I have found that crushes have an interesting way of benchmarking personal growth.
Like the marks my brother and I made on the door of my bathroom growing up to measure our height as it corresponded with age (until he was finally taller than me), the kind of person you are attracted to is indicative of many things, not the least of which is your own maturity level.
Different people I've liked over the years can be viewed now as representative of where I was as an individual at the time. I sat down recently and made a list of them, and it made me smile as I re-lived those boys who had their day in the sun of my mind and will remain filed away on some non-descript archive shelf in my brain as people I once wanted to be with.
As I went through each one- the significant ones, not so much the passing interests, I found two commonalities that I had never directly considered before now. The first was that none of them are married or engaged, and I don't know how many are in relationships at all. This may not be saying much, since I'm not dating anyone either, but a number of them were older than me. Am I attracted to people afraid of commitment like I am? I myself am intimidated by the idea, so did I like these guys because I knew on some level I couldn't have them? Just because I go to weddings often doesn't make me any less terrified of marriage. Interesting... verrrrrry interesting. I never thought of myself as a masochist but this fact might suggest otherwise.
The second light bulb, which should have been more obvious, was that of the guys I've had significant crushes on, I have never ended up dating any of them. This was a doozy. Guys I've gone on dates with in the past have typically not been ones I'm that interested in dating. How does that happen? I create false and unrealistic expectations for guys I care about, essentially sabotaging the situation or don't even give it a chance to get off the ground before burying it. My crushes have been one self-fulfilling prophecy after another because the same cord that strikes when I like someone also triggers my doubt. In some ways this is a form of self-protection, and in many instances these guys did not know how I felt or may have only had inconclusive ideas of such feelings from me.
Such is life... I'm not pining after these guys and suddenly I gain some perspective.
I've had other guys who were passing interests but I am hesitant nowadays when I have these feelings because, according to my glaring failure of a track record, the guys I have crushes on are not the ones I end up dating. Why am I just now realizing this? Great question; I wish I knew the answer. We're not kids anymore- there is no more passing notes, checking boxes or having other friends handle your relationship woes. If you want something done, you've either got to handle it yourself or have some great telepathy skills.
Add that to the list of superpowers I am lacking, right behind flying and invisibility.
"...we accept the love we think we deserve."
-Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower