I consider my first love, a girl who did not even love my back and who didn’t know how I felt. It’s not the same, and I’m not going to even claim that it was as intense as the first time I fell in love with someone who was in love with me, but this girl changed my life. Before I met her, I never even dreamed someone so beautiful would talk to me, and more importantly that I would have the confidence to talk to her. I had a lot of self-esteem issues growing up and that may surprise some who have only known me in my 30’s and it took me a long time to even have the nerve to even ask a girl out. I didn’t do that until I was 18. She was very kind, said she felt flattered but that she had a boyfriend. Of course I was disappointed, but it gave me some confidence. I then went on my first date at the age of 19. I was a mess on that date, and she didn’t want to date again, but it was another confidence builder. Yes it took me until the age of 20 to even have the nerve to really talk to a girl I found that beautiful like a normal human being. We became friends though, and she had a boyfriend at the time and so it was really inappropriate for me to really express my feelings anyway. And she was extremely beautiful and I don’t regret at all that I didn’t express myself because if you can’t also be friends with someone you find attractive than you have no business getting into relationships anyway. Because of her I gained so much belief in myself it’s hard to describe. And she is out there with absolutely no idea what she did for me, and I will forever feel grateful to her.
Stories of my boring early love life is not the point of this post, but what is the point is that we all have these kinds of memories.
Incidents and people that touched our lives and trajectories have moved us apart without them ever knowing how they changed us. It doesn’t always have to be a positive experience. It could be negative at the time, but upon reflection we learned the right lesson from it. It could be an acquaintance sharing a tale of woe and from that we have an extra piece of knowledge that may help us avoid that situation in the future, hurling us on a different trajectory than we otherwise would have taken. These moments can happen so briefly and the other person has no idea the changes they’ve caused in you. And who knows, some of these small moments may even plant the seeds of greater change.
As I reflect on these people and these moments it makes life feel absolutely amazing because if I’m feeling a bit down on myself, feeling a bit invisible, or feeling smaller than I like in the vast universe, I remember that I also do not know what impact I might have had on others. Whether I have been at my best or at worst I still may have helped someone grow, change, lead a better life. Sometimes I think it would be nice to know, but given how people have changed me without them knowing, I don’t know need to know exactly, I can simply be confident that at least some people out there have benefitted by my existence. I think that as long as I keep trying each day to be more than I am, then good things will always happen. And it’s good to know that at 40, I’m still an optimist at heart. 🙂