“But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need,” continue Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ lyrics. And sometimes, it takes a long time before you realize you got what you needed instead of what you wanted.
When I was in high school, I had a huge crush on this guy. I’m pretty sure everyone knew it, too. He was tall and cute and our intellectual sparring rivaled Elizabeth and Darcy. I wanted to date him so badly, that when he started dating someone else, I joined the track team just to stop myself from being depressed. I never liked running.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized although what I wanted (and our family and friends expected) for most of my teen years was to date him, what I needed was to not date him. I didn’t get what I wanted, but I sure as heck got what I needed.
He was, and still is, one of my closest friends. We’ve been on lots of adventures together and through a lot of growing pains in the 20+ years we’ve known each other. He’s a great guy. He also has a very strong will, stubborn temperament and red-headed Aries fury.
As a young girl, had I gotten my wish of being in a relationship with him, he would have totally controlled me. Not because he’s a bad person or anything like that, but because I would have let him.
Most teenagers are still figuring themselves out, and I was as naive and impressionable as any of them. My world would have revolved around him, and he would have let it. It’s just the way our personalities were then. I would have missed out on a lot of my own growth.
On the simplest level, there would be no varsity letter on my jacket. More deeply, if I ever did find my current ability to stand firm against peer pressure, it would have taken a lot longer. Most importantly, I may have wound up losing him as a best friend.
Looking back, I’m very glad things turned out the way they did. He has a wonderful wife who is absolutely adorable and a very good match for him all around. And we still have our friendship, with a ton of great memories. The current reality is well worth all those teenage tears. That makes me smile. It’s also very helpful when dealing with current tears. I may not always be getting what I want, but I’m likely getting what I need.