“How do I stop trying to control everything and just let it ride?
I met an incredible guy at training this week. It was a total meet-cute situation and we parted ways. He hunted me down the next day and asked me to dinner. It was great and there was this crazy connection. Well he lives 2 hours from me and while we’ve talked nonstop since leaving the conference I can’t stop fearing that I may lose what seems to be my soulmate. And that sounds totally crazy too. I just want it to be perfect and to fall into place…and quickly.”
My Dearest Bad Biddie,
There are people who go through life living, moment by moment, with grace and acceptance, and then there are people like me. As someone who has a tendency to catastrophize the future, I can tell you the one thing that has brought me comfort in times when I’m grasping at my sanity: that I am too dumb to predict much of anything, and that, as much as my instincts have been right on many an occasion, I have also been so terribly wrong on others.
Freshman year of college, I was randomly placed with a roommate who, while pleasant enough, was not the loud, gregarious type of human I would have naturally gravitated towards. We spent the first semester cordial, but distant, and both of us, at the time, told our RA that while we got along, we weren’t going to be best friends. The latter statement, thankfully, didn’t age well. We spoke at each other’s weddings last year. As I think about the majority of my adult friendships since high school, I realize that my instincts have been mostly wrong. That the majority of my strongest female friendships have started out somewhat tepid without the instantaneous connection that we, as a society, have come to expect from everyone and everything.
I’m not a psychologist, sociologist, or any sort of professional, but my incredibly unqualified opinion is that we, as humans, like to predict the future because it gives us a sense of security – that we can somehow dull the pain of what we think are the evitable horrors the future may hold if we just “see it coming.” This is a fallacy. You met an incredible guy and, for now, he seems to think you’re incredible, too. If the relationship fails, be it in two days, two months, or two years, it will not hurt any less because you predicted failure, it will only have been a more agonizing journey to get there. And, just like you can’t predict if your relationship will fail, you also can’t predict if it succeeds. What if ends up being more than you ever thought it could? What if he ends up being the guy who can show you a whole new world – shining, shimmering, splendid on a magic carpet ride? What if he’s actually Aladdin? I digress.
There is no way to move through life without heartache, failure and struggle. I’ve burned bridges, repaired some, and had to learn most of the important lessons the hard way. This is the price we pay for going after what and who we want, but the alternative isn’t any less painful, it’s just a different kind of pain – the kind that leaves you dead inside because you’re too afraid to actually live. Seven years ago, I met a man on a dating app that I thought was going to be my husband after the first few dates. The connection was instantaneous, he pursued me, and I pursued him right back until he ghosted me on Valentine’s Day six weeks into our relationship. I spent the next four months licking my wounds and digging myself out of my depression at what I thought was the inevitable shiny future. I don’t tell you this because I predict the same will happen to you, I tell you this because, seven years later, writing to you from my desk in Connecticut with my husband coming home in a few hours and my dog getting groomed against her will outside, that I went through the worst-case scenario you are likely conjuring up in your head right now, and I not only survived, but I am living the life of my dreams because of it. We can’t get to where we need to be without walking the path, no matter how well-trodden or unpaved, to get there. Most of the best things in life that have happened to me have been born out of failure, and if where I am right now is any indication of where you might end up, it’s that perhaps, life has a lot more beauty than it does terror in store for you.
Your internet hype woman