About once a year something strange happens to me. I will see someone and distinctively recognize them as familiar. I have observed this phenomenon more intensely over the past 5 years and now call it ‘recognizing someone from my future’. I used to call this phenomenon ‘falling in love at first sight’ because many times it has resulted in a loving relationship of mutual attraction.

How does it happen?

Many years ago I walked into a concert venue and saw a gorgeous guy in full Scottish regalia. I stood 5 feet away from him as he did his final rehearsal in a 8 by 8 dressing room. Those bagpipes really belch out the tingly sound waves! Here is someone I do not know, never officially met but was distinctly attracted to in that same way I described before. A few years later he called me, out of the blue. I did help him with his project and that is how I got to spend a little bit of time with him. He promptly moved far, far, far away 🙁

This experience, spanning two years, was the first inkling that this intense feeling of familiarity I have with supposedly new people is not necessarily a cheesy romantic notion. I have put that to the test three or four times since. When I saw a strikingly familiar co-worker I had never met before at an office Christmas party, I simply asked his name and what he did. In the months that followed, co-workers organized lunches inviting both of us, made a point to put us on the same projects (a totally inexplicable diagonal move) and within 6 months, I was sitting across from him. Now that we have both gone on to greener professional pastures, it remains highly likely that we will work together in the future as key team leaders on a huge project… a project of our own making. As it stands he has been a fixture in my recent past and should continue to be a super important fixture in my future!

I prefer my sci-fi route of explaining intense initial connection as ‘recognizing someone from my future’ because in that and a few other cases, the attraction is not initially based on romantic notions. Perhaps it is because my dance card has been already quite full in the past few years but I am much more interested in changing the world a bit with someone rather than hooking up with them. While my interpretation has drawn some critique or chuckles, it’s not any crazier than saying ‘falling in love at first sight’ (which has so many strange implications if you are like me and feel that love is different from lust and lives at the sustainable convergence of intense attraction and prolonged attachment.)

I have become so intrigued by this phenomenon that the last time it happened to me, about a month ago, I was frozen in fear, looked away and made myself sparse when I recognized this lovely chap at a garden party in Europe. The recognizee managed to find me, sit next to me and sweep me off my feet in less than 30 minutes! He captured my entire attention for 2 unbelievably amazing days! That was the most instantaneous application of the word ‘future’ I had ever experienced…

Now imagine if I was in a monogamous relationship and experienced this once a year. In a zero sum relationship world where one is only allowed to love or have sex with ONE person, meeting someone excitingly new tends to throw monos in a tailspin of questioning. And that is an issue all to itself. I do not have to live by any other rules than the ones I make with those who are very close to me and I really enjoy getting super excited about someone new. I can’t get too caught up into this though because my ability to have multiple stable relationships spanning decades with a few men comes from being careful and stable when it comes to romance. I cannot and do not want to change my whole life on a dime to be with someone I barely know even if I ‘recognized them from my future’! When I spent two lovely days with the European cutie, it constantly amazed me how he seemed like he had spontaneously manifested from my fantasies. I mean that in a holistic way because I attend to fantasize about people with skills and character, not so much in terms of looks or physical fetishes. Please do not send me messages about ‘The Secret’, I already know what that is.

The tales of my impromptu meeting and adventures with the European cutie have become a source of giggles for my principal partner and I. He is the one who paid for my trip to Europe last month. I give him 100% credit for creating this amazing experience after seeing me cooped up, starving, coding a startup for a year while also taking care of him and my daughter.

As a consummate life hacker, I am trying to see how this incredibly entertaining phenomenon will change in the future. I cannot create this experience, I can only react to it. As I make an effort to get out more, it’s a mathematical fact that I will meet more people who could become fixtures in my future. If that is the case then, that means I would mysteriously recognize more than ONE person per year (my steady average for about 10 years). Would that be hard to manage? I already lament how I do not have enough time to spend with the half-dozen keepers in my life.

The future will tell 🙂