25 years ago, on a Friday night, Tracy and I went on our first date.
There’s a wonderful, socially ackward story about me chickening out of the original plan, then a late-evening missed phone call, and an eventual midnight movie. If you ask us nicely, we’ll tell you our conflicting versions of the story. There even a bit of debate about the exact movie we saw; We’re pretty sure it was Silence of the Lambs. (Yes, we opted for a midnight showing for our first date. I’ll let that settle in for a few moments.) On the other hand, the movie might possibly have been a spectacularly horrible movie titled Warlock, which no one has ever heard of. So sometimes we tell the story with it being Silence of the Lambs and sometimes it’s Warlock. Long ago, I think we used to argue about this when we told the story… now, I can’t even remember which of us argued for which movie.
Tracy is awesome, and I love her very much! We are still in love. …but, this isn’t a ‘Happy Anniversary!’ card addressed to Tracy.
I firmly believe that there’s no single perfect person for me. I am not a “special snowflake”. And if – as the old saying goes – Tracy “is one-in-a-million,” then she’s one of about 8,000 perfect people for me alive at this very moment.
What makes me special in some ways is the same thing that makes her special in some ways: We have both invested a large portion of our lives in each other. We’ve both spent 25 years working each on our own selves, and have continued sharing the improved versions with each other. The “institution” of marriage doesn’t magically make our relationship special; I, and she, made the relationship special by working on it.
25 years ago I was a totally different person. I was (just simply by definition) on some path through life. There was absolutely no way I could have selected the perfect person for me. I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know my future. I didn’t know how my path would evolve. How could I possibly pick someone who was compatible then, and would grow and change to remain compatible for 25 years.
In one sense, I was extremely lucky to find someone who turned out to be able to adapt and grow in some sort of way that somehow remained compatible with my ever-changing general insanity. But in another much more important sense, we both have spent huge amounts of time talking, arguing, discussing and growing together. So today, it’s not that the luck we had years ago was special or unique – because “humans meet” happens constantly every day – it’s that we somehow stood by that bit of common, every-day luck and worked on it for 25 years.
People change. People age. People get sick and die. Life moves ever forward. The love at age 20 is nothing like the love at age 40, or – as far as I can tell at this point – the love at age 80. (eg, Old Love.)
What matters most to me is that I continue to honestly work on who I am. Only by doing that work do I continue to be worthy of a relationship such as we’ve created so far.
Here’s to another 50 years! Huzzah!!