(...or at least the before and after part of it).
It was May 28th.
There was a conversation I had with my co-worker earlier that day that was basically me reflecting on how I am trying to live in the now, and not the future. As the future becomes closer to the moments I want right now, I know that those moments I long for in the future are going to happen before I know it. I don't want to be so caught up in the future that I miss the moments happening right now.
In the back of my head, I was referring to getting engaged. To dreams of when he'd propose and how exciting it would be to marry him. But instead of longing for that day, I wanted to just focus on today. That day would happen one day, but until then, I wanted to be happy in the right now moment.
That night Eric and I went and grabbed a drink and as he was talking to me, I had this surreal but peaceful feeling come over me. I was watching his facial expressions and how excited he was about the story he was telling me and I thought to myself, wow, he's my boyfriend, how amazing is that? Our relationship together hasn't always been seamless, but it's been really, really amazing. That being said, there have been so many times where I've been so caught up in the future that I've forgotten to enjoy the right now moments. And so for me, this moment was crucial. I had zero idea he'd be proposing in a few hours, and that soon he'd become my fiancé. To reflect on him being my boyfriend brought me to the present, where I realized, despite all the unknowns in our future, right now is exactly where I wanted to be with him. I needed that moment because when we've been married for 30 years and things maybe don't feel as exciting as before, I will always be able to remember what it felt like to date him. I will always remember why I first got together with him and why being with him is one of the greatest things that's happened to me. I will always remember sharing a drink that night and being so happy he was my boyfriend. I didn't know it then, but that moment was important for me because it was closing a chapter with a memory and feeling I needed to remember, allowing me the space to open a new one.
There’s this thing called “observer’s paradox,” where basically one will act differently than they normally do when they know they’re being watched. While I had no idea Eric was going to propose that night, I can’t lie and said I hadn’t thought about a million and a half times and wondered what it would be like. Of course, cameras always appeared to be in the proposal scene, until one day I had this realization that I didn’t want there to be cameras there. Why? Observer’s paradox. I think it’s beautiful that so many people have been able to capture their engagements on camera, and I love seeing photos and videos of proposals, but it’s not what I wanted. I didn’t want to feel observed, because I knew my reaction would change. My posture, my smile, my words… I just wanted them to be genuine, free and intimate. I never told this to Eric, but he must have read my mind.
Eric proposed with not a single camera in sight. It’s partially why I was caught so off guard, and it’s exactly what I wanted and needed. Being observed is similar to how I can get caught up in the future, or even observing photographs of the past. Having this moment be so private allowed me to be completely sucked in to the moment. I love that it was pitch black and we were alone and that this moment is forever locked in my mind. I love that I can remember this moment through the words I wrote later that night when I was too excited to fall asleep and through the images burned into my mind. I love that this moment is ours.
I want to keep this moment just ours. It doesn’t matter how he did it or where he did it, it just matters to me that it happened. And while I could write another entire blog post about the proposal itself, it’s not actually about our story. It's about how we live out our story with one another, and those we interact with daily.
While that moment was so significant and has and will continue to change the rest of mine and Eric’s life, that moment isn't even what it's all about. It's about all of the moments we are going to continue experiencing, the good ones and the bad ones, the easy ones and the hard ones. It's about the moments where we choose to grow together when we are frustrated with one another instead of growing apart. It's about when we will laugh so hard it makes us cry and when we've cried so much we will choose to laugh instead. The proposal is one of the most significant moments of our lives but it's small in comparison to the future. It's small compared to right now. Where now that the buzz has died down and the excitement turns back to reality, we still want to be together and love each other even more.
That night was filled with so much joy, and it’s a joy I want to take with me for the rest of my life. I think it’s one thing to put on a smile when cameras are clicking and we know everyone is watching, but it’s another thing to put on a smile when no one is watching. This is the joy I’m talking about. It’s been a theme in all of my latest blog posts… the behind the scenes moments, the quiet moments, the present moments, the insignificant moments, the mundane moments. It’s these moments where no one is watching and life is just happening that I want to fill with so much joy. Because even though these moments seem small, they’re the moments that are going to make up our daily lives, and therefore, these are the moments that really matter. These are the ones I want to continue living and giving value to. These are the moments that give me joy.
I really don’t have a single photo to show you of that night, and this blog post isn't actually about how he proposed. The only photo I have is one I took later on that night after we got home. I told Eric that we needed at least one photo of us to look back at later. The photo is dark and grainy and our hair is everywhere and we both look tired and there’s not even a ring in it. But it makes me smile every time I look at it.