Tuesday, November 20, 2012

my own dos equis: from waiting to XX years of love

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I have always had a fear of being wrong.

Somehow that never stopped me from being cocky and opinionated. Especially in my early 20s, when I preferred anything that was different, non-traditional, abstract, odd. Including men, which I preferred older. Much older.

I sneered at traditional column houses, platinum-trimmed bone china, and station wagons. I shunned shiny faced boys straight out of college. Modern architecture, geometric dinnerware, quirky stick-shift foreign numbers, and someone with laugh lines and a little graying around the temples - these were more to my liking.

If I had married in my early 20s, my hypothetical (and hopefully older) husband and I would have registered for china, purchased a car, chosen a house.

But what I liked in 1986 is not what I would want now. Our tastes change. Had I had married in my early 20s, I'm pretty sure by now I would have donated the dinnerware to Goodwill, ditched the car, and run screaming from the no-longer-contemporary house.

Which makes me wonder: How would the hypothetical husband have fared?

Hopefully we would have grown together and suited each other as we aged. But...what if we didn’t? What if our marriage became as outdated as the Aztec-themed dinner setting I liked when I was 23? What if he stopped growing? What if I made a mistake?

They never talk about this stuff in fairy tales. What happens after the “happily ever after”?

Fear of making the wrong choice kept me single for a very, very long time. Honestly, I thought I would never marry. It just seemed too risky. And I didn’t trust myself very much. It took a lot of living and a lot of mistakes to get to the point where I could even like myself. Until then, there was no way anyone was breaking through my shell. Better to be alone and content than married and miserable.

Then one day, just when I’d given up for good, the unthinkable happened. The right person walked through the right door at the right time. I looked at him and saw an attractive man who was confident and successful. He looked at me and saw an attractive woman who was confident and comfortable in her own skin.

Boy did we have each other fooled!

He was fresh out of a failed marriage and a stalled career, starting over in every way imaginable. He had seen “ever after” and found it wasn’t necessarily a happy place.

I was a bag of insecurity and doubt, tied up with guilt and fear. I was terrified of “ever after” and had written off relationships for good about four months before we met.

We made absolutely no sense together.

So of course we fell head-over-heels in love.

Twenty (XX) years later, my tastes have changed dramatically. My house has four columns in front. There is gold-rimmed porcelain in the china cabinet. I drive a minivan.

And every morning, I wake up next to The Most Interesting Man in the World  - my own dos equis - with his graying temples and a spark in his eye. The man I will never outgrow because we keep growing together.

Together we have built (and rebuilt) careers, a home, a family, a life that is richer in love than I could have ever imagined.

It’s nice to know I wasn’t wrong about everything.


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