My husband first told me he loved me when we were on our first vacation together. He had a business trip to California scheduled, I had miles at my disposal, and we were in the first few months of dating. I used my miles to take a mini-vacation with my new boyfriend. He used to design space for a national retailer and traveled weekly to malls throughout the country to be sure construction was going as planned. Our trip included stops in malls from San Diego to L.A.
Shortly after we arrived, my husband’s ex-wife found out he was out-of-town with me. She was less than pleased. She had moved on long ago but wasn’t prepared for him to do the same. She texted and called over and over which turned what was supposed to be our first vacation together into a battle over with which woman he would spend more time. With his ex-wife over the phone or me, his new girlfriend, who was in California with him. It changed the feel of the trip.
We hadn’t said I love you yet but it had been on my mind. The words had been waiting at the tip of my tongue for a couple of weeks. On our second or third day in California, I planned to drive him to the mall at which he’d be working that day, and then head back to the hotel to get ready and check-out. I don’t remember the specifics but we were both incredibly crabby and had been arguing. I was irritated and pissed but we hadn’t been dating long enough for me to feel comfortable reading him the riot act just yet. As he got out of the rental car and grabbed his stuff, he said “I love you,” shut the car door, and hustled inside.
Wait…what? I sat there for a second, dumbstruck, and not exactly sure what to do with myself.
I had played this moment out in my head thousands of times. I had been waiting for him to tell me he loved me but I expected it to happen…say…over a romantic meal. Or while walking somewhere and holding hands. Or as we drifted to sleep. Or while driving next to the ocean and enjoying the sunshine and warmth. Not once did I fantasize that he’d tell me he loved me for the first time while we were in the midst of an argument, were both crabby, and right before shutting the car door and leaving me by myself.
You know when you proclaim things aloud (or online) like “something big is coming,” or “I’ve learned of an exciting opportunity,” and then something materializes, but it’s completely different from what you’d expected? And then you scratch your head and wonder if THIS is what you were expecting? You start to question the things that have materialized themselves. The things that have fallen directly into your lap. And then you say something silly like “if I could just get a sign of some sort?”
And then, you know when you ask for a sign, and not two hours later an undeniable sign comes hurling your way? And you think to yourself ‘well yes, but is this THE sign or is this just an unusual coincidence? And is this REALLY the opportunity I was hoping for?’
And you know when you ask these questions and you don’t get an answer? Because…duh…
Just because my husband told me he loved me for the first time in a way I hadn’t expected didn’t make it any less real. He actually said the three words I’d been waiting for. The three words I’d been thinking about constantly at that point in our relationship. And while the way he said it took me aback I never wondered if I’d heard him incorrectly or doubted that it’s actually what he said.
So why, right now, am I so doubtful that the opportunity and subsequent sign are what I’ve been expecting? Why am I having such a hard time believing that this is real? In my experience, the universe doesn’t really f-ck with people, it tends to give exactly what people ask for in their thoughts and actions. Which would lead me to believe that this is the real deal. Why is that so hard for me to accept?
Umm…well…because I’m scared. If what I’m saying I want materializes, and I grab it and run, I will have to work hard to succeed. And not just work hard…I will have to work REALLY hard…and have I mentioned I have a paralyzing fear of failure? That fear often tricks me into thinking ‘oh no, this most certainly is NOT what I’ve been waiting for, so I’ll just go ahead and keep waiting.’ And then I spend years, decades, and a life time waiting for something that doesn’t exist and allowing viable and phenomenal opportunities to pass me by.
I think I need to actually jump on this one and work my a-s off and make something amazing happen. Yikes. Scary, scary, scary. Eeeekkk!!!
TODAY: What if instead of allowing my fear of failure to make my decisions for me I leap at opportunities that present themselves? What if I stop ignoring the signs I’ve been asking for and take them at face value? What if this isn’t any different from when things happen differently than I expect but I accept them as true and real anyway?