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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

Thursday, September 22, 2011, 00:15 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

For a woman of above-average intelligence, I can be remarkably dense about certain things.

Usually, my slowness arises from a lack of self-confidence. The best example was when, during my senior year in high school, I received an invitation to participate in a prestigious scholarship competition sponsored by the School of Communications at Syracuse University, one of five colleges to which I had applied to study architecture. The funny thing was that I hadn’t yet received an acceptance of my application to Syracuse. That the School of Communications had jumped the gun in sending my invitation before the Admissions Office had sent my acceptance packet was obvious to everyone but me, burdened as I was with doubts about my abilities. I simply didn’t see myself as a person that great things happened too. I wasn’t that lucky.

With age and experience came greater confidence. Through my 30s and into my 40s, after overcoming some obstacles and racking up some accomplishments and enjoying some successes, I let go of some of that embedded fatalism. Even so, I never got overly optimistic about anything.

That changed about two years ago, when I learned that a man with whom I had fallen in love as a teenager, had a relationship, suffered a horrible breakup, and never got over had never actually gotten over me, either. After a few weeks of looking for the dark cloud inside the silver lining (“When he said he has always loved me and always would, what did he really mean?”) I started to do something quite uncharacteristic. I started really believing I would have a chance with him someday. I believed and wished and hoped and prayed. A lot. An embarrassing amount.

Without going into details, I can report that it hasn’t happened the way I wanted. It is finally dawning on me that it probably never will. I’m not that lucky.

But after two years of wishing and hoping and praying, it’s hard to quit cold turkey. So I have modified my prayers. Now I pray for exactly what I don’t want to happen: that he will succeed at the one thing that keeps us apart.

Oh, I’ve prayed for this before, because I thought I should. I’ve prayed for it “if that is God’s will” or “if there is no chance for us” or “if it will make him happy.” If, if, if. Now, finally, I’ve dropped the ifs. It took a while, but I get it. I’m not that lucky.

Surprisingly, I’m finding that there’s a certain comfort in giving up hope. If you don’t hope, you can’t be disappointed.

Categories: life, love
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