It has been many moons since I have written anything for The 25 Year Plan. Too many. Since this blog has served primarily as an ongoing life journal for the past six-plus years, it makes sense that certain major life events would be documented here. Things like the completion of my master's degree earlier this year; things like the successful completion of the first year of my doctoral program at LSU; and it might be important to mention that I am getting married just a few hours from now. These are not everyday things that just come and go in one’s life – they are in a very real sense what life is all about. These are the things that are remembered not only by my soon-to-be wife, my immediate family, my close friends, and me, but for some these are the things that will be remembered long after we are gone. These are the things that constitute our legacy and they should be documented here.
My bride and I have not lived what most would describe a “normal” life. While it is true that virtually no one can claim adherence to any standard of “normal,” it is also true that we have deviated enough from that idealistic path that no one would describe us as conformists. Not even remotely. It’s more than just the fact that we are getting married later in life and more than the family we are blending – the mixing and matching of families is an all too common reality of modern life. It’s more than the quasi-tradition marriage (that is, it is traditional where convenient or affordable, quasi when it’s not) we have cobbled together. It is much more than any of that because where we are today – in love, getting married and living a life that has a future beyond the next hour – is not anything either of us thought could ever be attained. We each have years of experience that tells us so, yet here we are, living the dream.
That is not to say that we have somehow stumbled into a life of luxury. Spiritually, yes, we are overpaid, but the struggles of life on a daily basis are still with us. Our relationship will still be part-time long distance, albeit now as husband and wife. The bills still have to be paid and although I have completed both a BA and an MA recently, the real hurdle is the Ph.D. that I am still in the process of working on. My wife will have her own day-to-day details to attend to, not the least of which is raising two sons who will hopefully follow a path that is perhaps not well-trodden, but one that does not lead into a brick wall – or off a cliff. One can be a nonconformist without being dangerous, stupid or making life unnecessarily hard. Indeed, Jenny and I are living proof that following the path less traveled can be fulfilling and rewarding… or dangerous and hard. We have been there, we have done that.
It has become abundantly clear that life is a team sport. I became resistant to being committed, dependent, reliant, beholden - pick your adjective – on or to anyone for anything. I believed myself to be independent and lived that way, yet the truth is that I was never independent. Jenny has never been married, but I was and it ended very badly more than 20 yeas ago. It colored my world black for a very long time and it is safe to say that, while she was never married, Jenny built a wall that was equally robust. Don’t let anyone in and no one can hurt you. But that past several years have been witness to a transformation - an attitudinal change, a new perspective - that occurred independently until we met in late 2010. Since then a synergy that I can only describe a true love has propelled us back into the thick of life.
Our marriage is perhaps the most profound example of the changes in our lives, but also noteworthy are the many, many other relationships we have developed or repaired. There will be between 150 and 200 guests at our wedding and everyone of them represents a relationship with one or both of us that goes significantly beyond just a mere “acquaintance.” In fact, the vast majority are friends in the truest sense of the word. And, of course, there are many more that cannot attend. These are all things that make life worth living. These are the things that money cannot buy. This is what life is all about. Our wedding is, first and foremost, a celebration of our love for and commitment to each other, but it is also a celebration of love and life in general. It is what life is all about.