Life is a little more hectic than usual these days. I stare at the ring on my finger, still so new to me—the ring and the idea of it. At the age of 40, starting this journey with someone who has also never been married, is almost strange—but beautiful at the same time.
Both of us have had heartbreak in our past, and both of us doubted this ever would happen. So every step is a little sweeter because we waited so long. For me, it was a more painful journey than I would have wished for, but this happy ending is making up for a lot of old wounds.
Years and years have passed since I wore one of many bridesmaids dresses for friend’s weddings. Those were the years when everyone I knew was getting married, and I wanted so badly to follow in their footsteps. I felt like an outsider, like there was something wrong with me that I wasn’t planning my future with someone at the age of 22. I can remember vividly the bittersweet moments at friend’s weddings—so happy for them—so moved by their commitment and joy—but on the car ride home, a sadness would hit me wondering if I would ever find that kind of love.
Over the past few weeks, I have started planning our wedding. We have found a church, made our wedding list, looked at cakes and invitations. I bought my wedding dress last week and picked out the bridesmaid dresses with my maid of honor. When I first started planning, it felt awkward to think about trying on dresses, asking friends to be bridesmaids. At this age, women might be planning a second wedding, not a first. I wondered if I would stand in the dressing room at the wedding shop, surrounded by twenty-somethings, and just feel old and out of place.
But I didn’t.
I felt incredibly happy, lucky, excited, and in love. All the things a bride-to-be should feel. And I was surrounded by twenty-somethings. Looking around, I felt I might have something they didn’t—a little wisdom—and an even a deeper appreciation for the blessings I have. For the hope of it all—the days to come—and the knowledge that years and years of loss and disappointment can lead you to your very own happy ending. Nothing you could have foreseen or planned, nothing anyone else could have predicted.
I am enjoying all this planning—the chaos, the creativity, and even the stress. And I am careful not to take one moment for granted. Both of us remind ourselves how lucky we are all the time—and how worth the wait all of this was.
I have an absolutely beautiful ring on my finger. I catch myself staring at it often. And as cliché as it may sound, it is even more beautiful because of what it stands for—what it means—what I waited and hoped for. I honestly had given up on all of this ever happening for me.
And finally, it has…all at the ripe old age of 40.