Four years ago, I randomly thought, “I want a handsome guy to hang out with.” Took the universe approximately one hour to deliver on that one: I returned “home” to the hostel where I was staying, this man introduced himself, wanting to ask about life in Shanghai, and, oh, by the way, was I interested in going with him to a wine bar, liiiike, NOW? I took the invitation. And four years and some respective international moves later, we still hang out.
Like today! 😀
Some people are such a huge part of your life, shaping you into the person you are, that it is obvious that they, themselves, are gifts, and all you can say about the fact that the universe decided to connect you is “…Wow.”
That’s the case with This Guy, and that’s why he’s on this list. Because I would not be who I am without what he has brought to my life. I cannot even begin to explain how much this man has done for me. In some of my toughest moments, he was there, pulling me into his chest as I cried, giving me small treats (fresh juice! pastries! pocket change!), offering me access to and being a reassuring companion in worlds I had always longed to explore, making sure I kept breathing (like when he made a mentholated broth for me during Death Cough 2013, or kept me updated on the PM 2.5 levels and helped me find a a breathing mask when every place was sold out), making me laugh, encouraging me to strive higher for myself (like when he encouraged me to leave the mouse-and-roach infested hostel where we met — and I was resigned to staying — and join him in a better part of town), and just all-around supporting my dreams.
The funny thing is, we met when I had been on a writing roll; I was working on my book. However, from that very moment, we started spending nearly every day, all day together. I felt anxious about this; I was getting too distracted! I wasn’t working on my book! Little did I understand, I was LIVING my book, and the adventures we would have and the multi-lifetime bond our souls were resurrecting were much more important. How very fortunate I am for all the chapters in which he appears.
This man has inspired me, creatively and spiritually. He has been one of my greatest teachers. Without even realizing it, without even trying, he has revealed so much life-affirming truth to me about soulmates and karma and healing. About the perennial innocence of the soul. About the restorative and transformative power of gentleness. About the love that connects all of us. About not just enjoying the moment but maximizing its pleasures, to enjoy this ride that is life more fully. He has deepened my trust in the hand of fate, and because of what I have seen through him, I have a deeper reverence for humanity’s long epic, the beauty of its masterpiece-in-progress. And I have more FAITH in humanity, too. I recognize that even when things go dark, and we stumble, and we break things, there is nothing we might break that cannot be repaired, we will find our footing — we will help each other up — and the light will always come back.
He has also taught me about myself. I am more confident, more in touch with the strength and courage that had always been within me, because he saw them and pointed them out. I am more easygoing, more trusting in the universe’s benevolence. I am better about self-care, because I recognize now that I abstained for far too long from things I always deserved. And I appreciate that he sees and defines me not as most others always did (i.e., through my intellect), but through my compassion, my loyalty, my integrity, my dignity, my resourcefulness and tenacity, my commitment to my highest hopes and dreams.
When I first arrived in Berlin 3 years ago, I was not even on German soil for 12 hours before I set my alarm for not-yet-dawn, hopped on a bus, and traveled all the way across the country to see him again. Three years after that — and four years after we met — I am very thankful for the fact that we’ve been able to see each other so many times since. When we said good-bye in Shanghai in 2013, we never imagined we would meet again, let alone end up living in the same country. But I can see now that that had always been fate. This Guy is someone I hope can always be in my life. I could go on forever about things I admire and appreciate about him, but I also know that he’s humble, so I won’t start listing everything here. I will just say that I admire and appreciate his very being. There’s no one else quite like him, and I am thankful for the healing, the wisdom, the freedom, the growth, and the inspiration his soul has brought to my journey.
Reflect on the people who mean a lot to you. How have they helped you to see yourself in a more loving light? Feel gratitude for them — and for what they’ve shown you about your own beautiful qualities.