Thursday, November 4, 2010

The 7th Mile

It’s the week of our 7th year anniversary and I’m trying to recall all of the different places we’ve celebrated it in previous years.  Davis, Reno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles… And as any semi-competitive person in a relationship can attest, also figuring a way to one-up the previous years.  It’s the challenge I give myself, whether it be anniversaries, birthdays, and New Year celebrations:  How do I make this year better than the previous year? 

The Answer:  I can’t.  The truth is, I have no control over how a year will pan out.  Nobody does.  A year is a great one or a really dismal one based on the series of events and milestones that occur during that time.  Last year when we celebrated our 6th year anniversary, we had just gotten engaged and moved into our condo together.  Year 6 was amazing – as huge a milestone for our relationship as it was the first year we got together.  That was a happening that I didn’t plot or control.  And now that I think about it, it never would have happened if Years 2 – 5 didn’t suffer and put in the brunt work to help contribute to a happier Year 6.
And perhaps it’s not even the year in and of itself that makes the anniversary special, but the series of events and years leading up to it.  The act of even achieving it.  Every successful year that passes is a testament and marker to our relationship as a whole – a public statement that shows “Yes, we made it this far and we’re aiming for yet another year to reach together.”  When I was training for the half-marathon last year, I couldn’t measure my success by whether or not I completed the entire race.
I had to start by celebrating the mile by mile achievements – my first 3 miles, then 4, then 5, until I saw myself running my first ever 13 miles.  But during that time of training, every mile past mile 4 and up until the end was a true “milestone” for me.     

I like to measure my relationship with J by the same standard.  With our partners, every year that passes is its own mile-moment worth celebrating.  That’s another 365 days of learning how to work and compromise with another person, gaining a deeper understanding of each others’ nuanced personalities, and giving our partners’ room to change and grow as we do the same.  Every one of those days will look different as you continue to progress in this race.  While I can’t guarantee whether the year will turn out to be a great one or a difficult one, I’m still proud of us for reaching this moment.  Even with the upcoming wedding and a million distractions coming our way during this busy year, we’re taking the time to celebrate this 7th year mini-victory – one of many, many to come in this relationship marathon. 

Good thing I built up my mental endurance.

{Photobooth Pauline & J, circa 2004}

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