80,000 people — that is the average number of people we will meet in a lifetime.
We tend to underestimate the significance of our encounters with each other. We disregard a door held open for us or a passerby who stops us to ask for directions.
We never actually know how many things had to happen exactly right for one specific thing to fall into place — for you to meet your best friend, a lover, or the one that got away.
It is important to move on from the things not meant for us, but it is also important to remember that what consumes your mind means something. If it makes you feel something, it matters.
We encounter so many people throughout our lives, and so few of them actually find a place in our hearts. It is so special to find the people who make us feel understood in a world of 7 billion unique others, to find only a few out of 80,000 that we would hand over our fragile hearts to.
There is a dark side to it all, though — the tragedy of meeting the right person at the wrong time.
I didn’t believe in past lives, but I swear I knew him in another one. It was like I recognized his face from a place I knew but didn’t know. I didn’t even know him, but I could feel he was everything that would perfectly resonate with the most profound parts of me.
But we were young, too young, and neither of us was ready. There was still so much life to live, so much left to do, and the intensity of my feelings blindsided me so hard I realized just how much I had been keeping myself from feeling much of anything up to that point.
I was overwhelmed with how much I wanted everything to work out perfectly, yet I had no idea how it possibly could. Of course, we tried. It was as if the universe was tempting us with something so beautiful, but just out of reach.
The more I tried to hold it in my hands, the more I realized that I was not ready for love, the more I became frightened by how little I actually knew myself, and the more I came to accept that maybe, I wasn’t as okay as I led on.
Everything about us eventually crashed and burned, but I learned that sometimes, the tragedy of meeting the right person at the wrong time is exactly what we need to push ourselves towards our purpose.
In the most ironic way, he became a voice inside my head that encouraged me to face my demons, to work on myself, and to become a person capable of giving and receiving love.
What’s ironic is that he had no idea I thought about him every day. He had no idea that I hadn’t let go of the possibility that he and I were meant for each other at some point in time.
He had long forgotten about me, assumed that I was just another girl who wasn’t interested, a short chapter of his life that was over — but it ended with a cliffhanger.
It isn’t the end of the story if you haven’t read all of the pages. Sometimes a character disappears only to show up later, when we least expect it, to explain everything that couldn’t be explained before.
This was the hope that I held onto through the longest months of my life. I refused to accept that somebody could send my soul into that much of a whirlwind and not be significantly relevant to my life and purpose.
He got away because timing is everything. But just because we weren’t ready for each other then, doesn’t mean we never will be. It’s not over if he’s still on my mind.
Our lives are a series of stories. Every page is significant. If you skip one, things start to not make as much sense. You have to finish your current story to move on to the next one in the series, reading them out of order will leave you more confused than you might have been before.
With so many unfinished conversations and unanswered questions, we get stuck in one place, stuck in the past and on everything we can’t change.
The one that got away is worth waiting for because of the simple fact that you’re still thinking about them.
If something is special to you, it is worth fighting for. Maybe there’s still something left to be uncovered, a lesson to be learned. Maybe you’re their lesson.
Even though it is possible that “the one that got away” won’t end up actually being “the one,” the what if’s and if only’s will only continue to consume you until there are answers.
So if you think they might be the one, do not give up on them.
Maybe you’ll find that it all works out in the end, or maybe you’ll find that through your encounters with them they really aren’t the one, but will still play an essential role in your growth and maturity. Maybe they will lead you to the actual one.
Whatever the outcome may be, it’s worth waiting for them. Out of 80,000 people, they speak to your heart, mind, and soul. Find out why.
Previously published on ThoughtCatalog.