This morning there are a lot of tired, “sick”, hungover and deliriously happy Cubs fans. In case you didn’t hear, after 108 years, their team is baseball champion once again. There were many fans who were born and died without ever having known a championship team, including my Grandfather. And with a sport where there are only 30 teams total…you’d think they’d have been able to win before this.
No matter. The fans are celebrating, as they should.
But this whole thing has me thinking about long waits – something that should happen, but hasn’t. That you feel is unjust. Too long to wait. We all have things like this. I don’t know what yours was (tell me in the comments – and if you’ve never felt like you’ve had to wait an unjustly long time for something, maybe don’t leave a comment), but for me, it was being in love.
My first kiss was late in high school, and it was not with someone I knew – very spur of the moment. My next kiss would wait until my college boyfriend a few years later. We didn’t date that long, and while I was very happy, I don’t think I would say I was in love. After that, my dating life was sparse – there were guys that I went out with a few times, but no one I really connected with. At the same time, many of my friends were pairing up, getting married and having babies. I felt like it was never going to happen for me. I celebrated my 30th birthday with friends, family and loved ones, and even though it was fun and made me feel loved, I still had an empty space, and a kind of love I knew must exist, but I hadn’t gotten to experience.
I was being picky and I knew it. There were probably many times I could have settled and said, “This will be good enough”, but I didn’t. Something in me didn’t let me do that, did not want me to be with someone that I felt less than ecstatic to be with. I dated another guy later that year for about 6 weeks, and when he called me to break up over the phone, all I felt was “meh”.
And then I met the Boy. Online (yep – it works!). And we clicked instantly. That feeling I’d been waiting for? The feeling of immediate chemistry? Of hopefulness that this might be it? It was there. And he felt it too. I am happier now than I was before in my happy times, and it’s this deep love we have for each other that’s to thank.
But was it worth the wait? Yes. Definitely. I know now that I would not be the person I am in our relationship if I hadn’t had to wait for it. I found out in those many years as a single lady who I really was. I got comfortable with myself. I became more confident in who I was, and was less willing to compromise that person just for the sake of being in a relationship. I think me during that time period may not have agreed that it was the best thing (she was impatient…a characteristic that I still sometimes share), but it was. I’m currently listening to a Nerdist podcast with Maria Bamford, who is in her mid-40s, and Chris Hardwick congratulates her on her recent wedding. She says many times during the conversation that she and her husband are “in it to win it” – that is, by having waited so long, they’re committed to making it work. She also talks about how she was more confident as she got older in setting standards for what a good date and a good partner would be – “unsexy” things like a good credit report. Emotional stability. A willingness to work on something new and exciting that could be everything.
That wait…it’s so hard though. But it’s character building. Yes, Maria and I probably could have been happy with other partners. If the Cubs had won the world series in 1969 or 1984 or 2003, they would still have been happy. But delayed gratification builds character. Let’s just hope that the Cubs fans and I have both grown into the kind of people that the world wants us to be.