely enjoyed spending endless amounts of time doing, and a family that would do anything for one another. These were the things I chose to put all my time and all my energy into. These were the things I thought about at night before I went to bed. These were the things I woke up thinking about in the morning. And let me tell you, life was good, perhaps even wonderful.
I absolutely loved being single. I saw my life as mine and only mine. Any decision I made was all mine to make. I could go anywhere and do anything without any counterpart I had to think about when doing so. I had no interest in a relationship, not because I had anything against them, but solely because I was no longer focusing on the thought, “Life is good…but if I had a boyfriend, it would be perfect.” No. It was already perfect.
A few months before my 27th birthday, I reconnected with a childhood acquaintance via Facebook. I really didn’t think much of it, especially since I tend to be quite the chatty Cathy among people. We messaged each other and texted for a few months and soon began talking on the phone. We talked every single day. What started, to me, as just another friend to talk to here and there quickly became someone who I could not wait to hear from each and every day. I loved everything we talked about, he made me genuinely laugh (something I cannot say about many people), and despite having absolutely nothing in common on the surface, we really connected. Happy, single me. We decided to meet up in person and see what it was like to spend time together. I am not sure, at that point, either of us were remotely convinced that it was “meant to be,” but we felt we had to at least give it a whirl.
We spent a few days together, and with no exaggeration, they were magical (it really pains me to be so cheesy, so I apologize for that). I had never in my life been more comfortable with a man, I felt as though I had been friends with him forever. At this moment, I just knew this was the person for me. Going into it, I had no intention of finding true love. In fact, I wasn’t even certain I wanted it. But it happened…when I “least expected it.” I am very happy in my relationship, but I am not “happier than I have ever been,” I am equally as happy now as I was when I was single. Now, I am just sharing this happiness with someone else.
So, now I know, this is what people mean when they tell you, “you’ll find love when you least expect it.” It’s not really a matter of whether you are expecting it or looking for it. You can be looking for it, and it may still come along. But, you will only be able to feel it and recognize it as “true love” if you have finally made the decision to not depend on finding it in order to be happy. It’s when you see love as a luxury and not a necessity. And it’s when you finally learn to be truly happy as an individual rather than feeling as though you need someone else to validate your own happiness. Love doesn’t find happiness, happiness finds love.