Over the last month, I have tried so many times to write here. In the past, I have written about some of the darkest moments of my life with greater ease than dealing with the normal life stresses of the last few weeks.
My husband and I moved across the country to a place I love and have missed so much since I last lived here over 10 years ago. It is hard for me to believe that I am back here. I honestly thought I would never be more than a visitor again to the Bay Area, and as we made the long road trip to get here, I had to pinch myself just thinking about it.
We have not had the best luck since our move, in fact the move itself was a horrible experience. Things that should have panned out work wise for me just didn’t, and my husband’s job search has been so much slower than I hoped for him. What I hoped would be a huge confidence boost for him has instead seemed to help solidify some of his deepest worries.
I have been in worse straits than this, in far more financial trouble, and even worse, I was alone in dealing with it. But I have learned that being with someone only means you worry more…it’s not just me that is affected by our move, by my ideas, by my plans-- it is also affecting someone I love dearly. I hate to see him in pain, and as things have seemed to go from bad to worse, I have blamed myself for moving us out here.
But the truth was, we were already struggling before the move. This move has given us the only real hope of better careers, decent salaries, and a future with some savings and possible retirement plans. That was why both of us made this decision, something my husband has reminded me of several times since we got here. This was our decision, not just mine.
I feel like I am learning new lessons every day. First, marriage is tough. Especially as stubborn as we both are, and because we were both set in our (single) ways for some time before we got together. We have both had to make adjustments, compromise, and learn to navigate the tricky waters of being a “we”. There is not a moment that I would take back or give up, but there are tough days. I think about the fact that my husband and I know we are meant to be together, we know neither one of us is going anywhere-- we are in this for the long haul, and yet, we still fight and struggle. How do people make it if they don’t have that foundation? In so many ways, I am glad I got married a little later in life. There is magic in finding your soulmate at a young age, but there (hopefully) is some wisdom and maturity in finding that person a little later in life. I think back on snap decisions and harsh judgments I made when I was in my twenties, just how much I have changed now…for the better. I am thankful I was only dealing with my life decisions and screw ups back then, and not directly involving my life partner at that time.Yesterday, my husband and I laughed—a lot. It was one of those days when we just enjoyed each other, despite a stressful week approaching, and the juggling act we are playing right now with paying our bills. All of that weighs on us some days more than others, but yesterday, we were just enjoying the time together. Finally, when we went to bed, Shea fell asleep and I was awake thinking about the day and how completely myself I am with him, how unbelievably silly and real I can be around him, without concern or shame. I have never had that with anyone else. It’s sad, but true. There was always a guard I kept up, or someone I was trying to be for someone else—which I was sure was better than the real me. The great thing is that Shea is equally himself, and I know that this reality we are living is tough at times, but intrinsically genuine.
Laying in bed last night, I felt a twinge of panic. Over the last year, I have had several of these episodes where I lose my bearings for a few moments, thinking of losing Shea—not having this other part of me. I have learned all too well through the loss of friends, through stories in the newspaper, and shared through friends on Facebook, that there are no promises. I realized that over the years and through relationships, I would worry about losing a boyfriend, or someone close to me, but not the way I worry now. There is this unbelievable depth in truly baring your soul and being so real with someone. I thought about how hard it would ever be for me to replicate the simplicity of that ease between us with anyone else, and how I wouldn’t want to. Despite our struggles, even though there are times when we are truly at odds, I am so thankful for what I have with Shea and I want the whole cliché of growing old together, sitting in rocking chairs on some wraparound porch together.
Finally, over the last week, we both have seen our luck turn. We both have better work prospects, interviews, and we have some hope that the tide is changing. In the scheme of things, it hasn’t taken that long. We have only been here a few months, but it has seemed like a lifetime at times, waiting for the phone to ring. Things aren’t perfect yet, and a lot of what we are hoping for hasn’t materialized, but there has just been a shift in the way we are looking at things and the way we feel.
I know we made the right decision to take this risk and move here together and make things happen.
More than anything, I know we’re in this together, all of it. Every minute-- good and bad, raw and uncensored, blissful or bleak.
I try and think about how we will look back on this time…what I want to remember. I don’t want to remember the arguments, the stress, the worry—although that’s part of it. Mostly, I want to remember that this time was when we really pulled together and learned what being “we” and “us” meant. After the wedding, the flowers, the vows, almost two years of marriage, all the adjustments and learning, that THIS was when we knew that we could make it through anything life handed us.
I hope we will also remember it as the time just before everything clicked into place and the choices we made all made sense.
But, I’ll have to get back to you on that last part…or rather, we will.
The beautiful papercut art featured in this post is by artist Joe Bagley. Visit his etsy shop by clicking here.