Have you ever noticed how few people in life actually show up? We’ve all heard: “Great first date. Let’s do it again!” And then he doesn’t call. “It’s been so long. Let’s do lunch.” But it never gets arranged. “I’ve really missed you. Let’s get together.” You suggest dates, but she’s booked until Christmas.
I’ve marveled my whole life at always having to be the one who invites friends over, suggests we go to movies, and hosts parties. I learned early on, if I didn’t call, no one would. But I grew to be okay with that. I wanted a rich social life and learned that to have one, I had to put out the effort. So I did, and I got exactly what I wanted.
Showing up is a rare commodity. How often do people in your life make the effort and appear, bearing real interest? When they do, do you shower them with your attention, bathe them in appreciation, and treat them like kings? Surprisingly, when people do show up, we often back away, suspicious of their motives, uncomfortable with their assertiveness.
Nowhere is this more noticeable than in dating. We each carry around in our heads a picture of our ideal partner including his or her look, smell, personality, and resume. When someone shows up and one of those factors is lacking—usually looks—we turn them away. In doing so, we miss the point that this person is interested in us. He/she took the time, made the effort, and actually showed up. Why? What is it about us they’re interested in? Wouldn’t it be nice to find out? Perhaps we think we already know—“he only wants sex,” “she’s after my money.” Too bad. We might have been surprised.
We also overlook the fact that the person might well have hidden attributes that far outweigh the “flaw” we believe makes her or him unworthy of our attention.
We also get caught up thinking that dating has only to do with the future and miss the opportunity to perhaps enjoy a great one-time adventure. When a person shows up, it’s an opportunity to learn and laugh and love in the moment that needs no future. Once was great. Once was enough. Of course, having had a good time with no thought toward the future, it’s possible you’ll both want to show up again.
I live my life by one simple motto:
“Walk through life with an open heart and love whoever shows up.”
That creed has served me well. I’ve met incredible people who surprise me at every turn with their depth, kindness, creativity, and experience. I make time for the rare people who show up in my life, appreciating the gift of their presence as well as the opportunity they provide me to share my gifts with them.
My son called from college yesterday asking to reschedule my visit from Sunday to Tuesday because his girlfriend was working on Sunday and really wanted to see me. She was arranging to show up. Tuesday it is.