The Context

I met a woman. The woman who has changed every plan I’ve ever had. But she wasn’t the first.

She’s the first and only I’ve ever felt this way about. It’s new ground for me. But to know happiness you’ve gotta endure some not-so-happiness.

I spent five years with a girl. We met in college and got along well. So we made it work. She moved to my city and we lived together pretty quickly. The overarching theme was “it seems like the right thing to do.”

As all new things do, it faded. I’m far enough away now to know that I was to blame for a lot of it. I’m a type-A, me-first, ten year plan since I was ten, type of guy. But she hung in with me. She supported me and made sacrifices for me. She was at every graduation. We had some very lean times. She was there when I didn’t deserve it. She’s in the background of so many pictures that I hang to remind myself that I’ve accomplished some things. Smiling. And for that I owe her a lifetime of gratitude.

The end gets blurry. It’s a haze of things we shouldn’t have said. The smoke of hurt feelings still stains the walls of that house. I would bet the shattered dreams still riddle the floor. I wouldn’t know. I had to leave.

It was a hard year. Just because your heart makes a decision doesn’t mean your head follows. I grew up in the safety of our relationship. I tried a couple (many) times to get it back. I didn’t know life without her — what sort of life do I choose now? I was alone and I didn’t know how to handle it. So I did what every normal man does. I drank too much. I tried to force relationships that wouldn’t work. I made things worse on myself and everyone around me.

Then life happened. I moved out west. I put the bottle down and picked up a couple books, the good book being one. I picked up new healthy hobbies. I met some incredible people. I met a new me. Or maybe the old one? Either way, he’s an okay guy. I’m not embarrassed to have him around. I don’t spent my nights on social media wishing he was more like the people on the screen.

I certainly wasn’t perfect. But I sure as hell wasn’t broken. I was okay. And in the grand scheme of things, okay is okay.

Then it was time to come home. I missed my family and my friends. I really missed my hound dog. I still made dumb decisions after I got back. Had some really bad dates. Some decent ones that I built up as awesome because loneliness still finds even the most “okay” among us.

Then I met a woman. And for the first time in my life I’m thankful for everything that got me where I am. She chose me for who I am, and like it or not we are all the sum of our experiences.

I look at her like a traveler who sees home in the distance. Road weary. Wearing the strain of the journey on his forehead. There’s a smile though. The relief of getting where he was going, even when there were times he wasn’t sure he would make it. Especially because of those times. The undying thirst is quenched even though he isn’t to the spout yet. Because he knows it’s coming.

Im better than okay. I’m truly happy. I’m home. Because I met a woman.

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