We had an anniversary weekend at the coast in Pacific City planned together, so off we went Thursday-Sunday to relax and revisit the place we said our vows just a year earlier. The weather was gorgeous on the day we arrived. We ran through the village of townhouses, up the boardwalk and down the sandy dune to the beach to watch the sun set just in time.
The weather turned to clouds and rain over the weekend, but we didn’t care. It gave us even more reason to sit by the fire and relax. We watched movies, talked about life, love and everything in between. Maggie played sudoku. I looked at the covers of books I wanted to read, but didn’t actually read at all. I embraced the opportunity to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I sat in front of the fire and reflected on all the moments, the turns, the people and the decisions it took to get us here… to chance us even meeting at all. I was in awe of it all.
On Friday, just as she promised in her vows, Maggie made me the most delicious breakfast -- my favorite -- eggs sunnyside up with chicken basil sausage and garlic rosemary potatoes. OMG so good!!!! Just talking about it makes me hungry. After breakfast, we played around with some of our personal projects together, brainstorming new ideas and sipping on coffee.
We started a tradition of reading our vows to each other every year… not our wedding vows, but new vows for our 1 year anniversary and so on as the years go. You know, the vows you write and recite in real life. It was Maggie’s idea a few months ago and we both loved it. We had taken time earlier in the month to write our vows for each other and knew on our trip that we would recite them to each other. I loved reflecting back at the previous year and seeing what we had done (expected or unexpected), how fast it ha all happened, how we navigated our first year together, and expressing gratitude for the ways we have shown up for each other and then declaring who, what and how we will be in the coming year and many to come. It felt like a beautiful ceremony of setting intention in our relationship for the year.
Just as we did at our wedding in front of our friends and family one year ago, we decided which of us would read our vows first by playing a game of Rock Paper Scissors: Best 2 out of 3. (because, of course!) Unlike on our wedding day, I won this time. I chose to read my vows to Maggie first. Only this time, we sat on the love seat next to the fire facing each other. I held Maggie’s hand and began reading. I made it maybe 8 sentences before tears of gratitude and love filled my eyes, forcing me to blink hard so that I couldn’t see to actually read the words I’d written on the page. By the 3rd paragraph, snot was running down my face and by the end of my vows, I had a headache.
The truth is, our first year together hasn’t been what we thought or even planned. In remaining true to my wedding vows to follow my passions and my heart, knowing that in doing so, I am a better person and partner, I quit the career path I was on. I was burned out and while I was good at it, I was no longer inspired or willing to bust my butt, sacrifice my life, my family, my relationship or my friendships for other people’s dreams when I had so many of my own just sitting dormant within me.
So, I pivoted and in a conversation Maggie and I had in January this year, we decided it was time for me to pursue sharing my passion, my gifts, and my talent with the world rather than quietly standing behind the scenes running the companies and marketing strategies that led to the fulfillment of other people’s dreams.
I said, “I want to challenge myself to create in a way that if I had one year to create anything I want -- my life’s work -- what would it be?”
I’ve spent years helping others share their mission and dreams with the world. It’s my time, we decided. It has been easier said than done and more fears, emotions, frustrations and emotional processing have happened on my side of things that I thought existed. Sharing myself with the world has been no small feat, it didn’t go the way I planned. They say when you’re pursuing your own work in the world, you experience the highest highs and the lowest lows. That statement couldn’t have been more true this year. The highs were awesome, the lows were depressing and it took me a while to finally start listening to the signs, the clues, to let go and stop pretending, to stop being who I thought I was supposed to be and to just… BE.
While growing and pursuing my career dreams this year was hard, supporting someone trying to keep believing, keep sharing, and pursuing their dreams is even harder.
Maggie took on more work and has held me, coached me and cheered me on through countless meltdowns, helped me find my way out of the ditch and back onto the road, and reminded me who I am and what I have to share with the world when I stalled out. All of which I am so damn grateful for. I second shot with her at weddings and events this year and was rewarded with the most exceptional experience of witnessing my wife doing the work that she loves. Not everyone gets to do that, but without realizing what a gift it would be, I jumped in. Witnessing her passion, her care and her life as a photographer has been one of the top highlights of my year and something that I will remember for the rest of my life. Seeing the way she does what she does will forever stick with me. My love, respect, honor and pride for who she is grew beyond the heart bursting love I already feel for her. I experienced a new sort of love for her that I so cherish.
I wrote more about it in an article on an awesome photography website, PetaPixel: www.petapixel.com/2016/10/25/learned-photographing-wedding-season-wife/
Happy Anniversary, my Love. Thank you for everything that you are, everything that you teach me. Life is so good with you.
I carry your heart in my heart.