April 1st 2015:
I am starting a new class, a professional development class my job suggested me for and that I was accepted to. I've become somewhat frustrated at work, feeling like I'm never going to make much progress - as it turns out later, I'm kinda right - but this will be nice. Most of all, I just want to make some connections with other people. I show up early, as ever, but I'm not the first one there. A woman comes out of the classroom as I enter (it turns out she's on the way to the bathroom to avoid people), and, not really thinking beyond the split-second impression, I greet her enthusiastically and she smiles back. Later she'll tell me she knew right then. I'm not very good at first impressions but this was the one that mattered the most and I guess I got it right.
April 1st 2016:
So, that was fast. We're in a federal courthouse in White Plains and my mom's colleague's husband, a federal judge, is joining us in marriage. Some of her siblings are here, our parents too, and it's nice. She knows deep down that I have always wanted a big party, but we're going to get that celebration six months later, and this day is about us. Of all these April 1sts since we've met, this is the only one that isn't cold. In fact it rises above 80 degrees by mid-afternoon, which is wonderful in my suit.
But most importantly, it's not an April Fool's joke, people thought I was crazy for rushing into the engagement the previous summer, and maybe I was. We had a lot of kinks to work out and it turns out we still do. But we are committed to figuring out how to work our lives out together.
April 1st 2017:
You know, it sort of feels like a race in hot weather. We made it through but it took a lot of work. We got our one-year medal, but we're a sweaty mess. Are we alone in this? Admitting to this feels like a failure, but if we pretend otherwise, we don't make any progress. We put the work in and we reflect on all we have learned and accomplished. But anyone can make it to one year.
April 1st 2018:
This year is a revelation. Are there still difficulties? Yes, sure. And any couple you see posting instagram pictures from Europe that seems outwardly perfect is just lying to you. Don't fall for it.
We decided to stay in our apartment longer. I settled into my job. I applied for and got into school. We found new rhythms and ways to connect. And it makes us realize what joys await us in the future.
Don't give up just because you have to figure things out.
No, we're not posting about "marrying our best friends" or whatever, because we probably wouldn't spend much time together if we weren't a couple - we are very different people. And that's okay. In fact it's great. Alissa is different from any person I've ever met, which confuses me sometimes, but also exhilarates me. I can only hope she feels the same about me.
As I've hinted at, I've spent a lot of this past year doing a lot of work on myself, and it's work I never would have done without her support and guidance. That seems self-involved, but the work is allowing us to connect in ways we hadn't yet.
The fact is, we rushed and stumbled into this, and we were filming without a script. The script is finally catching up to us, and the next several decades, while not without work, are set up to be singularly rewarding.
On to the third year, then.