Since birth I have been driven by a desire to prepare myself for the future. From Kindergarten through Middle School, I was preparing myself for High School. Then in High School I was preparing myself for College.
One of my greatest fears has been that I will never live life, yet that fear has never been strong enough to compel me to change. It didn’t seem unnatural to push, prepare, and practice. It wasn’t something I consciously thought about. Working hard in preparation for the future was just something I did. It was like breathing.
College started the same way: I was working hard to prepare myself for a career as a Software Engineer. But during Freshman fall something changed. I met this person, a girl. She challenged me to see myself and my life differently.
Perhaps it was my emotional immaturity. Was it her beauty? Her tremendous courage? Whatever it was, she inspired to be better, more than a mindless drone.
I was completely clueless then (and still probably am), so I burned the bridges and wasted any chance I might have had at a relationship with her, to learn more from her, or to simply know her better.
My mistakes hurt for a while. Worse though, I fear that my inadequacies and blunders may have hurt her as well. I’ll may never forgive myself for hurting her.
Through my failures I began learning. The ephemeralness of our relationship taught me to appreciate time. I started to live. Prioritizes in my life changed. I embarked on the journey to become better.
My quest for her affection taught me lessons in patience. I learned that sometimes it just isn’t right. I may not be sexy enough. Sometimes I won’t be smart enough. The time may be wrong, or I might not be what somebody is looking for. But it is still okay. I don’t have to be perfect for everybody. Someday I’ll be perfect for someone.
Until college, I didn’t really care (or even consider) what other people thought of me. I was happy being me, and I was the only person who would determine if I should change.
After meeting her, I changed. I cared about her hating me. In fact, it consumed me not knowing if I was hurting her. It nearly destroyed me that she might never care about me the way I cared about her. For the longest time I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did. Why did I care what she thought of me? Why did I worry about how I made her feel? I had never experience these concerns before.
Eventually, I recognized that these feelings might be that elusive emotion, love. She had infected me. I didn’t know her well enough, and I probably idolized her beyond realistic possibilities, but I was in love all the same. It was new. It was strange. It was my first college transformation.
Realistically, I’m still impossibly detached. For the vast majority of the people I meet, I couldn’t care less about what they think of me. They can hate me, idolize me, ignore me or fear me. That is their choice, and it doesn’t bother me. In fact, this aloofness in the face of social criticism is probably one of my greatest strengths and has allowed me to continuously succeed when so many surrounding me crumble.
Maybe it’s not over. Maybe there is still a chance between us. If so, I look forward to that day. But if not, I will treasure the lessons I’ve learned and look forward finding somebody for whom I can be that special someone.