I turned 41 in October. My wife, Emily, who celebrated her birthday today (11/17) is right behind me. While we were at dinner this afternoon, it occurred to us that we’ve celebrated more birthdays together than we celebrated apart. We’ve finally tipped the scale and have spent more than half our lives together. Our relationship is a gift to me in so many ways, but one is the ways in which we continue to allow each other enough space to grow and change, shifting with the times and needs of each stage of life. When you love someone, it is amazing to watch that person evolve and age with time. To share life so closely with another is envigorating as it is challenging, but to do it in the context of love is the best place of all. I am who I am in no small part to this person who I have spent 20 years side-by-side with.
After birthday dinner, we talked about how many of our friends have told us that their forties were their most favorite decade, I’m prepared to have that kind of positive experience myself, but honestly, each decade has been good, even when it was hard. Today, as I write this (11/19) I am reminded that 16 years ago my step-father killed himself. I’m reminded of many other loved ones we’ve lost, and countless failures and mistakes I’ve made over the years. But I also have so much to be grateful for from the past 20 years of being together.
Here’s just a short list of a few things that have happened in the midst of Emily and I creating a life together:
- We have three wonderful children together
- Lived in four states
- Had 6 different full-time jobs and many more part-time gigs
- Visited Paris, England, Ireland, and Scotland
- Visited many states and had two cross-country road trips
- Lived in 8 different homes
- We’ve lost a parent and all of the rest of our grandparents
- We have suffered the loss of many dear friends
- The evolution and maintenance of faith, political views, and expectations for everyday life.
- Experienced plenty of broken relationships, and sometimes saw them restored.
- And so much more, how do you sum up almost 20 years in a list?
But the thing that stands out to me the most is the friendship. The friendship on one person over a long storyline of ups and downs, multiple climaxes and resolutions, laughter, joy, tears, and heartache. Each turn of the page more revealing, more dynamic that the last.
Emily, I wouldn’t change a thing. And I’d do it all over again. Repeatedly. I look forward to the next 20 years and how we improve upon the storyline.