Irecently reconnected with a close friend, now married with her first child. She’d flown back to the island from the U.K. to visit relatives. We met at the Rodney Bay marina for lunch. After a few mid-afternoon cocktails, we dizzily danced down memory lane, recalled how inseparable we’d once been, the fun we’d had, the times we vowed never to settle down. Instead, together we’d buy a great big house and live our lives according to a particularly heated episode of Bad Girls Club.
As my friend sat across from me, her feet clad in mom-inspired wedges, most of her face covered under a wide-brimmed hat and huge sunglasses; even as she checked every 30 minutes or so on her two-year-old son, I was struck by how different our lives had turned out. Before long my marital status came up. I told her I was free, single, and not looking. She nodded slowly, as if I’d just told her I had an incurable disease, then reminded me of a conversation fuelled by wine we’d had several years earlier in which she’d asked me if I was prepared to meet the man with whom I’d spend the rest of my life, should he show up. I’d said I was, and then she’d asked whether I would date myself if I were to meet myself at my current stage in life—her earlier first question with a twist. I’d resisted the temptation to holler “hell yeah” while strutting my stuff around her living room. Instead, I’d thought a few minutes about her question. Just as I’d been about to respond, she’d volunteered that she, herself, was not.
Back then she’d pulled out a magazine and gone straight to a page that featured ten ways to tell if you were ready to settle down. She’d ticked off just two. She’d only recently left school and was still figuring what she wanted out of life. I’d disagreed. I’d felt then that the person with whom I was destined to spend the rest of my life would know life is a continuous process of growth, that there were no set rules or guarantees about what needed to happen and when.
Nevertheless, her question had set me thinking then, as it did now. Back at my own place, I fantasized about my future husband, what he might be doing just then. I hoped he wouldn’t be poring over a top ten list of must-haves for a loving and lasting relationship. As I thought about the perfect man or woman (and wondered whether we’d already crossed paths without realizing it), I hoped he or she would be worldly enough to know perfection for John or Jane may not be perfection for Harry and Sally; that one person’s idea of perfection could spell disaster for another.
My perspective remains as it was the first time my friend posed her big question. I continue to believe my hopes, my dreams, my aspirations. And the fact that I am actively seeking to achieve them is all the proof needed that whoever catches my lasting attention will have struck gold. I decided finally that whether or not we bump into each other, my determination to be the best I can be, regardless of circumstances, will not be thwarted!