wise words from my grandmother

Thursday, May 8, 2014

a few months ago, I was on the phone with my father. 

I called him in a moment of panic, in a "dad I am so sad and I don't know what to do, please help me" moment.

normally, I would approach him after dinner at the kitchen table, as he rereads the day-old newspaper and finishes our food so it doesn't go to waste. but this time he couldn't see my face, couldn't read my expression, or give me a hug. so words would have to do. 

"you're like me," he said, explaining to me his young adult years, "I always thought I was the one who was ready, and no one else was, then my mom said to me,

'the right person at the wrong time is the wrong person.'

and then I caught my breath in a large sob. and the crying began again, and I couldn't stop. I didn't want to admit that I had made a mistake, that I was so ready at the wrong time. 

I didn't want to be wrong. and I certainly didn't like that statement. because what if you meet that person again, and the time is right? does that make them the right person? 

but that was future thinking. and future-thinking is something I'm trying not to do. because when I future think, I hold expectations. 

I hold these expectations. when I meet someone, I almost instantly have expectations for what and who they will be in my life. what imprint they will make on me. and I expect that imprint to happen at a certain time, and when it doesn't happen at the right time - I get sad. 

last night, in the dimness of my star-lit room, I realized: 

"I was sad," I whispered. 

"you were sad?"

"sad because I always expect more, constantly. I always want more love. I want everyone to love me as much as I love them, at the exact same time."

"that doesn't seem fair, olivia."

no. it isn't fair. 

I let myself curl into a ball and lay there, thinking of how to defend myself, thinking of what I could do to be right in that moment. but in that moment, with the dim light, and the heat from the hot day still in the room, and my eyes falling shut as the clock stretched on, I couldn't defend it.

because my concept of time is unfair. my concept of the right and the wrong time. I want every moment to be the right time, the right time for everything to fall together and be perfect. I want every moment to be exactly what I have planned, exactly what I have expected. and when it's not, I fall. 

when my father said, "the right person at the wrong time is the wrong person," he was not trying to despair me. he was not trying to tell me to move on and grow up and find another path in life. he was telling me to let the time come. 

to let things happen without expectations.

the right person will be the right person because it is the right time, not because I expect and hope them to be the right person at the wrong time. 

"the right person at the wrong time is the wrong person … maybe," I whispered. 
and with the cool air tickling my skin as I lay backwards on my bed, I smiled a sad, but understanding, smile. 

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