As you may have heard, I met the love of my life through The Huffington Post. Who knew a mouthy manifesto I wrote after a bad post-divorce date would lead me to my very own Magic Mike, a man who makes me giggle like a school girl on HuffPost Live?
Honestly, being struck by lightening and resuscitated by Channing Tatum himself would have seemed more in the realm of possibility.
You see, I have had a black cloud stalking me for decades. At 42, I have done it all... dating (high school, college, adult... oh my!), flings, short-and long-term relationships, tripping down the aisle. Nursing a shattered heart, I convinced myself that I gave birth to the man who would piece me back together. I flirted. I dated. I dreamed. But I didn't think my soulmate was in the forecast.
Here's seven things I learned on my terrifyingly dark, unpaved third world country type of road to happiness (chock full of I-need-a-barf-bag-to-deal-with-twists-and-turns moments).
1. It happens when you least expect it. It's so annoying but it's so true. If you told me my dream guy would read my post, which was basically designed to rip men a collective new a$$, and relate to my rant enough to craft a thoughtful response, I would have laughed. Hell, I would have scoffed. Cackled, maybe. But that's exactly what happened.
2. Be fierce. Repeatedly striking out in love is a gift. When you f*ck up, you lose your fear of failure. Empowered by my perfectly imperfect track record, I was unabashedly myself when I met Mike. I didn't sacrifice one ounce of who I am and he adores me anyway.
3. Be open (just not in a prostitute kind of way). Date against type, my friends. I am infatuated with a man I would have discounted under traditional dating circumstances. I am a serial plant killer and he is a gardner extraordinaire. Come football season, we will be screaming for different teams in our living room. We will definitely vote for sparring politicians. But, wow, the synergy, the sparks, the soulful love we have is undeniable.
4. Kiss frogs. Come on now, don't be shy. Every single frog -- even the wart covered ones who get off hearing themselves ribbit -- are a value add. They teach you about yourself if you listen. They bring you closer to your proverbial prince.
5. It's cosmic. Finding true love is a spiritual awakening. It's intuitive. You just know. When you cross paths with your soulmate, love blooms faster than a celebrity dons extensions after a bad haircut. It's involuntary.
A soul connection differs from a honeymoon phase type of giddiness. The person is a natural extension of you, without warning, without effort, without compromise. The attraction is wild. When you hold hands, there's an electric current, there's a perfect fit. The amount of time you've been together doesn't matter; the time you spent apart does.
6. Haters exist. Some people despise happy endings. They don't believe in fairytales. Others are jealous. I have a friend who has been dismissive about my relationship since the beginning. Readers have left dozens of negative comments. I knew the first time I spoke to Mike that he was like no other. He understood me without explanation. Trust your gut, the telltale signs, the palpable energy. Haters be damned.
7. Live in hope. I have paid my misery dues for a lifetime. I buried my beautiful mom and filed for divorce months later. I have been lied to, spit on, let down. I have felt excruciating pain. I have been emotionally abandoned. I have lost. I ended relationships that weren't right even though I knew I would be criticized for my choices. Despite everything, I always basked in the rays of hope. I believed in brighter tomorrows. And, finally, my day has come.