Today is our ‘unofficial’ anniversary, we have been a couple for 18 years….my mind can barely wrap itself around that, nearly 2 whole decades side by side, 2 years away from the ‘tipping point’ of having been together longer than we haven’t in our lives, side by side for a full-grown adult amount of years.
I’ve mused and written lots about our relationship over the past 10 years or so, so I don’t know how much more I can add to it now; thinking about it last night though I can break up those 18 years into roughly 2 sections. The first 9 years or so (2003-2012) we were establishing and building; from dating to being in a long distance relationship on and off, finishing our schooling and deciding on our careers, getting married, moving to our permanent location, buying a house, and having our kids (in quick succession), we were always on the go, always moving on to the next thing, and basically growing up. The second 9 years (2012-now), we have been surviving and thriving (which sound like opposites but I think can live simultaneously in ones life); these years were spent surviving the early years of our kids’ lives (they were rough, as they are for everyone), surviving the early days of my business and of Dan’s new career path, hustling to make money to pay for our new house and to work on it, but then we also started to thrive as the kids got older and we became more settled. We vacationed, travelled, created traditions with the kids and with each other, we worked on our fitness and health, we made some big dreams, we found out what works for us and tried to make sure to get rid of what doesn’t. We went from late 20s to late 30s and whoo boy, do we sometimes feel it, but we also learned to (mostly) love it.
So what do I think the next 9 years will be like? I think they will be years spent transitioning; transitioning from having children to having teenagers and all the potential hardships that come with that (back to those early days of surviving in some ways, although honestly I look forward to the teenage years), we will be transitioning into middle age, going from late our 30s to late 40s (OMG) and grappling with effect of that – hair loss, sagging, wrinkles, changing sex drives, illness and injuries and so much more, we will both be transitioning into different situations with our jobs (that mid-life crisis sneaking up on us), and at the end of those 9 years, we will be entering a completely new phase-empty nesters. It’s going to be full of changes, but ones I’m certain we can handle, just like we’ve handled everything so far.
It’s the bravest thing I’ve ever done, giving my entire being to someone who could so easily destroy it, and yet I don’t regret it for a second. We are not perfect, we still work on communication and being vulnerable (especially me), but we also have so much history behind us, so many good memories stored in our ‘love banks’, that even during the challenging times, we’re able to get through and turn back to each other, time and time again.
A few nights ago we were reading in bed, legs entwined under the covers, and suddenly he breaks into fits of laughter over something completely, utterly stupid; he could not stop laughing for several minutes (he doesn’t laugh a ton in public, usually only I see him this way) and I thought:
“if this is it, this is enough.”
[Ok, about the photos; I got it in my mind last month that I wanted to take studio portraits of Dan. The last time I did this was in our home in 2014 using only natural light, and he has changed so much since then that I wanted to document it. He is still by far my favourite thing to photograph and despite some issues and my own self-doubt during the session, I’m really proud of what we created. The tulle shots were my idea but he completely brought them to life and I’m so, so thankful he is still my muse, quiet supporter and love.]