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It’s A Love Story
I never believed in love at first sight. I’m sure there can be attraction when you meet someone new, and I’m sure you can feel strong chemistry with another person. But the idea of falling head over heels in love with someone the first time you see them – it seems like a fairytale – too surreal to be true.
And then it happened to me.
Swimming in Chaos
In October of 2018, I was swimming in chaos. My mother had gone critical, and I was headed out of town on a four-city speaking tour. There was no way to cancel four events and maintain my reputation as a speaker. I called in the back-ups and headed out of town. After weeks of travel, text messages back home, phone calls in the middle of the night – I made an important discovery. For two years, I had put everything in front of my own needs, my work, and my kids. I decided that in 2019 I had to put my own life first. No matter what the outcome of events with my mother. I had to put myself and my needs first, or my health was at risk.
My fears were confirmed when I went in for my annual physical. While my health was fine, all of the tests were moving in the wrong direction. Cholesterol was higher, the ratio of high to low was off, blood pressure was high for me, sugar levels were higher, weight was up – I could read the writing on the wall. My health was deteriorating, and I needed to take action to stop the negative trend. On top of that, I developed two new food allergies – wheat and egg. My life, diet, and priorities had to change.
Time for A Change
Shortly before Thanksgiving, I decided to give dating one more try. I figured that a relationship would help me to change my priorities. When you travel as much as I do, dating is hit and miss. Just trying to find one day on the calendar in common with someone else’s schedule is challenging enough – but no one likes scheduling a date three weeks ahead. It takes the spontaneity out of the experience.
And dating over 50 is an interesting experience. Most of the men my age want to date younger women, so the median age of the men that interact with me is over 60. Well, that certainly is not what I was thinking when I considered dating again.
But I installed the app – put a profile online and began trying to fit dating into an already busy schedule. It was the holidays with lots of downtimes. I went on a few dates – and to say they were less than extraordinary is an understatement. For a few months, I dated with very little success. Then when my mother’s health worsened and she went into palliative care, I decided enough was enough, and I took the app off my phone and deleted my profile.
Then my mother decided to stop all treatment and went into hospice care. In 16 days, she passed away. In the week after her death, as I grieved, I had this overwhelming feeling that my mother would have wanted me to find someone. She wanted me to find someone special to spend my life with and be happy. My mother never gave up – she fought for life until the very end. She would want me to keep trying – never, ever give up. If I believed in spiritual matters, I might go as far as to say that my mother had only one wish after her passing – that I find that someone special.
And her wish was granted.
One Last Try
One week after her passing, almost to the day, I put my profile back online. This time I decided to create a new profile – writing something straight from the heart. I said that I liked long walks on the beach, DIY projects around the house, and playing frisbee with my dog. The last time I cried, when Baker Mayfield was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. I expressed my desire to live a simple life unclouded with material things.
Because it was a new profile – the app matched me with all the same men that it had matched me with before. I started removing all the profiles of men that I had either met or previously removed (swipe left, swipe left, swipe left…).
And then I came across a new profile I had not seen before (Well, Hello!). He was exactly what I was looking for – a man who didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs, someone who wasn’t religious, younger than me, fit and athletic, and in his description, he said he was a “simple man.” With all the chaos in my life, a simple man and a simple life were exactly what I was looking for – so I sent him a message.
We exchanged a few text messages and everything he said to me resonated with my core values. He also asked me to play basketball with him (OMG – dream date) – it seemed too good to be true. Before I even met him, I already like everything about him – his honesty, his playfulness, his sense of humor, and especially his healthy lifestyle. So we decided to meet face to face at a café at 2 pm. I was fashionably late by 3 minutes, and when I walked in to meet him, all I can say is that it was love at first sight. I was moved to emotions before I even said “Hello.”
Not a Typical Flight of Fancy
I’m not one for whimsical thoughts or flights of fancy; I am a logical, analytical, problem solver. So I was quite taken back by what I was feeling and that I had never felt anything like this before. I mean I’m 54, not 17 and I have been around for a while and I know my mind and my heart. And the only way I can describe what happened – was to call it love at first sight.
We sat in that café for 4.5 hours talking. He told me about his life, and I spoke of mine. Half of the conversation was in Spanish and half in English. Nothing else in the café existed, it was just the two of us – locked in a glance of each other and telling our life’s stories.
I had an overwhelming desire to reach across the table and kiss him – but of course that would not have been appropriate, and certainly, I had never done anything like that before. But I sat there listening to his stories and wondered, “Where had he been all my life?”
What Just Happened?
At some point we realized that we were hungry, so we went over to the local grocery store and had a salad from the salad bar. We sat for another 3 hours eating our salads and just talking.
Neither one of us wanted the day to end. But the grocery store was closing, and it was time to call it a night. We agreed that we wanted to see each other again and headed home for the evening. I spent the rest of the night wondering “what just happened?”, searching my mind for the answers to how I could have just spent 7.5 hours with someone I had never met before. How could I feel the way I was feeling toward someone I had only just met? This is absolutely crazy. Slow down, not so fast, don’t let your heart take you somewhere your mind knows can’t possibly be real.
We met the next evening for dinner. Neither of us enjoyed the experience because the restaurant was loud and we could barely hear each other. We finished our meals and then went to a local grocery store to sit and chat. When the grocery store closed, we were left with nowhere to go at 10 pm on a Friday. I suggested a movie – and bought tickets to a 10:30 pm showing of Greenbook at the closest theater.
He said he knew where it was and we drove to the theater. We walked up to the window and realized that we were at the wrong theater. As we headed back to our cars, he apologized for taking me to the wrong place. I turned, grabbed his shirt, pulled him toward me and kissed him. Yes, I just kissed him. I don’t know what possessed me – but everything about my time with him felt real, perfect – a closeness that takes years to cultivate – in moments together. We headed over to the correct theater, now holding hands and letting go of the false distance between us.
A Stranger I Had Known My Entire Life
I can’t explain this to anyone who thinks that I am rational or logical. But both of us experienced the same feeling – as if we had just met a stranger that we had known our entire lives. A stranger who is precisely what you are looking for with no compromises. In the eight weeks that we have known each other, we have only been apart one evening except for my trips away for business. We have played basketball, cooked meals together, played tennis, went for long walks, worked on DIY projects together, traveled to Kansas for my mother’s celebration of life. We are like two magnets that when in close proximity of each other – have joined with such a powerful force that no one can pull them apart.
Not a Believer in Love at First Sight?
Not a believer? I hear what you’re saying; you can’t believe in something like love at first sight. There are those that believe and those that don’t. The ones who don’t are usually people who have never experienced it or doubt that it could ever happen – or even worse, thought they had it only to find it didn’t last. These are my friends that are telling me to slow down, take your time, be careful.
The ones that do believe in love at first sight have the most amazing stories to share with me – and they sound mysteriously just like mine. These friends are telling me it does happen, believe, stop doubting and enjoy every minute. It is like we belong to an exclusive club – where membership requires that you meet your soul mate, the love of your life, the person who perfectly fits into your life, and you experience the unforgettable feeling of falling in love at first sight.
A Wish Come True
Every year on my birthday, I always wished the same wish. I would stare at the candles take a deep breath and say, “all I want is to find someone special to love.” I never wished for money, or a better job, or materials things. I just wanted to find someone special to share life’s journey. This year on my birthday, I blew out my candles and smiled. There is nothing more that I need to make my life complete.
I am so happy that I decided to make my life a priority and I am so glad that I took the chance to find someone special. And if my mother is somewhere in heaven looking down at me with a smile on her face, all I can say is “Thanks, mom.” She sent me the perfect gift, and I plan on living every day giving as much love as I can, treasuring the man that I love, and enjoying the beginning of a new life with my soul mate. It’s never too late for happily ever after.
As I said, this is a love story.
About the Author:
Julie is a dynamic, engaging change agent who brings integrity and passion to everything. Through her books, articles, speaking, consulting, and teaching — her purpose is to change the world through thought-provoking dialog and interaction. Julie has a B.S. degree in computer science from The Ohio State University, a MaED from the University of Phoenix, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Management and Organizational Leadership in Information Systems & Technology from the University of Phoenix. She also is an ITIL Expert, Certified Help Desk Director, and Certified Governance IT Professional.
Julie speaks at conferences worldwide on topics of leadership, business, knowledge management, service management, governance, organization development, process engineering, service level management, and continual improvement.
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