In my twenties, someone said to me “Timing is everything.”
I didn’t know what that meant. The advice came as yet another romantic relationship had failed. I believed love was enough to hold any relationship together.
Matt and I met 15 years ago. We were introduced in 2005. It was shortly after his divorce. I was at a Thanksgiving Day party. His friend approached me and said she had a friend who ‘would just love my look.’ Matt has a yen for Indian women.
We dated. I went to Sunday brunch at Mimosa in the same Diane von Furstenberg dress I went to dinner in.
We broke up. He promised to make dinner and get a bottle of wine from Bottle Rocket. I remember that he never made good on that promise each time I walk by that wine store on 19th Street.
Seven years passed. In 2011, we dated again. I was a business news anchor on a major news network. I woke up at 2:30am. Three alarms would go off in the mornings. Two in my bedroom. One phone call from the driver. A driver picked me up at 3:30am. I was into the Nasdaq broadcast studio by 3:45am. I was on the air, hair and makeup done, by 5am. Everyday.
He was on a normal person schedule. Schedules where folks had dinner at 7pm. After dinner drinks at 9pm. Bed by 10pm. Maybe 12pm.
We broke up.
Folks ask me, “Do you miss TV?”
I don’t miss the lack of balance. I am still a journalist. I’ve pivoted and poured my journalism into my leadership platform for South Asian executive women and founders. I present to a live audience that gives me instant feedback if they are bored, disinterested. Or leaving. I drive the programming.
A camera doesn’t react. It’s a piece of equipment.
We can have it all. But, as one of my mentors Jennifer Macaluso Gilmore once said, the key to ‘having it all’ is living life in chapters.
The first 20 years of my life was about being a TV anchor. This chapter is about becoming a dog owner. Home owner. And a wife.
This week at the Forbes Womens Summit, a famous Indian actress said something that stuck with me. Her father told her to marry a man who respected and honored how hard she worked for everything she had. She should not marry a minute before that. It validated why I held out to 45.
Many a lecture and many a intervention was staged about my single-dom. Many criticized me for ‘holding out for perfect.’
“Perfect doesn’t exist, Joya.” Yes, but I’m pretty clear on what’s perfect for me.
In 2017, I reached out to Matt. I was down with strep throat and binge watching the show “Outlander” for three weeks. If you knew me, you would know that me sitting still for 3 hours was unheard of.
I was ruminating on advice from my friends. Who had I let go of? Who was 80% of what I wanted. Who had I let it go, because I was hung up on this picture of perfection. Matt popped into my head. I sat up like a rocket. I fumbled through the 4,666 friends in my Facebook list. We were still connected there. “Hey Matt,” I wrote in Facebook messenger. “You probably don’t know this show Outlander. But I was watching it. And it made me think of you. Hope all is well.”
This November, it will be three years since that crap message.
This photo is more than a two faces. It’s a testament to timing is — — everything