I remember the first time I met Kim. We were at a meeting for our college newspaper. I was a freshman and she was a sophomore and the news editor. She wore nice slacks and a button down shirt. I was in jeans. I was intimidated because of her clothing. I thought, “Wow. That girl takes the college newspaper really seriously. I better not mess up in front of her.”
Later, I learned that Kim wasn’t dressed up because she was some militant journalism nut but because she often had to come to meetings straight from work. She wasn’t scary or high-strung. But that initial feeling stuck: I wanted to impress her. Luckily, Kim needed no impressing.
In no time at all, she became my best friend. Like a lot of us in that college newspaper crew, we had an immediate shorthand. We talked in riddles and references. It was like Kim and I were meant to be friends: like I’d been going through life having inside jokes with myself until she came along and got them.
So: all this talk about soulmates on this site lately makes me want to throw my two cents into the ring.
What if your soulmate isn’t a romantic partner?
For instance, I sometimes think Kim is my soulmate. Not in any sort of romantic, or big emotional, mushy, “The One” way. But Kim has all the qualities of a soulmate: I knew she was special when I met her. We lived together for many years in college. We shared clothes, slept in her bed, watched TV, cooked, drank, and were basically inseparable. We almost never fight. No matter how long we go without talking or seeing each other (she lives in another city and we both have somewhat demanding lives), we are always immediately on the same wavelength. We just “get” each other. Out of everyone I’ve met so far and everyone I’m likely going to meet, I can’t really see any of them holding a candle to Kim.
So let’s redefine the word “soulmate.” Maybe your soulmate isn’t a romantic partner. It isn’t a fairytale person. It isn’t some Fabio-looking dude who sweeps in and carries you off on a horse. It isn’t some quirky girl who gets you to dance in the rain to Mumford and Sons. Maybe it’s not even your best friend, in the traditional “I see this person all the time” sense. Kim and I could not see each other for 50 years and I’m pretty sure we’d pick up right where we left off.
In terms of true love, people in long-term relationships or marriages always say they “just knew” when they saw the other person that they were meant to be in their life forever. If that person ends up being someone you have romantic feelings towards, cool. But maybe that’s not entirely the point of a soulmate. A soulmate is someone who understands you before you ever even explain yourself, someone who was meant to be around you all along and who when you find each other, there’s no transition — it’s like inserting a missing puzzle piece. “Soul” and “Mate” — someone who literally shares your soul — means you feel accepted and in sync with someone else. It’s meant to last forever, maybe longer and more meaningfully than any of your boyfriends or girlfriends ever have.
Maybe we’re looking at the idea of a soulmate wrong and so we’re looking in all the wrong places and at all the wrong people.
Because if you’re fretting over finding your soulmate, stop it right now. I bet they’re already pretty close by.