It Was Never Random
None of it. Not one minute of this past year of my life was ever random.
As some of you might recall, about a year ago I decided to put myself back on the dating scene by venturing into the world of online dating. I downloaded the Bumble app, not having a clue how it would change the course of my life.
I’m not being dramatic. It changed the course of my life.
Here’s something I recently wrote on Facebook that I want to share here to explain what I mean:
If I could have a conversation with One Year Ago Mandy:
“In 25 days, you’re going to meet him. And it’s going to change your life. Not because he’s going to be a great love of your life…but because he’s going to remind you that the possibility of great love is still out there. He’s going to open you up and make you reach for more. He’s going to remind you how to be vulnerable with another human being. He’s going to leap right over every wall you spent years crafting and perfecting.
And then he’s going to leave. And it’s going to hurt. And it’s going to bring up all the whirling, swirling hurricane of emotions that descended upon you when the one before him, the one you loved for all those years, left. The one who inspired you to erect all the walls in the first place. And all of this is going to create a perfect storm in your life that will force you to confront all the struggles and sorrows and fears and frustrations you’ve been holding at bay for so long. And over the course of the next year, you will become a different person. It will take time and tears and fighting and scraping your way out of the depths of despair, but you will get there. And on the other side, you will be stronger and braver and better for it. Because you will have become someone who REALLY loves yourself instead of just someone who knows how to craft shiny, clever sentences that make it sound like you do.
Yes, in 25 days you’re going to meet him. And it’s going to change your life.
It probably won’t change his. He’ll probably never know the impact he had on your life at all, unless he finds his way to this post. You were merely a sentence in his story while he was several chapters in yours. And that’s okay. Because some people come into our lives not to be loved but to be lost and learned from in order to help us change and grow. That was always their purpose. To try and assign them a different one would be as futile as trying to stop time.
So many people bump into our lives for a second and it changes us forever and they never know it. And while that’s funny and strange and a little sad, it’s also just life. And the truth of the matter is, it was never really about them anyway. It was always about us and what we were meant to learn from them.
So, One Year Ago Mandy…in 25 days, you’re going to meet him. And while part of me wants to tell you to turn and run in the opposite direction, a much bigger part knows I wouldn’t be Today Mandy if you did. So go. Go forth with your arms and heart as wide open as you did one year ago. And I’ll see you on the other side.”
One year ago I went charging into the dating world with absolutely no idea what I was doing…and it changed my life. Because when we have no idea what we’re doing, we’re usually operating from a completely wide open space, as I mentioned in the Facebook post above. You, of course, know what happens when we operate from a completely wide open space, right? We open ourselves up to get hurt.
And I did get hurt.
But I don’t regret that. I don’t regret any of it.
Why? Because I also grew. I changed. I evolved. I BECAME. I made friends I would have never crossed paths with otherwise. Lifelong, ride or die, REAL friends. I signed with a new publisher and I’m working on a new book, a book that’s concept was birthed right in the midst of some of my darkest days.
I finally found closure to a relationship that had dragged on for far too long. A full decade spent in limbo about whether or not this person was MY person finally came to a close. “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.” This was definitely a year of answers.
I learned to love my life. My simple, complicated, magical little life.
And perhaps most importantly: I learned to love ME. For the first time in my life, I came to the realization that I AM ENOUGH, just as I am.
So maybe online dating didn’t bring me the great love of my life, but it brought SO MUCH LOVE into my life.
And now I’m ready to do something big, and brave, and bold. I’m ready to do it all over again.
A little stronger, a little smarter…I’m ready to get back on Bumble.
The defining moment for me in making that decision happened last weekend. I was a bridesmaid in my lifelong friend Alli’s wedding (you’ve met Alli in my books). One of the other bridesmaids, Mel, brought her boyfriend, Ricky, to the festivities. They’ve been together eight months and are the cutest couple ever and he treats her like a princess and….you guessed it, they met on Bumble. They were each other’s very first Bumble dates. Neither was looking for a serious relationship but fate had different plans. (Here they are!)
It was never random. Not me getting on Bumble in the first place. Not me connecting with someone on there who would be the catalyst for so much change and growth in my life. And not me being in a wedding almost a year to the day that I first got on Bumble with someone who met her person on there.
So, here’s the first sentence in a new chapter in my story. Maybe it will be another story of growth and change. Maybe it will be a story of adventure and friendship. Or maybe it will be a story of love.
But if I don’t put the pen to paper and take a chance, I’ll never know.