As if it were yesterday

It’s so funny to me, because I remember the day as if it were yesterday. Two years ago to this day, I first met Eric. We met at Sutro Baths and I remember him giving me the biggest hug ever, which I thought was a bit strange as I’m not the biggest hugger, but I remember that hug so clearly, and he hasn’t stopped hugging since then. It’s so funny to me because I had zero idea who this guy was, but I remember taking photos together and hiking up through Lands End and feeling so comfortable and relaxed around him. I remember feeling safe around him and like I could completely be myself. I remember feeling pretty flattered, because he really liked my writing and blog posts. I remember thinking he was a great a conversationalist and asked really meaningful questions and gave very insightful answers, and that’s just him, that’s the Eric I met and still know. It’s so funny to me because as I was hiking through Sutro Baths with him, wondering who this really nice guy was, I had no idea that two years later I’d be engaged to him and that soon he’d become my husband. It feels so magical! And I can’t help but thank God and know that God knew exactly what he was doing, because I certainly didn’t. 

I have this journal that I’ve been writing in every day for the past 5 years. Each day it asks you a new question, and then repeats that same question on the same day every year. It’s really fun because without being able to say a lot, I can read something I wrote a year or two ago and instantly be taken back to that memory and how I felt that day. I’m almost done this journal. The last day of this journal is the day before we get married, and then I’ll start a new one, I’m sure. 

A few days ago we were back in San Francisco taking photos at Sutro Baths for a client. We hadn’t been back there together since the day we met, so it was nice to be there and relive some very special and quirky memories. 

We have no idea how life’s puzzle pieces come together, but I’m so thankful for each one of them, the good and the bad pieces, because together they make up something quite beautiful.

The one where I compare our life to Friends.

Tonight we booked flights to San Francisco which I am so excited about! It was two years ago that we met for the first time while we were both there, and we haven't been back together since. I'm excited to visit the place we met, to see a bunch of my closest girlfriends and introduce him to the ones he hasn't met yet. I'm excited to show him my old apartment and where I used to work. I'm excited to show him a part of where I became me and do that reminiscing thing together. 

Perhaps I am too honest, but I'd rather be real and honest then surface level and dishonest. Booking our flights tonight was exhausting. Him and I are both such passionate people when we're together and so all it takes is one little thing and suddenly we're arguing over which flights to take and then wondering how we even got there. Even now, I couldn't tell you. But ya know, tonight I was watching Friends, yes, Friends(!), and it was the season finale of the entire show (disclaimer: if you haven't seen Friends yet, stop reading because I'm totally about to spoil it, and yeah, it's totally possible to not have watched Friends yet because I just started the show for the first time in my entire life a few months ago). Ross and Rachel finally, finally, decide to stay together and here's what they say:

Rachel: No more messing around. I don't wanna mess this up again. 

Ross: Me neither, okay? We are - we're done being stupid. 

Rachel: Okay. You and me, alright? This is it.

And this is just it. There are so many of these stupid little things that we let get in our way where we forget what love and marriage is supposed to be about. We are never ever going to have a perfectly seamless relationship together, but every time we stop what we're doing and look at each other and say okay, we're done being stupid, it's you and me alright, that's it, it's like I see him for the very first time again and I realize that no matter what, this is the human I want to do all of these stupid little things together with, because I know that through all of it, there are going to be so many incredible things we experience together and he's the only one I want to do life with. 

Eric is really good at letting go. Me? Not so much. He's very quick to catch us when we're having a moment and tell us to stop worrying about some minuscule detail and then completely forgive and forget and move on. It's such a breath of fresh air and I'm trying my hardest to be better at letting go like he can. Which is funny, because, I have written post after post after post after post after yet again another post about letting go and here I am, still trying to let go. 

I think people like to think that love is all fairytales and magic. I think people like to think that they've finally "made it" when they get engaged or married or that their life has finally begun. I think people like to think that once they are married all of their problems are going to go away and they're going to be infinitely happy forever and ever and always. This is such a lovely thought that it scares me that some people think this and don't realize or forget that there is an entire other side to being with someone that is the exact opposite of this.

Life and love and being engaged and I'm sure marriage as well is filled with stupid little details that sometimes make you want to make scary faces but if you know how to navigate it, you'll be able to immediately turn around and laugh at whatever it was that was driving you crazy. Life and love and being engaged and I'm sure marriage as well is filled with things that are not fairytales and are really, really hard but I think as soon as you can get over this fairytale kinda thing, you'll create your own fairytale story, if that's what you want to call it. Because things sure as hell are never going to be perfect, but gosh, things can sure be beautiful. Like when Eric called me later and said, we sure are good at that thing we do where we basically turn on the blender without a lid on, and then we both started laughing hysterically because at the end of the day, those tiny, minuscule, stupid things don't matter except for the fact that I still love doing them with him, because him is what matters to me.

Love is really beautiful. It's also a choice. It's a mix of I'm-so-crazy-about-you-never-leave-me-I-miss-you-it's-only-been-five-minutes and oh-my-gosh-I-am-so-mad-right-now-but-I-am-committed-to-you-and-we-will-work-this-out because you love each other, and that's what love is. It's those magical ingredients of both desire and commitment and a whole lot of laughter that makes life with someone so great.

A new chapter.

It's crazy to me that the number of years I lived in San Francisco is almost the number of years since I moved away from San Francisco. Living in San Francisco felt like such a big chunk of my life, but when I look at a calendar, I realize how small that time was. It was important, yesI felt like I defined a lot of who I was and am and was able to develop my career therebut when I look at my life on a timeline or even on a map, I realize that chapter was so short. 

I’m walking into an entirely new chapter soon, the difference is, this chapter is part of something that becomes forever. It’s the difference between my single life and married life. I’ve never done anything like this before, and while I can say I have an idea of what to expect with being married, really, I have no idea what to expect. I have ideas of what I hope for and dream for, but I don’t know what kind of reality will set in. I don’t know what type of curve balls life will throw, I don’t know what in sickness and in health really mean or through rich or through poor. I just know that my entire life, there has always been a way out, a way to abandon ship. And I hate to say it, but it was that way out that always gave me some sort of peace. It didn’t have to be permanent. It didn’t matter who I was dating or where I lived or my job or any of that stuff because in the back of my mind, I knew a breakup was perfectly reasonable, as would moving to a new city be or quitting a dream job to find another. 

For the first time, ever, the thought of everything becoming so permanent, forever ever, doesn’t scare me. People have different opinions on marriage and forever, and for those people, I don’t disagree with their opinions, but for my life, entering into marriage means forever, and forever means marriage. I’m not saying I haven’t ever had my doubts, because trust me, I have. It’s just that for the first time I feel willing to fight for it, no matter what, in sickness and in health, whether rich or poor. For the first time I feel so willing to fight for it that I want to marry a person in order to be with him for the rest of my life no matter what crazy things come our way. Of course, there are going to be crazy good things that come our way, too, and the thought of being with Eric for the rest of my life brings me so much joy and happiness that it's taken everything in my power to not tell every single person I pass on the street how excited I am to marry my best friend. But I also know there will be hard times. I know there will be hard times and sad times and angry times and hurt times. And so, through marriage, that willingness to fight for someone and our marriage forever, along with the security in having that same someone promise to fight along side of me, has never given me so much peace, joy, love, expression, freedom, happiness, security, comfort, drive, determination or perseverance as anything else has in my entire life. For the first time in my life, I don't want a way out. Marriage is in so many ways a crazy idea. I've read so many marriage books lately and they all say the same thing (it's hard), but they also say, marriage is one of the best things they've ever done.

This next chapter is yet only another chapter, but it’s in a new book. It’s in a new book that we’re going to keep writing for the rest of our lives. And that’s pretty amazing to me.

The Proposal...

(...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.

-- 

(Latergram...)