Deep thoughts, random insights, and musings by Susan Jacobs

Monday, June 02, 2008

An unexpected, and happy, turn of events

(Here is my final column for The Jewish Chronicle:)

Almost exactly eight years ago, after completing graduate school in New York, I went with a friend, Chana, to visit the Statue of Liberty, something I had not managed to do in five years as a student in the big city. Since I was preparing to move to Pittsburgh, I decided to finally check some items off my New York to-do list.

During our journey that day, Chana and I chatted about graduate school, jobs, the city, and, inevitably, our social lives. Chana, who is older than I am, had some fairly outlandish tales about bad dates she had endured, and we laughed together about our experiences.

I don’t recall speaking to her in the weeks that followed as I completed my move and started my new job in Pittsburgh. Then, in early September, just over three months since we had commiserated about our dating woes, Chana called me with the good news that she was engaged to a man she had met since we last saw each other. I was delighted for her, and encouraged that I would eventually have good news of my own in that area. I went back to New York for her wedding, and she advised me that “G-d’s salvation comes in the blink of an eye,” a sentiment that comes from the ancient Sages.

I have often thought about those words in the last eight years. I am fortunate to be predisposed to having a positive outlook on life, and I also have an appreciation for unexpected plot twists and reversals of fortune. While I have certainly had moments when I doubted that I would ever meet a man with whom I would want to share my life, the hopeful voice inside of me always said, “Just wait, you may be pleasantly surprised.”

The voice was right.

(It is worth noting that my mother was also right, since she encouraged me to move to Pittsburgh, and to stay here, even though others advised me to go back to New York to improve my dating odds.)

A few months ago, after enduring countless blind dates and other awkward situations, I agreed to date yet another young man who was suggested to me as a potential match. While I thought he was good-looking from the photos I had seen of him, and he sounded nice on the phone, I was filled with doubts. I wasn’t sure that we would see eye to eye on a number of issues and thought that our interests and lifestyles might be too different for us to forge any type of long-term commitment. I was guarded, and defensive.

In spite of being convinced before we ever met that he would be all wrong for me, I managed to walk away from our first date with the strong impression that he was extremely kind and thoughtful. I was taken aback when he suggested that we get together a second time. I agreed.

Still, I couldn’t imagine that we would ever get married.

Fortunately, it did not take very long to change my mind about that. The more I got to know Jonathan, the more I liked him, and the more I saw that differences between us were insignificant compared to our very important similarities. Exactly two months after we met, Jonathan proposed and I accepted. After years of disappointment and frustration, my life had indeed taken a wonderful turn in the blink of an eye.

Since then, life has become a tailspin of wedding preparations and plans to move to Baltimore, where Jonathan lives. As a result, I will be leaving my job at The Chronicle in a couple of weeks.
I am sad to be leaving Pittsburgh and The Chronicle, but happy that it is for such a wonderful reason. And, who knows? Maybe someday life’s journey will bring me back to Pittsburgh again.

It has been a privilege to write this monthly column, and I have enjoyed and appreciated all the feedback I have received from readers. I especially appreciate all the warm wishes I have received since my engagement announcement was printed a few weeks ago.
I wish all of you the happiness and fulfillment that I have found.


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