Timing is everything. Or so they say. And in my life, timing has rarely been something that has worked in my favour. There are many examples of timing basically biting me in the ass, and very few of it working for me. As examples, we can go from learning about and liking a product just before it gets discontinued, up to buying property high and selling low (of necessity, not choice). And there are many examples in between. I started working at my previous company just as its share price was peaking, and that’s the price at which my options started. When we parted ways, that price was a third less, and all my options were under water. All 60,000 options. The company’s shares currently are worth 1/6 of their peak price, if that. In any normal company, the president would have been turfed long ago, instead of continuing to get bonuses that dwarf the salary I earned there. My life has been interesting in similar ways on the personal side, with otherwise-benign decisions made at times where they would have greater negative effects. The pattern has been fairly consistent over the past two decades or so, and I’ve written about some of it previously.
I was looking back over these occurrences recently, kind of indulging in a bit of “woe is me” self-pity at how hard my life has been (it hasn’t, really, in comparison with most, but I have felt a strong emotional and financial toll from the events in my life), but mostly because something happened in my personal life that caused me to evaluate the cost and effect of the sum of my bad decisions, good decisions, and random timing of the events in my life that have guided me down the path I am on. What happened was I met someone special who has challenged me personally and emotionally in ways I thought were largely dead to me after so much pain and failure. And she has enriched my life greatly in ways I didn’t expect (and I don’t think she suspects, though I have hinted at them to her). And the funny thing about it is that my “timing problem” is in full effect, because she isn’t emotionally ready for the type of relationship I would like to have with her. Which has created an interesting–“It’s complicated.”–environment, though we have become pretty good friends (and yes, she is aware of my ongoing interest in her).
But the beneficial part of the timing revealed itself to me not long after the day I realised how far and how hard I had actually fallen for her (roughly two months into this story). The day I realised how far I had fallen was the day I realised that I had no more hate left to waste on my ex. I realised that all of my decisions and all the things that had happened to me–good and bad–had led me down the path that led directly to her. And so, I could no longer hate what had brought this beautiful, sweet, wondrous person into my life, because the wonder of her just suffuses me. And then I was surprised to find I still had that hate stored in reserve, because I thought I had rid myself of all of it: I only noticed it by its absence in the wake of my realisation (which suggests another topic about self-delusion). I hope at some point that a similar realisation will occur to her, easing her struggles to deal with her past.
And following this realisation, and coupled with getting to know “Lenka” (not her real name), I realised that my past path had served another purpose: it had prepared me for Lenka. My experiences, how I was treated, how I learned to adapt and persevere, how I reacted to and was changed by events and people: all were early training so that I might be the right person for her in a life that was (and is, to an extent) fraught with negativity and bad things (some really bad) and poor treatment (I suspect emotional abuse) and repeated bad luck and her own bad timing–among other things. I always knew that one of the things I learned at a fundamental level in my last relationship was patience. A scary amount and depth of patience. Lenka needs patience like you need to breathe. I don’t say that as a negative thing, either: it’s just part of her. She needs other things I have learned, also: acceptance, support, respect, appreciation, proper treatment, an absence of fear, the moral strength to accept another’s child in your life (I’m not entirely sure where that came from, but it’s there), the ability to listen without judging, selflessness, being encouraging, offering help, being friendly, not being demanding, loving her for who she is (I haven’t told her that part yet, unless she’s managed to interpret that properly from the poetry I’ve been writing and giving her). All of these “skills” arise from the experiences I have had over the past twenty-plus years and have taken until now to be amalgamated into my personality. And I’m still learning more and more of what she needs.
Had I tried asking her out two years ago–or even a year ago–I don’t think I would have been ready (nor would she have been, I don’t think), even though nearly all my experiences predate that. I needed the extra time post-breakup to internalise and analyse all that had happened, and all that I had (and was) feeling. So, at this point in time, it was the right time to proceed. The sequence of events were almost humorously ordered: following a one-off, random comment to a close friend, it was one thing after another in fairly-rapid succession with me just reacting almost without thinking (punctuated by her three-week vacation) that led to me asking her out, and so this story began. (Given my usual level of anxieties in such things, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t think too much about it while it was happening.) Except for the initial anxiety of asking (as would happen with me regardless), I haven’t really had at any point in this process any doubt about what I was doing–an extreme rarity for me–though the process has been bumpy. I have done things and said things that I would have been deathly afraid of saying to anyone else, yet with Lenka, they seem natural and proper, and they seem to flow easily from me. I am comfortable around her in a way I haven’t been around potential romantic interests previously, and yet I remain excited about her and my attraction to her is very strong. And at the same time, there are other timing issues that keep popping up that have me wondering if the universe is toying with me (give a little, take a little, always leaving me off-balance), and the timing of close friends entering and leaving my life has also added complexity–and good (or at least necessary) things–to the landscape. (It’s an odd coincidence that my closest friend has basically disappeared from my life over this exact same time interval; looking back, it may have been a good thing, because I think that many of the things I have done/said would have been left undone/unsaid, had I had her available to provide input into this situation…which is a bizarre thought to have occurred to me.)
And so the timing feels right, she feels right, the path feels right. Though the path has not progressed as I had hoped (and much more slowly, as well), I’m comfortable with it and have the patience and perseverance to continue along it. Looking back on it at this point, I almost think that timing is working in my favour, because I don’t regret anything that has happened–it all seems right and necessary. I think that if we had started “properly” dating when I had asked her out, it would not have lasted very long; whereas now, I think we’ll have a better foundation for success–she’s in a better frame of mind about it, as am I. As well, the effort I’ve put into this has made Lenka seem more desirable and more precious to me, making me more willing to support that effort and do what is needful for success. And the interactions we’ve had have had a positive effect on her, also, both in making her feel better about herself (I think/hope), more positive about some things and about men in general, since I’m apparently quite different from her previous experiences. And the feedback I get from our interactions contributes to my sense that Lenka is the woman that I need in my life, the type of person that will keep my darkness at bay, because I’m focusing my efforts on her, on being the best I can be, so that she can flourish; that will honour and respect me in the way I do her; that will make me feel valued for who I am, not what I can do for her or give her; that will accept the love and affection I have and return it; that will be a stabilising, yet uplifting, presence in my life; that will always challenge me, yet never undercut me. In short, I think we are what the other needs in his/her life. But because of my timing, I just need to be patient until she realises it. Always the timing.