Note: This post appeared in it’s entirety on Essence.com
The older I get, the more I find myself being intentional about my wants, needs and desires. For instance, I’m a firm believer in “speaking it into existence,” so last week while I was engrossed in posting one of my #DearFutureHubby Facebook status updates, I had a flashback of my younger self. I laughed out loud as I remembered how I once declared that 35 was too old to be getting married. Welp, I’m officially over 40 (42 in fact) and I can’t help but shake my head at that small town southern belle that really thought she had it all figured out. Ha! I really didn’t know jack squat about love back then, or life, for that matter.
I recall having my life all planned out: After I graduated college, I would find a husband, get married, have 2.5 kids and a fish. I had a plan, and by George, I was gonna execute it. I distinctly remember making my “Future Hubby List” of requirements. He needed to be ye tall, make yada yada amount of money and have a striking resemblance to Blair Underwood in Set It Off, right down to that 6-pack of chocolate abs. (Swoons.) And, did I mention the Cinderella wedding complete with a custom designed gown, 15 bridesmaids and a boulder-sized princess cut diamond ring? Girlfriend, back then I was all about the ring. What can I say, baby Jai was clearly doin’ too much.
Now, let’s fast forward 20 years and you’ll find that Cinderella has turned into Carrie Bradshaw. I’m not at all ashamed to admit that these days I would be perfectly fine with exchanging vows at the county courthouse, although that’s not the only part of my life plan that has changed. Now the plan is…well, heck, there is no plan. After all, my “strategies” to get the left-hand bling haven’t worked out so well before. I attribute that to the fact that in the past I was so focused on the plan I forgot a couple of other key factors: For starters, people are unpredictable and love is even more unpredictable. Plus, you can’t rush either. I have learned to have patience for the process of living and just let love find me in it’s own time.
Well, there may not be a plan, but there is still a Future Hubby List; it just looks a lot different from my previous poll of requirements. I’ve replaced that height requirement with a kindness qualification. I’ve shifted the salary prerequisite to a compatibility obligation, and, as for him resembling Blair Underwood – I’ve decided that he doesn’t have to look like a movie star to float my boat. Oh, and about that ring – I plead the fifth in fear that I may incriminate myself one day. (Giggles.)
I’m sure at first glance one might think that I’m settling by not sticking to my original list, but the truth is to the contrary. The fact is that I have dated the tall, handsome, physically fit, rich guys in the past and none of those attributes made them treat me any better. A man’s height didn’t make him more honest, his looks didn’t make him loyal and his money didn’t buy me any more of his time. Oh, and that 6-pack didn’t make him kind, stable or unselfish either. You see, I’m not actually settling with my new list, I am in fact elevating my requirements. I finally realized that the hazard of buying in to superficial requirements is that your purchase may change over time, or worse, have been a farce from the start.
I no longer desire 2.5 kids or that fish. The truth is, I never really wanted those things in the first place. I just thought I was supposed to have them because they were benchmarks of having arrived in life. When I started my journey into my fabulous 40s, I became really honest with myself about who I am, what I desire and how to find and preserve my happy. That happiness factor has become my compass for love and life. I don’t mean some trumped up ideal of happiness, but rather the true genuine kind of happy that resonates through my bones. Yeah, that’s the stuff I’m going after, and turning 42 didn’t slow me down one bit; I’m gaining momentum.
Now it’s your turn to get honest with yourself, what realizations about love have you come to lately?
Jai Stone – The Emotional Nudist
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