I rarely listen to the advice of people who are older and wiser than me. Generally, I just assume that they are too old to understand what I’m going through so whatevs. However, my older and definitely wiser cousin John The Dentist said something to me before I moved to DC and I still think about it to this day.
John The Dentist and I, despite a ten year age difference, have quite a bit in common. We were both presidents of our alma maters’ AMSA chapters. We were both pre-med before deciding that medicine wasn’t in the cards for us. We’re both well-read and politically aware (and lean heavily to the left). But shortly before moving, instead of talking to me about grad school and living on the East Coast, John The Dentist wanted to talk to me about love.
Never before had John The Dentist brought up the subject of relationships. But on the last day I spent with him before moving away, John asked, “So I thought you had a boyfriend here. What’s going to happen to that?” Nonchalantly, I responded, “Oh Loser Jeff? We parted ways already. I was with him knowing that I would leave him when I moved. No biggie.” John said, “So you’re going to be single.” “Yup,” I said, “I don’t need a man to make me happy and Jeff proved that.” John asked, “What will happen if you meet someone?” Every bit the cynic (and still recovering from multiple broken hearts), I replied, “Ha! That’s not gonna happen. I’m so not even thinking about getting into a relationship. I just wanna go out there and enjoy myself.”
Suddenly John The Dentist got very serious (something you should know about John is that he is either serious or very serious and that’s pretty much all you get). “I want you to know that love can take you by surprise. It always happens when you least expect it to and sometimes when it’s inconvenient for you. You have educational goals. I get that. You want to be social and carefree. I get that. But I don’t want you to forget that love could be around the corner. I want you to be open to that possibility. And trust me, once you’ve found it, it would be best for you to never let it go.”
I was taken aback by these words. Sure it was kinda weird to be talking about love with your cousin, especially when you’ve never really talked about it before. But he spoke with the wisdom of someone who had loved and lost at some point in his life and still regrets it. Needless to say, I was intrigued so I listened.
Lastly, John said, “And who knows? The love of your life could be in DC.”
Seeing as that John The Dentist is older and wiser, I didn’t really give his advice much thought at the time. I assumed that I wouldn’t be hit by the love bug for a very long time (if at all). But I can assure you that his words were one of the first things I thought of after meeting Jesse (you know, after I thought, “Damn, when did computer geeks get so sexy?”).
A not-very-highly-regarded-or-wise ex once told me, “Once you decide to let go and really let yourself love someone, he is going to be the luckiest guy in the world.” Hmmm…that’s funny. I feel that I’m the lucky one.
Never in a million years did I expect to feel this way about anyone. Never did I expect to find someone who makes me as happy as I am every day. Every time I see him, my heart leaps and the butterflies go crazy in my stomach (even after all this time). Each night I long for him to come home so I can hold him in my arms once again, because only then do I feel complete. I’ve surprised myself by feeling this way. Never did I expect to feel emotions so deep, so revealing, so powerful yet so vulnerable.
He is my lover. He is my best friend. He is my biggest supporter. He is my soulmate. He is everything I never knew I wanted and everything I can’t live without. He is the one.
I don’t need a silly holiday to remind me of our love. Every day, I know it and I feel it.
Thanks for the warning, John. Love really does take you by surprise.