The home phone rings. You don’t pick up. At least, not usually. It’s never anyone you care to speak to – telemarketers, fundraisers. But this time, something is different. This time, your gut says to answer.
Maybe it’s an old friend from college. An old boss or client you haven’t heard from in three years. An old beau who is just the right pick-me-up for what ails you with his snappy repartee to be enjoyed – with no need for anything more.
Whoever it is, they have something to tell you.
It’s an offer you can’t refuse.
I’ve been on the receiving end of those calls. They’re entertaining. They’re time travel-inducing. Occasionally, they arrive accompanied by unexpected opportunities.
Inviting the Past In
Though some think I dwell in the past too often – I confess, I revisit specific moments and play “what if” – I’m not wild about letting the past in. I’m of the “what’s done is done” crowd, so in the old boyfriend scenario, I can’t imagine going backward, wanting to rekindle, or even (necessarily) wanting to exchange current photos. (Then again, I connected to a few friends from elementary school on Facebook and that was fun…)
On the other hand, there are advantages to relationships that were once built on trust – old friendships where you share a common home town, a common college, or some version of a common history. Sometimes one of these voices from the past – a gal pal you haven’t seen in 15 years who is passing through town, a guy you hung with in graduate school – may promise surprises.
Perhaps a renewed friendship that is better than the one you enjoyed when you were 20.
Perhaps a business venture that is right up your alley at 40.
Is that when the sixth sense kicks in? Helping you know when a blast from the past is an offer you can’t refuse? After all, it can mean moving forward with a connection from the past, not returning to the past.
That Sixth Sense
I can’t explain the sixth sense that encourages me to pick up a phone, to answer (or ignore) the doorbell, or to stay put or to go out on what you might view as a whim, and I know as a feeling to heed.
And so I do.
It’s the same sixth sense that has helped to protect me in personal situations – listening to my gut about a potential date, for example. It’s the same sixth sense that tells me something is wrong with someone I love. (Don’t most mothers “know” when something is up with their children?) It’s the same sixth sense that tells me to “go for it” when an opportunity presents itself.
So why doesn’t our sixth sense kick in when romantic relationships come calling and are well in process? Why do we lose our heads, our pragmatism, our wise counsel we ought to be able to call on for ourselves? Surely I’m not alone in this. (Are we up for dipping a toe into that murky pond?)
Relationship Red Flags
Recently, a girlfriend was chatting merrily with me about men. She isn’t involved romantically at present, and she was having a little fun idealizing the future. You know. Spinning a someday scenario. And in that scenario, her mystery man is kind, relaxed, 50-something and past any threat of midlife crisis. He will whistle while he works (so to speak), enjoy puttering around the house (and the bedroom), and while he doesn’t need to be rich, money can’t pose problems. (My girlfriend even has an annual income in mind. She’s extremely practical, and no, it isn’t an unreasonable amount.)
I’ve definitely done my due diligence when it comes to pondering relationship red flags, including a few of the above. Then again, I’ve been tempted by the offer I couldn’t refuse – as in the online date who seems harmless enough and wants to spring for an exotic weekend away, money no object, and yes – two rooms.
Or, again an online date who wants to make a gift to yours truly of… be still my heart… designer shoes (Louboutins, he said)!
Could those incidents really have taken place five years ago? (Yup.) Were they both offers I couldn’t refuse – but did? (Yup.) Should I thank my sixth sense? (Guess it works after all. Make that three for three in the affirmative.)
No Go for the Old Beau?
Not so long ago I heard from a long lost Not Quite Ever a Beau gentleman friend. Yes, on the phone. And my, how the sound of his voice made 10 years drop away – while he sounded enthusiastic about possibly coming to town, even more so about possibly getting together, and every flirtatious bone in his body was percolating provocatively.
But it was a No Go.
Five years ago that may have been an offer I couldn’t refuse – partly because the amount of time since we’d seen each other wasn’t so great, partly because my sixth sense may have said “yes” and I would have listened, partly because my life is somewhat more stable now than it was then: My work has the typical ups and downs of any independent worker, but I’m in a relationship, my kids are more settled, and the desire to look back (much less go back), whatever the reason, holds little sway.
Any offers you couldn’t refuse lately? Do you spend too much time looking back? If you hear from long lost friends, old lovers, former co-workers – and either want to see them or prefer to steer clear?
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