Saturday, March 19, 2005

Luck

I'm like a relationship research project that never rests: a part of my brain never stops working the angles, exploring viewpoints, testing hypotheses, dwelling on failures and gathering data (written and fieldwork). Okay, so here's my theory at this point, influenced hugely by several articles on marriage that I read in last month's Oprah magazine.

Anyone can have a "good" marriage if they work on it because a "good" marriage is attained with good communication, strong commitment, willingness to work on the marriage, etc. A "happy" marriage, however, requires the same things plus a partner who is truly right for you. Some call this a "soul mate" and some call this phenomenon "true love." There's actually a dearth of "true love" in the world because "true love" is really very rare. The reason it's rare is that you can only find it by luck and, unfortunately, most people aren't lucky (or maybe they are lucky, but they blow it).

So it turns out the real relationship I've been working so hard to find can only be reached through pure luck. The past eight years I've spent putting an increasing amount of time, effort and money into finding a mate has been for nothing. Finding a partner happens only through luck and you can't make luck happen.

I imagine meeting someone who makes me happy just by being in the same room with me. I have to admit that I met such a person six years ago and (after an 18-month friendship) we had a relationship that lasted all of nine months. He was my favorite person in the world and one of my favorite people I had ever known. He still is, even though we're no longer in contact. We broke up three months before my 35th birthday. That was a rough birthday.

I had forgotten what it feels like to have my spirit lifted and my mood improved just by someone's proximity. I'd forgotten what it feels like to smile so much I have to tell myself to stop or I'll look like a crazy person (however honest an impression that might make). I'd forgotten what it feels like to linger over the process of getting to know someone like that, savoring the slow interlacing of our lives, even if only for a short time. I'm grateful for the chance I had this week to remember those things and, for a moment, I thought my luck was changing. But as luck would have it, this will probably be no more than another exercise in staying in the moment and trying not to blame a universe that isn't listening anyway. And it hammers home my new lesson that finding a partner happens only through luck and you can't make luck happen.

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