Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my first date with Mark Johnson. It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed since our first date. And it is equally hard to believe there was a time in my life when I did not have a Mark Johnson. He is my best friend. He is the person I want to talk to when something amazing happens in my life. And he is the person I turn to for support when I am feeling a little lost or insecure.
Last night, we had a very low key celebration. Instead of going out to a fancy dinner, we decided to spend the night at home in our apartment, doing the things we love. We meditated together after work. Then we spent some time sitting out on our balcony reading books and writing in our journals. And we made dinner together and watched some of the Olympics on TV while we exchanged stories and highlights from our day.
And we talked about how far we have come since our first date. It was one of the more awkward first dates either of us has ever been on. Well, maybe it was a little more awkward for me. It turns out that he actually had a pretty bad string of dates on Match.com before he met me. Poor Mark Johnson. There were some crazy girls out there and he met a bunch of them.
By the time we had our first date, we had already been writing e-mails back and forth for a few weeks and we had talked on the phone almost every night. But when we saw each other for the first time in person, we felt like two strangers. When he first greeted me, I couldn't look him in the eye. We sat side by side and I stared straight ahead while we talked. At that time, his voice was the only thing that seemed familiar to me.
We often joke that if we survived our first date, we can survive anything.
For weeks, we waited patiently while the 'in person version' of us tried to catch up to the 'phone version' of us. And it was even harder because we lived in two different states. It's not like we could just go out on another date the next day to try and make up for the awkwardness of the first date. The phone version of us was racing ahead by leaps and bounds every night, while the in person version of us had to wait until the next time we could get together to see what would happen.
And yet here we are, just a year later, living in our apartment and planning a life together. I look over at this man who I love so much, sitting next to me on the couch and I ask myself, how did we get here? For me, the answer is the same as what Brandon Stanton talked about when he spoke about creativity in that podcast. The idea that you have to start something before you are ready for it. And know that you will figure out how to do it as you are doing it.
I always thought falling in love would be magical. And when I met the person I was meant to be with, everything would be perfect. Our first date was far from perfect. And our second and third dates were pretty awkward too. Yet amidst all the awkwardness, there were glimmers of us. Of what we were meant to be. Like the feeling of comfort when he held my hand for the first time. Or the casual banter we had when we were walking through the art museum looking at all of the paintings. Not to mention the fact that, as someone who thought she hated art museums, I had the most fun ever walking through that museum with him.
Mark Johnson and I had no idea what we were doing when we met each other. But we both decided to keep working through the awkwardness to see what we might become. The funny thing is, it never felt like work. And it still doesn't.