My husband and I just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve. Ten years ago, when we were sipping cocktails poolside in sunny Aruba, I proclaimed that we would be back to celebrate our tenth anniversary. In the past ten years, like most couples, we have weathered a few heartbreaks: job loss, miscarriage, and the passing of a beloved parent, to name a few. And we have been blessed with more gifts than we deserve: two beautiful children, amazing friends and neighbors, job prospects, and a supportive and loving extended family. Not a day goes by that I don’t take a minute to express gratitude for all that I have. I am, without a doubt, a woman changed for the better.
On our tenth anniversary, I’m happy to report, we did not go back to Aruba to celebrate. Instead, we celebrated by returning to our hometown (where we got married) amid torrential rainstorms. We were exhausted as the stomach flu made its way diligently through our family. And after visiting relatives for a few days (two of those I sat home with a puking, quarantined child), we dumped the kids on my parents for the night and made our way to the historic hotel where we spent our wedding night.
It was perfectly uneventful. We blew off our dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant in favor of eating mediocre food in the hotel bar because it meant we didn’t have to move. My husband sent his steak back twice (the food really was that bad) and finally asked if he could just have a hamburger to eat in our room. We were asleep by 10 p.m. (that’s eight p.m. at home in Colorado). It was glorious.
I think anyone who knew me ten years ago would agree that I am a woman changed for the better. The me who sat poolside sipping cocktails ten years prior never would have considered a night like the one I just described a success. Ten years ago, I didn’t understand how lucky I was, and I rarely expressed my thankfulness to anyone else. By committing to the unknown, and taking a partner for better or worse, I have learned that love and happiness are a state of mind. Through the ups and downs over the years (every marriage has them), I’ve learned to let go of my overly rigid expectations (some of them anyway), to appreciate what I’ve got, and to stop complaining about what I don’t. It’s a work in progress, but, at ten years I’m really looking forward to how I’m going to change with ten more.