I just got back from Europe. It was a whirlwind tour. Three cities in 5 days. Sounds fun. Mostly it was tiring and a lot of work. Traipsed through Barcelona visiting El Corte Ingles' - the premiere Spanish department store; hiked Munich, again, checking out department stores. And then in Brussels, I visited our corporate offices for a day of meetings. One day I'll visit Europe and see sites...surely there are other things to do besides check out Dockers and Tommy Hilfiger displays. Alas, I'm exceedingly familiar with the retail landscape across the continent.
I was lucky enough to "run into" a friend in Brussels. Not so coincidental, I suppose, though he lives in Australia and I live in San Francisco. He is also a long time Levi's employee and we've worked on many a project together across the seas. He was in Brussels for a different set of meetings; it would have been easy to have been in the same offices for a full day and not run into each other at all. But he heard someone mention my name and he came and sought me out in my windowless conference room. What a nice surprise!
I met him and his crew for dinner and we chatted animatedly while leaning into each other for most of the night, leaving others to speculate about us (he's straight) - I imagine. It's all very innocent. We're two old-timers in the land of newbies, connecting over old stories that no one remembers but us. I'm pretty sure a rumor or two started though.
After dinner we headed to the pub for a pint. He asked about my real life - not work life. He knows about my divorce, my dating travails. He said: don't settle, Jen. You must not settle.
I'll try. I'm trying.
You're a remarkable person. One of the most I've ever known. He said that.
Wow, I thought. "Remarkable" is such a lovely word. He used it to describe me. Me. It almost made me cry. I want someone that thinks I'm remarkable. I thought my ex was. I don't think he ever thought I was. Maybe he did. I'm not sure. But if he did, I certainly never knew it. And perhaps I didn't let him know I thought it either. But you have to think they are remarkable, and experience them as kind, and for both of those things to be reciprocated, for it to work. Both things, both ways are necessary.
I left with utter confidence, feeling as if I truly deserved for someone to think that of me. This felt like a revelation though I think some people always know that and expect it. Wow! I realized, I don't think I ever thought that before. I don't think I thought I deserved that. I thought - though never said aloud or even thought concretely - that what I deserved was for someone to make me work for their love. To prove myself worthy of it. To jump through hoops for a few scraps every now and again. Where does that come from? Such an astonishing realization at this point in one's life. To realize that I've never expected to be loved in that way.
And I also realized I need to find someone that I too think is remarkable. That astounds me with how he thinks, what he does, how he treats me. I deserve that. And I do believe, now that I've realized this - and felt it in my bones - that I will have it.