The Adventures of Bug and Boo

Regrets, Choices & Soulmates

My StoryRebecca O'LoughlinComment
We call this 'The Wedding'  

We call this 'The Wedding'  

It's about to get mushy in here - today I'm talking about love. So if that's not your thing, feel free to bounce and come back tomorrow for some regularly scheduled programming...

Today is Throwback Thursday once again, and I had planned on telling you all about the first time I met M. Then I saw Danielle at Sometimes Sweet's Journal Prompt #12 (I can't help it, I'm a sucker for creative writing prompts, it reminds me of being in my favorite English class in high school!) - and her questions started with: "Do you believe in the idea of a soulmate? Do you think there is one person for everyone- and do you think that no matter what, if you're "supposed" to meet that person you will?"

I stopped reading and started thinking. 

My experience with love has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride. I met someone very young, got wrapped up in the relationship from early on, and spent many years in it - with a person who was not the right one for me, by any account.  I (foolishly, says hindsight) spent nearly a decade with someone who made me become much less of an individual, completely untrue to myself, and molded myself into someone that I never wanted to be. My experience of love before I met M was that of jealousy, anger, bitterness, self-destruction, and codependence. 

I could look at those years as the Epic Mistake of My Life, but I simply can't boil it down to just that. Because every decision that I made in my life has led to me meeting M.

On paper, there was no logical probability that we would meet at all. He grew up on the western coast of Ireland, went to university in Dublin, and spent much of his twenties living in Ireland, Germany, and Belgium. I grew up in a suburb out in western New York State, went to university in the state capital of Albany, and lived in New York City after school. I never left the country except for one trip to Cabo, and traveled within the US mostly on the east coast. I didn't have a passport until 2008. And yet somehow, we both happened to be in London in 2010. We both happened to split up from prior relationships just a short while before our first meeting. We both turned up to aprés-work drinks with my coworkers on that night in January. 

When I consider the circumstances of me getting to London and both of us being single at the time we met, they are so convoluted that the chances of it happening and timing out correctly could have been impacted by any decision change along the way: 

If my ex and I had split up a month later...
If I hadn't moved to London with him 18 months earlier...
If I hadn't been able to transfer with my company when I moved to London...
If I hadn't married my ex in the first place...
If I had never started working with my company back in Manhattan...
If I hadn't gotten back together with my ex after a break-up during university...
If I had gone somewhere else for university...
If I had never met my ex at all... 

Many of those decisions came into my mind when I was going through the split. If I had done this differently, if I hadn't done that...I couldn't believe how many choices I'd made that kept me on the wrong path, with the wrong person. I just kept wishing that I could take all of them back. I was filled with so much regret. 

Did you ever read those Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were a kid? No? Ok well I was a total nerd whose public library card had to regularly be replaced due to wearing the magnetic strip down and I read almost every Young Adult book in the library by graduation. I happened upon these books and became fascinated. The concept was clever - you as the reader become a major protagonist in the book and read it from your perspective. As the plot develops, you have to make decisions about what to do next - which door to open, what person to trust, etc. Each choice takes you to a different page in the book where you continue along your adventure. They were brilliant - you could read them over and over and make different choices and ultimately enjoy a number of different endings to the stories as well (not all of them good!). I read each book and I would always go back and reread through each possible plot stream, making different decisions and seeing how those ones turned out compared to the initial choices I made in the first reading. Sometimes, the result would be worse and I'd pat myself on the back for making the 'right' choice. Sometimes the new choice would result in a better ending, and rarely, I would end up at one of the same conclusions even after making different decisions.

I thought at the time of the big split, that I had made all the wrong choices, and that I had missed out on each of the better possible 'plot streams' of my life. But it turns out that my BEST ending, this one where I have found (& married!) the one man who is more suited for me than any of the billions of others on the planet, was always in front of me, despite thinking that I'd made all of the wrong decisions up until then. When I met M I realised that each one of those choices I'd made had a major part to play in my being in the right place at the right time to meet him. All of the decisions created a path that ultimately led to our meeting in Canary Wharf that night. 

When I met M, it was like things just clicked into place. When we had our first date, I came away from it thinking I would marry him. (I will tell you all about that date next week!) I believe wholeheartedly that M is the only person who could suit me to a T like he does. He and I are perfect partners. So yes, I believe that he and I were meant to be - my soulmate. And I guess that means that I believe there is one person out there who is absolutely perfect for one other person. What I don't know, is if each person will meet their match during their lifetime, regardless of circumstance. All I know is that I was lucky enough to do so, and the choices that we both made led us to where we found each other. 

On some level, I wish that I could read my own Choose Your Own Adventure book and watch the Rebecca in the book choose differently along the way, just to see the results... Would my path have crossed with M's somewhere else in life? Would we have found each other at the right time again? I'd like to think we would, no matter what. 

Who else would try on all the hats and take selfies with me in Harrods' toy department!? =) 

To read more Throwback Thursday posts, click the link below! 

3 Southern Gals TBT