Saturday, July 2, 2011

The best years of your life

Recently I was helping my bff at an event her company did the PR for (meaning we were “working” aka eating chocolate and drinking wine while making money because we are awesome) and she mentioned that she’d watched Oprah interview Shania Twain that week. Shania recently started talking publicly about finding out in 2008 that her husband was having an affair with one of her best friends… pretty much a worst nightmare situation.

“She just got remarried and she’s happy,” Sydney said. “And she said that she’s made peace with the situation. But she did say the only thing she was ever really bitter about was the fact that she spent the best years of her life with that man.”

That really struck a chord with me. After all, I never intended to marry young, but I did. I met a guy I thought was the most gorgeous man on the planet at only 18 and after a long friendship when he finally asked me on a date, I couldn’t have been more eager to accept. Neither of us had any idea that it would become what it has, but it did. Despite my vow to remain single through college, I didn’t. And despite all the odds that were against us and the challenges that come from loving someone when you don’t know who you are yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Still. The best years of your life. That’s a lot to think about. I’m an optimist and believe the best is always yet to come. I’ve loved nearly everything about my twenties but I’m looking forward to my thirties and I can only hope I’ll feel that way about my forties at 39. Eventually, though, you’ll end up elderly (if you’re lucky) with not a whole lot to look forward to. It’s then that all you’ll have (again, if you’re lucky) is your memories. And if you live right, that will be enough and you’ll be grateful for them. But the thought of reaching that point and having sorrow and regrets is pretty terrifying.

One year ago, before the great road trip, I was almost smug about my marriage. I thought we’d survived all we possibly could and nothing would ever go wrong again because by God, we had this marriage thing down. One year later I stand humbled and with the knowledge that I will never think that again. You never know what life will throw at you and you never fully know what you can expect from even the person you know best in the world. People change. People do strange things. And being married gives you an all access pass to another person that no one else gets to see.

Six years ago today I walked down the aisle of a church on a hill and spoke my vows and meant every word with my whole heart. One year ago I did the same thing in a tiny little chapel in Vegas wearing a little white sparkly dress and a tiara. It was just the two of us but somehow it was just as special if not more so. Today I can honestly say I’d do it again. It’s entirely possible that my twenties have been the best years of my life. And I’ve spent them with a man who loves me unconditionally, supports me, challenges me, comforts me and always opens the jars.

I preach independence more than anyone. I tell other people to stay single in their twenties to fully get to know themselves. I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with being single at any age. Relationships, even the good ones, are tough and complicated at times.

But I think in the end you have to do what’s best for you. And looking back I see that spending the last decade with this man truly was the right decision for me. I think of all the goals I had for that decade and all the things I wanted to experience. I’ve gotten to experience all of them and be in a healthy relationship at the same time because I’m with someone who gets me. Even if things somehow don’t work out to forever like we plan (because I’ve learned to say you just never know) I will never allow myself to regret spending the best years of my life with him. After all, they’ve been the best years of my life mostly because of him.

They say an Aquarius woman is most loyal, ironically, when you give her freedom and space. I fit that profile perfectly. And I am so blessed to have met a man so young who not only understand me but respects me. He places me not on a leash, not in chains, not on a pedestal but right by his side and lets it be known that’s where I’m welcome to stay. And on this special day I’m so happy that it’s where I belong. Today I celebrate the best decision I’ve ever made along with the second best, moving to Seattle. I can’t wait to see what the next part of our adventure together holds but have no doubt they’ll be more of the best years of my life.

Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with. And I have.


Annie Boreson said...

Jessica, this is wonderful! Love that you realize that life changes and so do people, but you have landed firmly on your feet still in love with your man. This is an inspiration and I'm so glad I had the chance to read it today!

MOM said...

This one made me cry....I'm glad you met your other half that loves you completely. Each phase is just that a phase...a phase to live completely with no regrets and along the way you grow together. Big hugs sweetie...I gotta go get my tissues now:)

Anonymous said...

Well, you know that MY story hasn't turned out the way I thought it would. But even this early into the transition I can say that it's not all bad. Difficult? Sure, sometimes. But there is also fun that I'm rediscovering... and realising that I hadn't felt in a long time. For a bit I was concerned that my "best years" had gone by. Though now I realise that is rubbish - EVERY year can be your best year. So I am living in excitement, doing what I love, being present as much as possible when I am with my boys and just drinking in all that I can about the fun side of life.

Enjoy your life NOW...your light shines and it's brilliant you've found a man happy to shine his right next to you! :) xo

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful. Definitely an inspiration. Much love to you both! :)

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