My 35th birthday was spent with a friend hanging out and going to lunch. As we were on our way back to her house from the birthday lunch I saw this sign…..
I was instantly reminded of a guy I used to know. I'm going to label him (for privacy purposes) 'the boxer'.
The boxer was a guy I met when I was a teenager living in Toronto. I haven't thought of him in years. I would occasionally hear a song on the radio and think of him but as the years went on that became less and less often.
The boxer had a huge impact on me. " some people leave footprints…." He was one of those people. A young man who had his issues, but deep down was this amazing spirit that just sucked you right in like a vacuum.
I didn't know at the time that I met him, but my life would cross his path more than once over the next few years and each time it did, something inside me would change.
I've never been the kind of girl who needed a guy to be happy. I'm sure part of this has to do with growing up with parents who married more than once and watching family members be unhappy in relationships. I know that we all form our romantic needs in childhood. So I'm sure part of my desire to not be dependent on a man comes from my childhood.
It's not that guys haven't wanted to be in serious long-term relationships with me. In fact, the older I got, the more guys seemed to want that. I, however, knew I was not one of those girls. I was not going to be like my parents, married with two kids before I was 19. Don't get me wrong I love my parents and I'm grateful for everything they've ever given me (good, bad and ugly) because I know they did the best they could and they loved me. I just had no desire to live their life as young parents.
So every time a guy who wanted more came along I would explain to him that wasn't what I wanted. Maybe some day but not at that moment. Most guys didn't take this well. Some right out stopped talking to me. The boxer, however, was different. I don't know why but my soul actually longed to be close to his. Something about him drew me to him like a magnet. So when I chatted with him about what I wanted for my life and my desire to not be tied to one guy at 18 I fully expected him to be like the other guys. I expected him to get upset and push the issues. He did the exact opposite.
In the short time that I knew him, we chatted a lot about relationships and happiness. We had a lot in common. We wanted some of the same things in life. We both longed to be happy. We were also very different. He wasn't happy with his life. He seemed lost in a lot of ways. We talked about him wanting to be a boxer and I pushed him, challenged him to do it, to be happy. We talked about his excuses for why he couldn't. I, of course, pushed him on those excuses and tried to help him see they were exactly that, excuses.
We talked about what I wanted to do with my life. He challenged me on why I was dropping my whole life and moving hours away to help out a family member. He pushed me to stop putting other people's needs above my own. He taught me to challenge my relationship ideas and become more comfortable with my sexuality.
He gave me something I didn't know I was missing. He helped me find pieces of myself. I will always be grateful to him for that.
Life happened and we lost touch for a while. I always wondered how he was and if he ever followed his dreams. A few years later our paths crossed again and the instant I saw him I felt the magnetic pull towards him. However our interaction would be brief and we would again drift back to our separate lives.
I always wondered what he would make of his life, where he would end up. I always hoped he would find his version of happy and follow his dreams. I would often hear a song on the radio that reminded me of him and think,
Sometimes I would come across something that made me think of him and I would smile, but always wonder in the back of my mind wonder why we both crossed each other's paths when clearly we didn't both have the same path in mind.
Of course with social media you can basically find anyone, anywhere. So years ago (when a friend told me he was getting married) I looked him up on Facebook. I hoped he was happy. I hoped he was following his dreams.
It's been a long time since I really thought of him though. Years pass and life moves on and you stop thinking about the people who are no longer in your life. So when I saw that sign on my birthday I couldn't help but smile.
The universe's way of showing me how lucky I am.
It's been years since I heard anything about him. I don't have Facebook anymore, so I have no ability to check in on him, which may be why I no longer wonder "what if…". Perhaps I've just grown up. Maybe I'm just grateful to have had him cross my path. Grateful to have had the ability to connect with that magnetic soul that would forever leave footprints on mine. Grateful to have had someone who valued me while challenging my views.
Wherever the boxer is today I hope he found his happy. I hope he followed his dreams and found the peace in life we used to talk about. On my 35th birthday, I thank the universe for giving me the boxer, years ago, if only briefly. I thank the boxer for the ways he changed and challenged my life. Most of all I thank fate for the reminder of just how lucky I am.