Tonight I’m meeting a man with whom I’ve been communicating for a month, with nearly daily hour-long phone calls. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, unsettled with the excitement of what Santa will bring. Do you remember that feeling of joyous anticipation as you await a big event?
Will the electricity be as great in person as it has been on the phone? Will he look like his pictures? What if he doesn’t like how I look? What if I don’t like the real-life version as much as I’ve like the virtual version? Will it be better than I imagine or worse?
It takes will power not to build up impossible expectations, which lead to inevitable disappointments. Trying to be Zen, “Whatever is is,” feels unattainable. Singing “Whatever will be will be,” trite.
Why is this meeting so different than previous first encounters? First, we’ve connected deeply for a month, talking about things that matter: goals, fears, feelings, accomplishments, mistakes, regrets. This creates pent-up expectations. Second, this man has behaved differently than any of his predecessors. In fact, he’s so unlike any of the others, I waived my “locals only” rule since he lives 2000 miles away. How will we ever develop a relationship long distance? How can that possibly work? Yet I know that if two people want something to work, they will be very creative to make it happen.
So today I wait. I busy myself with work to keep my mind occupied. I’m sure I’ll start getting ready way before I really need to. I don’t want to be rushed. I want to look my best. I don’t want to be stressed with little setbacks — run in the stockings, changing outfits to choose the right one, heavier-than-usual traffic. I want to be relaxed and stress free for this big date. Wouldn’t you?
I wonder what surprises Santa will bring.