Who Haven’t You Met – Yet?

It was worn and fragile, about two inches long, with a brown cover in soft leather. Inside, its translucent pages bore minuscule print which was nonetheless legible – verse after verse, recounting a tale of missed opportunities and lost love. It was Longfellow’s Evangeline.

Dark Eyed BeautySomewhere, stored in a box in the back of a drawer, I still have that tiny treasure, given to me when I was a child. And though the epic poem was intended to tell of historic events in Acadia, it was the fictionalized characters and their plight that struck me as impossibly tragic.

It was my first experience of the notion of separated lovers, spending decades passing each other by, not meeting again until one was near death. Oh, how could fate be so cruel! (And oh, to be so young and starry-eyed again!)

But who hasn’t churned variations of “what if” in every context – especially when it comes to cozy couplings?

What if I had turned right instead of left? What if I hadn’t seen you?

The past is the past, sort of

Some years ago, I shared a lovely romance with a gentleman in France. As time went on, we realized our paths had crossed at various junctures when we were both much younger. At a time when life was simpler, and we would’ve had a shot at something dramatically different.

What was the likelihood that we’d walked by each other and simply not noticed? Perhaps he was involved or I was; there could have been the preoccupation of a presentation in the hours ahead, or his thoughts on running late to meet friends.

Yet what if the romance that flared up between us had ignited decades earlier? What might life have looked like then?

Il n’y a pas de hasard

Of course, the French adore the expression il n’y a pas de hasard which, loosely translated, means there is no such thing as chance. Taking that viewpoint, that everything is fated, my French amour decided we’d met at the ideal time for both of us. Since anything that would have changed the birth of my children seems unthinkable, I had to agree.

We met at the right time – for his life and mine – for the lessons to be learned, and the gifts to be given.

So I ponder the future. The unknown. Isn’t looking at the past part of assessing the years to come? Might there be others with whom I’ve shared a similar experience of ships passing in the night?

And if so, why haven’t we met – yet?

Timing is everything

While timing may not be everything, I remain convinced that it’s an essential ingredient to success. It certainly applies in business – whether you’re bringing a product to market, or investing in real estate. And I’ve found it to be critical in relationships. So many factors must be in place for things to work – mutual goals, chemistry, logistics.

And timing.

Believe me – there are deal breakers when you’re 30 that have no relevance whatsoever when you hit 50. So perhaps missed opportunities lead the way for unexpected futures we can’t envision – yet. Or is that nothing more than a trace of lingering romantic optimism on my part – a good sign – and a flicker generated of a childhood recollection?

Still, when it comes to the particulars of the personal, for friendship or romance:

  • Who hasn’t encountered the “great guy” at the wrong time?
  • Think you might meet again – someday?
  • Is there “one that got away” who remains lodged in your consciousness?
  • Can’t we also wonder – Who haven’t I met – yet?


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  1. says

    You know, this is interesting. I do wonder constantly about missed chances and “what if?” But I’d never thought to wonder about the people I haven’t met yet. I love this idea. It’s hopeful.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      I think it’s hopeful, too, Kitch. There will always be surprises – and some of them may be good ones!

  2. NoNameRequired says

    Am finding that the deal breakers at 50 are nearly absent about a relationship, writ ambiguously. However, what will that relationship be? What can be steady and faithful and burden-sharing and benefit-rich (financial) and enduring and ordinary and sacred that is like marriage but not marriage?


  3. says

    I’ve always wondered if a couple of women in my life would have stayed were the timing “better.” I try not to spend that much time on it though. In the end, we make the choices we make often for selfish reasons.

    However, considering that there is a world of amazing people out there to enjoy and meet sometimes offers new romantic opportunities that you’d never expect. Everyone sees a relationship differently and, while I’ve dated many wonderful women (some quite seriously) none of them are the same. I also believe that will hold true in the future.

    As usual, you’ve given your readers a lot to ponder.

  4. says

    I can still recite sections of Evangeline (Why is it that we remember such things from our youth but can’t remember what happened last month?), and one of my Aunts was named after her and, in her way, had an equally tragic story. You sound like a fellow New Englander.

    Fran and I discovered that our families had likely had interactions going back three and a half centuries, and we could have met one another in our youth when visiting family in New England. When we met a decade ago, we had gained experience (some wonderful experiences, some not so wonderful) and we were ready. “Chance favors the prepared mind” is my motto. Past is past; no complaints or “what ifs.”

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Three and a half centuries of potential interaction! That’s remarkable, Paul. And I like your motto. I am also a firm believer in the prepared mind. (Perhaps part of my New England upbringing?) :)

  5. batticus says

    My missed chance/bad timing was on a trip to Italy after university graduation. My favourite British band at that time rarely toured in North America so when I noticed that they would be in Florence during my trip, I quickly bought a train ticket to Florence; found a room at the train station desk, found the albergo, dumped my bags and went off sight-seeing and to pick up a ticket for the concert. The day of the concert was raining and due to my lack of planning and lack of funds, I had to walk a long way and ended up meeting people that were going to the concert (I had an umbrella :) ). The weird part comes when we are in the lobby waiting to enter the arena chatting with my new rain-drenched acquaintances, a girl comes walking straight up to me, turns around, waves to her mom and tells her “I found my friend” (in Italian). We had a good time at the concert. As these stories usually end, we got separated when the concert ended. As I walked back, a song from the concert was in my head, it is called The Paris Match, it fit the moment perfectly and whenever I hear the song now, it reminds me of that day.

    Empty hours spent combing the street
    In daytime showers they’ve become my beat;
    As I walk from cafe to bar
    I wish I knew where you are;

    My older (wiser?) view on it is that Italian young people have less hangups with going with the flow and being in the moment and it probably meant nothing to her, my younger view of it was a missed opportunity. A fond travel memory nonetheless.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Ever see that film with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke? The first one was Before Sunset (maybe?) – a chance meeting in Europe on a train – a meeting set for 6 months later, and missed. And they meet again (After Sunrise) – about 10 years later.

  6. says

    I do sometimes wonder who I’ve yet to meet, but not in a romantic way. Some days it feels as though something/someone is out there and I’ll meet him or her soon. Perhaps another sibling (more plausible than anything else) from my father’s long history of affairs and indulgences? Who knows, but it feels unfinished.

  7. says

    Gosh, this post cut to the quick. And I’m kind of surprised it did, since I’ve been with my own amour for so long. I truly can think of no one else, but I often mourn over other relationships (as you well know) and I wonder what would be and will be and how they will shape as those past did not have an opportunity to. I think I’m talking in a circle here, but trust me when I say I was really affected by this post.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      I do know what you mean, Christine. When those we love are taken too soon, and we know – from our adult viewpoint – that those losses affected major decisions, it’s hard not to wonder. About many things. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. (A different version of a very hard “what if.”)

  8. says

    I don’t wonder this in the context of my romantic relationship, but do think about it in terms of geography. If I had moved around or traveled more in my youth, who would’ve crossed my path? Who have I missed? Would I be a better person for it? Of course, in the Hindu tradition, the people we meet are predetermined, you only cross paths with those you must take from or give to. Once the giving and taking has ceased, the relationship may also dissolve.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      What a lovely dimension you’ve added to this, Rudri. You only cross paths with those you must take from or give to. To some extent, don’t we give to or take from everyone we meet? Sometimes in ways we don’t realize?

  9. says

    …encountered the “great guy” at the wrong time? Unfortunately, yes.
    Is there “one that got away” who remains lodged in your consciousness? Oddly, I can’t think of one that “got away.” But I’ve been married for 30+ years so perhaps my memory has dulled.
    Do I wonder who I haven’t met yet? I do wonder if, God forbid, something would happen to Entrepreneur and I would be alone; if there would be another. But I do believe God has a plan for me and will clue me in as I need to know! I hate that part sometimes.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Then you are of the school of “Il n’y a pas de hasard,” Lisa. There are no chance meetings. 😉

  10. says

    Maybe we’re always “meeting” some eternally fluxing aspect of our truest and deepest Self—the oneness in which we all find common, albeit deeply unconscious, recognition (re-knowing, there you are, again; here we are, again). I think that what we experience as chance, is more like a way of experiencing time. But only beyond time itself, might we realize that we never truly missed a beat, that there really was time for a thousand visions and revisions. Perhaps the leap into Il n’y a pas de hasard would be to join the French (and and anyone else embracing of fate) in loving what transpires, allowing that it both inspires and rewires our very way of experiencing love and life.

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