Archive for marriage

Maybe This Time

Adair,

It’s odd how January never seems like the new year to me. I’ve mentioned how my birthday is usually my marker for the beginning of a new year, both because July is a more optimistic time than the dead of winter, and it’s in line with my inflated ego to reorient the calendar around me. But there are other moments, my anniversary, the beginning of the school year, and Christmas that also make me pause and think about the year past and the year ahead.

If I had to look ahead right now, I’d be thinking about another year in New York. Another fall that just makes me feel like I’m in When Harry Met Sally, a winter that snows us in just once, a spring that begs for pictures in parks, and another summer sweating in the subway and longing for relief.

The next year is going to see a lot of new projects, and a push like never before to create things on my terms. Working with you has opened me up to working with other partners, and those relationships are beginning to blossom into new ventures that may well be “the project.”

Another year will bring another year of marriage and the wonderful joys and inevitable hurts of a life long partnership. We are also striving to create together, which brings us back to the army days of our friendship working together. This summer’s production of The Last Five Years reminded me of the importance of our creative connection and what beautiful richness that adds to our lives.

My apartment is changing layout and design, I’m changing my diet, having a car is changing our transportation, and the relationships in my life keep changing the creative means I have at my disposal. The next year is going to be one for the record books, no matter how it all turns out.

But why am I looking ahead in the middle of September? What marks this as a moment of reflection and resolve? I’m giving pause right now because in a year we won’t be writing these letters. At the end of this month, we will be finished with this project and moving on to another. I won’t begin to tackle what that means in this letter, but I know that whatever comes next, we’ll still be bothering each other about it every week.

Same time next year?

-Dan

Black And Blue

Dear Vanessa,

Returning to the United States has been harder than I imagined. I feel a bit like Frodo did when he returned to the Shire after his adventures in the wider world; how do I simply go back?

I was out of the country for almost a full year, and it turns out that it was the perfect amount of time in which to forget the all-consuming question that drives American culture: What next?
I met a woman in a pub in Ireland in June, and one of the first things she said to me was, “So you must have a job waiting for you back home.” The moment my rather baffled, “No” hit her brain, her eyebrows vanished into her hairline, and I was forcibly reminded that American culture is truly driven by title and worth. I need to know what you do for a living so that I know where you rank in relation to me. Are you better than me? Do you make more money? Do I want fries with that?

The real problem is that I have no clue what happens next, and that makes people uncomfortable. I have big dreams that involve finding a career with a multinational corporation, or starting a company based in sustainability. I also have small dreams that revolve mostly around my garden and long walks with my dog.

During my travels, I met the happiest man in the world. He is a grocery clerk in a tiny shop in the Scottish Highlands, and he’s happy as a bird with a french fry. His job had no glamour whatsoever. In fact, every job I’ve had for the last 14 years would be considered more glamorous than his, but I have not once been that happy while on the clock.

The day after my husband proposed to me the question was, “When is the wedding?” and immediately after (actually during) the wedding I heard, “When can we expect babies?”

Now, after a year of extremely exhausting and emotionally fulfilling work overseas, the most important thing anyone can think to ask is, “What are you going to do for work?”

I spent a year with my hands in the dirt, learning to dig and sort potatoes, harvesting seaweed from the Arctic Ocean, milking cows in Ireland, building rock walls in Scotland, running a table-saw in England. I learned that the value of work is not in the station or position, but in the satisfaction at the end of the day. Seeing an important job description on my Facebook page was nothing compared to the joy of scraping dirt and horse shit out from under my fingernails, all the while knowing that one more carrot field would survive the winter because of my work. I spent a year changing the way I viewed work and status, and coming back to a culture that needs to know where I fit in the pecking order of society has been overwhelming.

I know that my frustrated rants alone won’t go far in changing America, just look at Bernie Sanders. For now, I suppose I’ll just have to find an answer to the “what next” question.
I’ll have a baby when I’m sure nothing else good can happen in my life- thank you Mike Birbiglia for that line- and I’m planning on finding a job that makes me as happy as a Scottish grocery clerk.

Hope you’re well,

-Lexi

P.S. – Where are you working now?

Sometimes A Day Goes By

Adair,

July is the month of birthdays. Yours, mine, Harry Potter’s, my father’s, Hugo Chavez, and my wife’s (her’s is today, in fact).  Everyone is getting older.

Each year around this time I write lists of goals for the coming year, make promises or declarations, and just think on the year to come. I don’t usually look back at all. I try to always be thinking ahead. I dream in the future, and I actively try to forget the past. Because I’m getting older and time marches on.

But last night my wife said something that struck me. As the clock turned to midnight and I wished her happy birthday she said, “so ends my twenty-something-ith year” (I have redacted the exact year).  And she had a moment of quiet reflection on the past trip around the sun. And as I so often do, I’m now going to follow her lead.

The end of my twenty sixth year is hurtling towards me like a comet made of cake and cards. And among all the merriment and ruckus celebrating, I feel my declarative nature stirring and the need to remake or reclaim myself in this new, untainted year that lies before me. But instead I’m going to force myself to look back and think on where I have been.

This year was challenging financially, rewarding creatively, and abundant with friendship. The heartaches and anxieties of the world and the terrible things we have witnessed have shaken me like never before. Fear has come knocking, but I’ve done my damndest to give it the boot. But the challenges of the year are outweighed by the blessings, which I think could be said for most of my life, and for that I am thankful.

My previous years lay out before me like old friends waving as you drive off towards new adventures. And over the next week or so I’m going to excavate the years gone by and see what treasure I can find. But for today I think on the past six years since my wife entered my life, and I am glad to be remembering.

Your gift is in the mail,

-Dan

Spirits

I spent a lot of nights on the run
And I think oh, like I’m lost and can’t be found
I’m just waiting for my day to come
And I think oh, I don’t wanna let you down
Cause something inside has changed

Dan,

How often have we discussed our futures on this blog? This unknowable future seems to be a favorite topic, whether we are considering how we wish to grow or where we want to be. Optimism for what’s to come is in our hearts, as much as we would scoff at anyone telling us that to our faces.

In the last decade your belief in better things seems to have grown, I’m sure we have your wife to thank largely for that. For me, it comes and goes and I would most likely blame the things I’ve lost for helping falter my hope but often I only have myself to blame. Because of this, the reality of my own eventual death hasn’t fazed me much in the last few years.

I assumed I would have a stroke in my later life and there would be an Irish wake of sorts, I always liked that the Irish mourned with whiskey and music. Since my divorce my assumption has been that I will die alone but would be remembered happily by friends and extended family, your liver will have given out a year prior so there is no obligation to give a moving speech.

None of this is to say that I looked forward to my death; I’ve just been practical as people who think too much often are. I have never been the most important person in someone’s life, and that has been fine with me. I know I’ve played a very key role in many lives and I have been very content in that for almost three decades. I think when you’re alone you accept things as they are; death is just included in that. It’s not morbid, just a natural conclusion.

Things are changing though and I am making optimistic and possibly foolhardy plans, and this terrifies me. I am a person who has been cautious in her choices, I debate pros and cons until seasons change and I don’t often jump into things with reckless abandon. But right now I am planning a future and the scariest thing about this is that I am planning it with another person.

I am no longer envisioning a life on my own, and I am becoming that important person in someone’s life. This is a very weird feeling, and writing all this down means I can’t take back everything that I’m experiencing. I’m acknowledging how true this feeling is, as much as I want to underplay what is happening.

All of this is to say, I don’t want to think about my own demise. I don’t want to discuss how it’s all inevitable; I want to focus on the things that I can still create. And maybe I want to think less on the future and more on what is happening right now.

In the moment,

Adair