It is amazing that any friendship or relationship can stand the test of time. If anyone tells you they are the same person they were 10 years ago, they lie like a rug. There are so many facets to our personalities that grow, and sometimes contract, as we trudge through this thing called life. Lifelong friendships are hard to come by, and an enduring relationship nearly impossible to maintain. Finding someone who stands the test of time is truly special and unique. It requires bonds that are formed not on a single feature, a finite event, or shared experience but on a foundation of flexibility, love, respect and understanding. There is someone out there for everyone, but how can you find them?
Someone once told me the Prince Charming was not going to knock on my door while I was home washing my hair. Although this advice did not align with “The Rules: Time Tested Methods for Catching Mr. Right,” it did fit my personality more. Not one to play hard to get, I decided to take the Prince Charming advice and apply the same tenacious techniques to dating that I did to the rest of my life. If I wanted something bad enough; a grade in school, a position on the student counsel, a job or a phone number, I would just go out and get it, all while being myself.
It worked. Today marks the tenth anniversary of the day I met my husband. It often amazes me how much we have changed since that life altering meeting at a shady bar in Naperville, Illinois. We were two "kids", straight out of college, both far from home and trying to make the transition from campus to career. I was a New Yorker pursuing her ultimate dream of moving to the DC area, he a boy from southern Minnesota starting his life in the Twin Cities. We were both in Chicago attending training to become IT consultants. The cards were stacked against us; we were geographically and culturally incompatible, but somehow, we still connected.
The most valuable lessons I learned in the last ten years are to open my heart and my mind to new people, to take a chance on something crazy and to be myself. Be brave and approach that person who catches your attention in a bar, restaurant, airplane, bus, etc. Give that person who is brave enough to approach you a chance. Step outside your comfort zone and go out on a date with someone who is not your usual type to see if you click. Most important, be yourself, otherwise your date is falling in love with the wrong person. The worst thing that can happen is rejection or a couple of bad dates. The best thing that can happen is finding that perfect match. Had I followed my mind, I would have never talked to my husband 10 years ago, and if we did happen to meet we would have never spoken again after we each left Chicago for home. Without a few crazy and brave moments July 10, 1997, I would have missed out on the incredible experiences we shared, the new friends I made and spending the rest of my life with someone I’m insane about and who loves me for me. If that doesn’t speak volumes for how important it is to take a chance in life, to go outside your comfort zone and to make your own destiny, I don’t know what would.
I can’t believe it has been a decade, it really does seem like yesterday. We dispelled the myths that you can't find love in a bar and long distance never lasts. Happy Anniversary “the husband.” I'm looking forward to many more.