There's a shtick I used to do with a friend of mine, about us finding our beshert -- our destined one.
"He's just around the corner -- you just can't see him yet," we would alternate saying, depending on which one of us was feeling more frustrated by the dating process that particular week. "But which corner?" the other friend would respond, as if we were about to put the coordinates into our GPS navigation. "I have to go there and find him!"
That's the thing-you don't know when or where you're going to meet; you simply need to have faith you will find each other.
And as it turns out, my boyfriend really was just around the corner -- literally. He and I had worked down the block from each other for years. I think about all the times we must have passed each other on our way to and from the El or going out to grab a sandwich. We ended up meeting, ultimately, through a fix-up.
Before our first date last winter, he called to chat, a rare departure from the other guys I'd been out with in recent memory who never called, only texted. We got into a random conversation about, of all things, shower curtains, and I thought to myself, "How is it possible that I'm fascinated with talking to this man about shower curtains?" and I immediately got more excited than usual about the prospect of meeting.
That same week, we met out at a bar, and the next four hours flew by so fast we forgot to eat dinner.
A week after we met, my grandfather passed away. Besides my wonderful father, my grandpa had been the other most loving man in my life. Grandpa was a mensch -- warm, attentive, easy to laugh, loved by everyone he encountered, and 6 ft. 3 in. And then, as my grandpa was about to pass away, this other mensch, also warm, attentive, easy to laugh, loved by everyone he encounters -- and yes, even 6 ft. 3 in. -- came into my life.
We went on our second date the same day my grandfather died. We had talked about postponing, but since I wasn't flying out east for the funeral until the next morning, it seemed unnecessary for me to break our date and sit at home alone. Besides, I had an inkling that my grandfather would have wanted me to go out with this lovely man. That night, over margaritas and tacos, we toasted Grandpa.
Jewish tradition tells us that our romantic matches are preordained by God before we're born. And indeed it felt like God played some role in bringing us together -- as did the thoughtful people in our extended social network who fixed us up.
I do feel that my boyfriend and I were meant to meet when we did, in our late 30s -- and not a moment sooner. Our experiences -- our struggles and triumphs in our families, our careers, and our past romantic relationships -- had been shaping us into the people we were meant to become, with all the perspective, wisdom, and empathy that comes with going through the joys and sorrows of life. Despite what the movie Jerry Maguire says, we don't complete each other. No, we were each whole before we met. But, we are two whole people grateful for finding one another.
I'm telling you about all of this, not as an excuse to talk about the man I love, but rather, I share my story with you because I know all too well the frustration that comes with searching for love, and I know most of you -- whether you're single or not -- know the frustration too.
You, too, likely know the pain that comes when a profound relationship doesn't work out. And, you, too, might be familiar with how exhausting that preliminary dating process can be: Endless searches -- in real life or, as is more often the case these days, on JSwipe, Tinder, Bumble, or whatever your app of choice may be -- to try to find someone even to correspond with. Then, if you can make it that far along in the process, perhaps you know what it's like to rush out on a first date after a long day at work, for what feels like your second job: You start out the evening with high expectations, but so often return home later that night feeling let down and dejected.
So that's why, as someone who's been through the dating trenches, I'm here to remind you to keep the faith. You will find your beshert, destined to share your life.
Yours may be closer than you realize, maybe even just around the corner.