Friday, August 16, 2013

10 years. And Lessons Learned.

I'm a huge fan of witnessing the growth of the people I love.

I am not, however, a fan of being in the spotlight.

Yet, 10 years ago, on this very day, I was surrounded by a very select group of people that I love and admire as they witnessed me embark on my biggest emotional journey yet.

I was 29 years old. I thought I knew it all. Nothing left to learn. Looking back on that day, I had no idea just how much I had to learn about myself, my life and love.


I'm not sure we will leave this earth and our bodies understanding everything about Love, but I do know that the person that stood up in front of those chosen loved ones with me has taught me more than I could ever know.

10 years ago, I stood beside my friend, Steven, and we stood on the ledge of commitment and took the leap.  Or, shall I say, we buckled ourselves into one of the craziest, sometimes frightening, and most exhilarating roller-coaster ride either one of us has ever encountered.

10 years ago, we were young. We believed we were invincible. We weren't given a handbook about how to handle the ups and downs of the ride we were on. And, you know what? I'm pretty happy no one told us what to expect.

10 years ago, and even as recent as a year ago, I thought I knew myself.

10 years ago, and even as recent as a year ago, I believed that I knew how things should be, how people should behave, how this was going to look. I was convinced that I was in control of our destiny.

Often, I forgot that I had a co-pilot. An often silent, yet very observant, co-pilot.  A very capable co-pilot.

My husband.

My husband has witnessed my trials and errors as a human being, and as a wife. His even personality and sense of direction has kept us pointing in the right direction. His patience and willingness to just be with me have taught me so much.

So, today I reflect on some of those lessons;

Loyalty is a Priceless Gift
I have never met a more loyal person than my husband.
He is loyal to his friends. He'd stop the world for them, if they asked him to.
He is loyal to his family.
He is loyal to me.
I've never had someone be as devoted to me as he has been.
That is a gift.

Score Cards
Don't keep score cards in your marriage.
This is something we are working on in our relationship. We haven't perfected the art of letting past (small) wrongs go. Yet.
But we're working on it.

If I can offer you any marriage advice at all, it would be "Do not keep score".

That's what sports are for.

Love is a (roller coaster) ride
Yep. Love is like a roller coaster. And guess what? It isn't just ONE roller coaster. It's a series of them.

When you first fall in love with someone, you'll do anything. You'll sit in that uncomfortable bucket as the safety bar comes down on you and squishes your lungs. And you'll do it with a smile.
You'll excitedly get moved along in anticipation as the car crawls along the tracks, slowly gaining speed as it chugs up...up...up and then pauses for a moment... before it absolutely takes your breath away as it careens down at lightening speeds, blowing your hair back. Just as you catch your breath, it lures you back into trusting it's predictable measure before turning you upside down ( your hair all amess- and you're now horrified that your new love is seeing you so out of control). It takes you up and down again as you grip the safety bar tightly, while screaming a mixture of fear and delight.
And then, you repeat that cycle over and over again. Sometimes on different rides. Sometimes on the same one.

Occasionally, the view looks the same. Other times it looks unfamiliar.

After awhile, you don't care if your partner sees your hair all messy. (Try not to let this become a habit)

Sometimes the same ride makes you elated, other times it makes you nauseous.

But if you have someone who is prepared to ride the ride with you, it is always worth it in the end.

I'm a Jerk
My husband didn't teach me this. I just figured it out.

I'm a selfish, lost, scared asshole at times.
I'd like to say that he is a selfish, lost, scared asshole. And sometimes he is.
But my jerky days have certainly outnumbered his. Trust me on this.

I admit it.

I'm done being a jerk.

I'm also ready to smile more. And let the little things go.

The Grass is Greenest Where you Water It
It's easy.
If your marriage was a garden, no doubt it would have beautiful flowers, lush bushes and green grass, and it would sometimes grow weeds.

You have to pull the weeds in order to stop the spread of a toxic environment that would eventually choke out all of  your colorful blossoms.

Weeds resemble resentments, promises broken, things left unsaid and other people who don't have your best interest at heart.

Take care of identifying which invaders have pushed their way into your soil, and deal with them accordingly.

It's tempting sometimes to just just give up and  let your grass whither and grapple for oxygen instead of watering it and giving the blades the tender loving care they need.  Sometimes it's intriguing to admire other people's gardens and become envious of their lovely displays. You may not know how much work and love, frustration and time has gone into someone else's garden. Or whether it has hidden thistles hidden between 2 fully blossomed flowers.

Water your own lawn. Tend to your own flowers. Create your own paradise.

The Importance of Bread Crumbs
Lillian Hellman is quoted as saying "People Change and Forget to Tell Eachother".

So true. I see it every day. In families, in friendships, and in marriages.

I believe that regardless of whether or not we are tied into relationships; be it with our spouses, friends, or even our parents and children, we all are on our own journey.

Sometimes we are exploring the world together, and sometimes we go off on our own path for awhile.

Luckily, Steven and I always left "bread crumbs" out for eachother as we explored our own lives, our own demons, our own dreams.

The important thing to remember is that sometimes we walk together, and sometimes we are ahead or behind in our personal growth. But if we tell those we love where we are going, and leave a trail for them to follow, they will usually catch up or circle back to be with us.

You CAN come home again
It's possible to fall in love with your partner over and over again.

If home is that place in your heart where one can go and remember how love felt at the moment when it felt the deepest for you, then yes, you can go back home.

Visit that place often.

Remind yourself daily what home feels like.
And, then, live there.

We live there now. 

The lessons were worth it. Every moment.

Happy Anniversary, Steven. xo