It’s our wedding anniversary!

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I can’t believe it.

So many people have told me that their first year was the hardest. I don’t think Tim or I would call this a particularly extra-difficult year. We did so much to prepare for marriage: Took our time dating and getting to know all our ins and outs, talked to experts about how to get through fights, negotiated our roles and responsibilities in the relationship.

The number-one thing I wanted to avoid — that I felt I could avoid — was having the excuse, “We rushed into this.” While I know many marriages and relationships that have excelled after a short courtship (this is NOT about you, it is about me, and I’m not just saying that, I really mean it), I knew myself and knew that I could find myself blaming any of our problems on “rushing into it.” And what happens if I think that you rushed into it and that I’m fundamentally flawed as a couple? I’m more likely to want out. So I knew that there was no way we’d be getting engaged or moving in together without hitting certain milestones. I don’t want to go through a rough patch and then feel I have any justification for getting out of the marriage that has to do with “not knowing what I was getting into.”

We’ve been married one year now, which makes us no experts. (1 year = 8760 hours, not 10,000 like Malcolm Gladwell taught me.) But it counts as a milestone. Throughout our first year of marriage, we’ve traveled a ton, made life-changing decisions, started a Google doc about ideals of how we’d like to raise kids (more on that later — and no, we’re not starting a family soon). We’ve done a lot, and it’s tested our marriage, and our marriage has definitely proved itself on solid ground. We’ve laughed way more than we’ve cried — even when both of our flights to Australia totally screwed us over, even when our cat had multiple medical emergencies that cost thousands of unplanned dollars, even when our closet collapsed in the middle of the night and even when I decided not to go back to a desk job. We haven’t even really gotten questions from friends and family wondering when we’re going to start popping out babies. (THANK YOU FOR NOT ASKING. IT IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS BUT ALSO YOUR OPINION IS IRRELEVANT AND OURS IS THE ONLY OPINION THAT MATTERS BECAUSE WE ARE THE ONES WHO WON’T BE SLEEPING WELL FOR 18 YEARS.)

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Sometimes I fondly and enviously remember the days when I did whatever I wanted all the time. I could go out five times in a week, I could spend money on whatever I wanted, and I didn’t have to do anyone else’s laundry. And as cliche as it may be, as much as I loved my life then, I still vastly prefer life with Tim, even though I miss some things about my life before. Now, I can still go out five times in a week if I really wanted. I still pretty much spend money on whatever I want, though big purchases are shared with Tim first and any time we decide not to buy something it’s because I really didn’t need it. And while I definitely do Tim’s laundry for him, at least I do it in our in-unit washer and dryer, as opposed to in my old apartment’s poorly-maintained laundry room (that inexplicably got someone else’s gum on my clothes twice). Also, you and I both know that Tim’s wardrobe is as easy as it gets.

I loved being single, and for different reasons, I love being married. And I love knowing and proving that we’ll work through any of our issues, whether proactively and preventatively, or by facing them as they come. Since our first year of marriage didn’t kill us, I’m waiting to discover what phase of our lives almost does. (I’m assuming it’s when we have a toddler and a newborn — right? Or two mouthy teenagers and we start disagreeing in front of them?) Whenever it happens, though, I’m ready. I know we took our time, and that we chose each other, and we will always choose each other. ♦

New Year’s Resolution: Deepen Friendships

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I mentioned previously that I made Tim engage in a “reflection on the past year and intentions for the upcoming year.” The thing that he brought up — that I promptly adopted — was the desire to maintain closer relationships with the people in our lives. He kept describing it as “casual friendships,” which I kept hearing as “a lot of not-that-close friends.” But what he really meant was friendships that we don’t treat as precious events, instead getting to the level of friendship where you can make casual plans the day-of or be just as happy meeting up for a single drink versus a whole big night out. I love the sound of that — don’t you?

It’s my theory that everyone wants a FRIENDS-ship. Obviously, with TV being my #1 hobby/interest, I do mean the NBC hit comedy from 1994-2004. The show follows friends across three different apartments in NYC who could just show up unannounced constantly, make fun of each other, have fights and patch things up, and it somehow it all wasn’t weird. (See also: ‘Seinfeld’; ‘Clarissa Explains It All’; I’m pretty sure ‘The Big Bang Theory’ also has this?) I’ve never had an adult FRIENDS-ship. (I sort of had those uber-close, do-everything-together friendships in elementary/middle school but realistically that’s just not the same.)

In reality I’m too afraid to not constantly have my front door locked so I will never have that type of friendship. So here are some things I’m trying to do to foster greater friendships!

  • Just send the text. If it’s been a while, don’t be afraid to send a quick “hey! been thinking about you” message.  A lot of times, I get in my head like, “It’s been too long. I’ll need to do a proper full hours-long catch-up session and right now I can’t commit to that.” But that just keeps me from catching up even longer. Just send the message now!
  • Organize a group event. If I want to start a friendship with someone and we have mutual friends, I’ll probably invite them all over for cocktails or a dinner party. That way, it’s a lower-stress environment because there are many people that we know well, and there are only one or two people we are getting to know. The biggest fear is usually that you don’t know what to talk about, and by having another party present, you can learn about them more indirectly without the pressure!
  • Invite them to what you’re already doing. This one was a bit of an “aha” moment when I decided on my New Year’s Resolutions. Because I wanted to experience more, why can’t I two-birds-one-stone it by inviting a friend along? I want to visit a couple local wineries. When I do, I’ll invite someone I know who’d enjoy it. There’s a concert coming up I’m dying to attend, or a bar I want to visit, or a workout I want to try. Add a friend and get drinks after! It’s a perfect system.

I think a lot of people struggle with keeping up friendships. In fact, I saw recently that people form an average of 400 friendships in their life but only keep 33. TBH my first thought when I heard they keep 33 was “wow, that many?” I think it’s hard to maintain pretty much all friendships. And I’m an extrovert, so I can only imagine it’s even more difficult for an introvert. Make it easy on yourself, then, and remove the pressure. And don’t forget to lock your doors, even if your friend does live nearby. This world has as many Chandlers as it does Janices.


PS: I’ve been getting a LOT of comments on my bullet journal. I’m obsessed! I got all my gear on Amazon: dot-matrix notebook | fine-point markers | stencils (MUST!) | washi tape