Dispatches from a go-gettin journalist. Because not all Army wives live behind the lines...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Sudden Moves

Two days ago my friend made a surprise visit to the Apple to fall apart.*
The man she wanted to marry… married someone else.  No, she wasn’t seeing him. But she had no idea that he was seeing someone else. Or that he was ever engaged. It came as a surprise to everyone when the couple announced they just returned from their honeymoon.
So she boarded a bus to the big apple, navigated right to my couch, and fell apart.
She thought he must have been the nicest guy ever, the best, the cutest, the most, the perfect, the the the…  that she ever met. But the truth is, she didn’t know him.
Now, at age 24, she thinks she’s doomed to be a spinster. I know you’re probably thinking that it’s just the sorrow talking. And trust me, we have all been there and had that. I remembered my “What If” man – but unlike her at this moment, I have the amazing gift of hindsight and came out with a better deal. She will too. But I didn’t tell her that because she’ll never believe me. Instead, we mourned our “What If” men together.  
But I’ve been hearing this more often lately from many of my friends.  A lot of girls catering their life for a man that does not exist -- out of sheer fear that they’ll never meet the right man. They are afraid to try new experiences or take big leaps on their own, and instead focus all of their energy on looking for a husband.  
She’ll be graduating from the best school in the nation soon. She has this dream to get out of town and get her feet wet in the apple for a while. But she’s scared to do it. Because what if the non-existent husband-to-be is in her hometown?
But who’s to say that she won’t find this guy when she does decide to take that leap for herself? I said.
She said she feels like she’s got to make all the conditions in her life right – no sudden moves or life changes – so she’ll be ready to welcome that nonexistent husband-to-be, whenever he decides to show. This friend on my couch is one of many.  It is so consuming that sometimes this is all many of us talk about when we get together -- that our every happiness depends on finding this yet-to-exist husband.
Although I’ve heard her story from so many of my girlfriends, I keep thinking that I never remember ever feeling this way. In fact, I was scared to get married. I turned down so many opportunities to get to know anyone because I was afraid that getting married would mean giving up compromising on a career I hadn’t taken a real shot at yet. I wanted to know that I could be independent and successful and self-sufficient.
I didn’t want to be an accessory in someone else’s picture.
In fact, it took me a while to warm up to Superman.  And I learned that contrary to the “no sudden moves or life changes” belief, there will be a man that will embrace your independence, success, and self-sufficiency -- whether you want to chase a job in the Peach, start a business in the Bean, or chase a dream in the Apple.
There is no right time or place. It’s all about timing. But we can’t create the right time and place in our life, nor do we know what we need to do to make the conditions right. I don’t think we have control over when the yet-to-exist husband will show.  
So the only thing I could do was encourage my friend to make sudden moves, if that’s what she wants! Change her life, if she wants! Become a Manhattan-ite (because let’s get serious, who doesn’t want that!)! Give herself a shot! Something good will come along… I just know it.
*Such friend consented to this post.

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