“Rita, I just don’t see myself getting married, not any time soon,” Aiden said to me over drinks. It was 3 years after our first breakup. We had recently re-established communication and decided to give the friendship thing a go. Which turned into multiple weekends spent in each other’s company. Which turned into a not-so-friendly trip to Key West. Which turned into relationship round #2. “But I really like how things are between us now. I’d like for us to continue seeing each other.” Aiden and I had been here before but now the tables were turned. This time, I wanted to get married. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and said goodbye.
Bucky pleaded with me to marry him. I told him that it was bad timing – that I was too young and just starting my career. I wasn’t ready for marriage. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Mr. Adventure. He told me that it was bad timing – that he wanted to travel the world and wasn’t contemplating settling down right then. Sociopath told me that our timing was bad – he was trying to figure out his life and, until he did, marriage wasn’t in play. Aces told me that I was moving too fast towards marriage and he doesn’t believe he’s the marrying kind. Bad timing.
It seemed like, no matter which relationship I was in – the timing just wasn’t right. One person moving too fast or the other too slow. One making their career a priority and the other the relationship. After each relationship ended, when someone would ask me what had gone wrong, I’d dismiss the question by answering “the timing wasn’t right.”
David asked me to meet him at Falls Church Bowl America for date #26. My highest bowling score that I could remember? 76. And that’s with me “granny bowling” it. I’m a pro, at throwing gutter ball after gutter ball. This time was no exception. I’d throw the ball into the gutter. I’d hit one pin and no others. I’d hit all others but not the one. No matter what I did, I couldn’t come close to a spare or a strike. I shrugged my shoulders, looked at David and blamed it on my timing. I just couldn’t get my “walk” right. It was too fast or too slow. I was dropping the ball too early or too late. If I could just get my timing down – then my game would be going so much better!
Then David did something that no other date has yet done. He called me out. He said it wasn’t my timing that was throwing off my game, but my technique that was throwing off my timing. Bowling is about the approach, the swing, balance, the target, execution, follow through and consistency. I wasn’t focusing on any of those key elements and, until I did, my timing would always be off and I’d never bowl a good game. That’s what I really like about David. He’s polite, but honest. He says what he thinks. And because he did, he got me thinking.
For game 2, I started to pay attention. To the way I held my ball. How I swung my arm. My balance. Focusing on the pins and the alignment with my swing. I followed through with my arm and I kept my movements and speed consistent. And while I’m not ready for the National Bowling Championship yet – I broke 100!
On the way home, I thought about “timing”. And how, up until that night, I’ve let it serve as the excuse for so many of my life circumstances (relationships, career, financial). Now I believe that, for me, “timing” is simply an easy way out. An excuse. My relationships didn’t end because the timing wasn’t right. They ended because they weren’t the right relationship. The reason that they weren’t the right relationships is because I didn’t pay attention to key elements. I didn’t ask the right questions at the outset. I was too worried about the future and not paying attention to the present. I underestimated my worth and importance in the relationship. I was too controlling and afraid to let things happen naturally. It’s not bad timing causing my relationships to end. It’s how I’m approaching, executing and following through on my relationships that are resulting in nothing but bad timing. My experiences with this 35/35 project, in working with Jess McCann and Dave Elliott, in interacting with my readers, has taught me so much about how I want to approach my relationships and interactions going forward. No longer do I want an “easy way out” of addressing areas of my life that are not going as I had hoped. Rather, because of what I have learned, I do trust that, so long as I continue to focus on what is important, and continue to put in the effort and time to work on all of those “key elements”, the universe will provide the proper timing and things will work out when, and how, they are meant.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever – because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow you heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”
– Steve Jobs