There have been many times in my life when I didn't get what I wanted. At those times I was angry or sad or just plain confused by the turn of events. Then weeks or months or years after, I would look back and think, "Wow! Thank goodness I didn't get that then because if I had, I wouldn't be able to experience and truly appreciate THIS right now." It's not like I look forward to disappointments and sadness, but at least now I can sometimes know that when I'm in the midst of these disappointments, even if I can't see what that is, there is something (or someone) that will make me better and happier and a more complete version of who I am meant to be.
There have also been times when people have entered my life at just the right time and showed me or taught me exactly what I needed at that moment. I talked about those romantic interests that have shaped who I am a few days ago, but I want to mention and thank another person who has become such a great influence and source of calm and confidence for me the last few years.
It was, as sometimes great things are, just happenstance that I even came to meet her. I was wandering the internet one day here on Blogger. If you are on a blog hosted by Blogger, in the header at the top of the page there is a link that you can click that says, "Next Blog" (don't do it now!) and it will take you to a random blog on Blogger. In the early days of my blogging I did that quite a few times just looking for inspiration and ideas from other blogs. It was while doing that a couple of years ago that I stumbled up a woman and writer who touched me deeply. She wrote of her pets and her life as a nurse and being a single woman long before anyone had thought of blogging about such things. Her stories of Harlan, a dog who she says found her when she was at a point in her life when she was trying to overcome her fear of dogs, touched me as an animal lover. (Fair warning - if you decide to read the Harlan Chronicles, bring a LOT of tissues! You're going to need them.)
From there, I was hooked. I think I read nearly everything she had ever written on her blog up to that point. She was funny and insightful and a pleasure to read about. I started following her blog and she started following mine. Over the next couple of years, it seemed every time we would write something, the other person would respond with, "Oh my gosh! I am the same way! I totally get where you're coming from." We discovered we have the same birthday! When I shared with my readers the cupcakes I had made for my birthday treats, she was reminded of birthday cupcakes she herself had made a few years earlier! Our upbringings and thoughts and experiences and even the content of our blogs was sometimes so similar it was eerie. It was like we were living the same life in many ways only she was 15 years ahead of me. It was like I had found a long-lost soul sister.
Every time I post an entry, I think, "I wonder what Joan will have to say about this." I make sure to check her blog for new content as often as I can and look forward to her Advice on Love or her travel adventures.
She has, in many ways, been such a source of hope and inspiration as I have struggled romantically the last few months. I often receive advice and "words of comfort" from friends and family assuring me that they get what I'm going through or that they know where I'm coming from and they are sure they "everything will work out" in the end for me. But it's her advice and words of encouragement that I often find the most comforting. As a woman who didn't find true love until she was 38 (the age I am now) and didn't get married until she was 40, I know she gets it. She gets what it's like to want love in your life and yet to not want to be pitied. She gets how ridiculous it is when someone says they hope you can find someone to "take care of you" when you've been doing a very good job of doing that yourself for a long time, thank you very much!
Recently I posted the clip from "When Harry Met Sally" where Sally finds out Joe is getting married and she comes to the realization that it wasn't that he didn't want to get married but that he didn't want to marry her. I've been going through some stuff lately (perhaps I'll share more here later) and that clip kept running through my head like it was on a loop. Joan's response was that, once again, we were so similar. She used to run replay that scene over and over again on her VCR before she met her husband. Then she said that she wanted an invitation to my wedding that she is sure is going to happen in the next couple of years. Whether that is true or not, I don't know but I'm sure she has no idea how much that hopeful sentiment meant to me at that moment.
Finally, because I have such respect for her and her opinions, I was moved by her response to my recent Valentine's Day blog entry.
Joan, Whether we ever meet IRL (in real life) or not, I just wanted to thank you for the support and encouragement you have given me the last couple of years. It's just what I need just when I need it.