Growing up, I was a “choir kid” (and a dancer for 15 years) which led to a very deep-seated love for musicals. Not unlike many people who enjoy musical theater, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Rent – which makes sense, seeing as it is based on my favorite opera, Puccini’s La Bohème.
(If you’ve never seen either, I suggest getting on that ASAP.)
While they both have an incredible storyline, that’s not so much what got me thinking about it today. Well, kind of. There’s a song in Rent, maybe you’ve heard it, called “Seasons of Love.” (I’ve linked the Glee version – give it a listen if you’ve never heard it.)
Today, LJ and I are celebrating our first year together. 525,600 minutes of navigating life together.
And what better way to measure a year, than in love?
There’s a lot you can learn about another person in a year, and even more to learn about yourself. When this photo was taken, we were just beginning to scratch the surface. It was our third date, and we went to a Carolina Hurricanes game. I couldn’t even tell you who won the game (I’m pretty sure the Canes lost, honestly), because we were too busy talking and laughing. That was before the clock started on our first official 525,600 minutes – and even then, I knew I was on to something good.
Those first few weeks were a whirlwind of 350 mile roundtrip drives back and forth from NC to SC, the night I thought I lost one of his dogs, and finally me asking him when he was going to start calling me his girlfriend. (He didn’t waste any time after that, and asked me the very next day.)
Our ‘us’ officially started November 18, 2016 – and what an incredible ride it has been.
I’ll be honest, for the first few months a part of me kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. “He’s such a good guy… Almost too good,” I would think to myself. “There has to be a ‘but’.” Isn’t it sad how we all too often become accustomed to believing that if something feels too good to be true, it must be? How hard we fight to disbelieve that love doesn’t have to hurt, or feel bad, or make us feel small?
Luckily for me, that “but” never came. Sure, sometimes he gets on my nerves when he won’t tell me what sounds good for dinner, or when the alarm goes off in the morning and he won’t get out of bed – but we all have those quirks. I know I certainly have my own, and God bless him for loving me through them.
This year we celebrated a handful of birthdays together, including my 23rd and his 27th. We visited 11 states together, including my home
state commonwealth of Pennsylvania and his home state of Delaware. We witnessed three incredible and inspiring couples vow their love and commitment to each other. We took our first big trip together, and fell even more in love over gelato and mural walls in Houston, TX.
We watched too many football games and wrestling matches to count, and survived strep throat, a pesky upper respiratory infection, and a spinal disc herniation. I dragged him onto more dance floors and into the frame of more photos than he’d ever allow otherwise, and in return I’ve learned the ins and outs of more than a few video games. But through it all, we’ve learned balance.
Relationships aren’t 50/50 – they’re 100/100, sometimes 150/150. They’re putting in the work when things get hard, making the time even when you’re tired. They’re about learning to use your words to express your feelings because the other person can’t understand what your tears are saying; knowing when to take a step back to allow the other person to cool off – and when to pull them closer.
When I think of measuring our first year together, I want it to be measured in laughter. In late nights snuggled on the couch, and big Sunday morning breakfasts. In episodes of The Americans and Game of Thrones, in Papa John’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. In miles in the car, and trips we’ve made to Lowes.
I’ve learned a lot about LJ this year, and I’m sure he would say the same about me. I’ve learned about balance and about compromise. But more than anything, I’ve learned a whole damn lot about love.
And if I could choose only one thing to measure our first year together on – that’s what I would choose…
I don’t know everything, but I do know that of the things we’ve been give – love is the greatest of all.
And I know I can’t wait for a hundred more years, and to measure them all in love.