Life can be a waiting game. When we are young we wait to grow up to attain a taste of freedom. We long for the freedom to do whatever we want without curfews, to eat dessert before our meal and to see the world as we wish. When we’re all grown up we wait for “the one” to come along and when all of that is done we wait for retirement. It makes you wonder just how much of our lives we’re really living. Especially when it comes to love, people always say you just know when you find the one. True love is supposed to come to you without any effort.
A night in with one of my single guy friends revealed his insights on being single. James has been a friend of mine for years and I’ve witnessed the many relationships he has been in. He is always a gentleman and is finally beginning to establish himself in his career. However, he voluntarily acknowledges he’s an underachiever in the quest for love. A self-acclaimed free spirit when it comes to relationships; James states that he chooses to be single. He believes that the right girl will come along and change it all for him and will evoke a feeling that draws him from wanting to be single to a relationship. So is it really as simple as waiting? When the timing is right will the universe bring us someone we are meant to be with?
There is something to the timing theory. When we are ready to undertake new challenges our minds become more flexible and develop skills needed for effective emotional communication. I am reminded of an example in the hit TV series Sex and the City when the women who were best friends put this idea forth: “Men are like cabs. When they are ready their light comes on and the first girl they pick up, that’s the one.”
There is some truth to that notion because when we are ready to invest we are likely to put more effort to keeping our investment safe and growing. We target the great qualities our partner has to offer, let the flaws slip away and more importantly become more open in disclosure to our partner. These aspects are what make up the intense emotional intimacy experienced earlier on in relationships.
We have to be careful of becoming so passive in our experience that we lack the motivation to enact what we want in our lives. Self-reliance can both be a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to know that you can’t stand yourself up or forget your own birthday. You have the freedom and control in dictating what experiences enter your life. It’s also a tough position to be in because emotional intimacy occurs when we are able to trust and be vulnerable. We put our hearts into someone else’s hands in the hopes that our judgment has served us well. When we become too emotionally comfortable being with ourselves, interpersonal growth suffers as a result.
You can’t be certain when things happen and perhaps we don’t have to simply just wait. We can play while we grow up, create friendships while we find love and build purpose for our lives while heading into retirement. What we do in between creates the memories that lead to the destination. The universe may bring about opportunities but you hold the key on what you do with it.
Amy Yew is a researcher and therapist. Tell us what you think and submit any questions you have to email@example.com. You can also tweet your thoughts on Twitter @AmyYew.