I’ve discovered my “ideal girl” about half a dozen times so far — and each experience has changed me.
In the second grade, there was Lisa Lane. By the fifth grade, Wendy Ford was the new standard. In the eighth grade, I met Gail James. Nothing immediately came of that, but by the time we were freshmen in college, we finally dated. For the next three years. I almost married her.
As an adult, there have been three other women, each one more perfect — in some way I couldn’t explain — than the previous one. Not a single one of the women has actually been perfect, of course, but I was changed in powerful ways by having loved each of them.
What I’ve slowly learned is that being in love brings out something like a superpower in me. I’m a different person when I’m in love. I can achieve more. I’m a better human being. I become a finer version of myself.
I’m coming to understand that this person is who I need to be all the time. Russian novelist Anton Chekhov understood this more than most.
“Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state,” Chekhov wrote. “Being in love shows a person who he should be.”
Being in love has shown me who I need to be. It has shown me the best that I can become.