Our Soundtrack – A letter to singles everywhere

I was flipping through the CD collection in my car over the weekend, and I came across a disc I had forgotten exists.

“Our Soundtrack.”

I put this mix together while in an old relationship and had forgotten it was still in the case with the others. Popping it into the player, I recognized some of the songs because they are still popular today, while others I’m completely rediscovering. I’m sure I painstakingly assembled this collection with an exact reason for each track selected. I’m sure it took me days, maybe even weeks, to decide on the final list. But to tell you the truth… I don’t remember what those reasons were.

There are only two songs of the 14 that I can relate to a specific event in that relationship, but the others are just music.

When I made that CD I was either 16 or 17, chasing a guy that I had to beg to love me at every step. Don’t get me wrong, we were wonderful friends and I cherish the many good times we had together, but I was also convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going to spend my life with him (if only I could make him see that).

Over the two+ years that I tried to make that relationship work, I had so many adults smile their all-knowing smiles and tell me that I was too young to possibly have any idea what love was. They all told me that when I got older I would look back and realize that my childish infatuation wasn’t love at all. Well, I’m older now, and I still have to disagree. I hate when the older generation tells the younger that it doesn’t know what love is, and I hope I never laugh at my children and say those same things. I believe, even now, that I was in love at the time. I was in love with all the heart that I had at 17. It wasn’t reciprocated, and it wasn’t meant to be, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real on my end.

It also doesn’t mean it was the kind of love to last forever – not all love does. One of the most important things that relationship, and that boy, taught me is that love isn’t meant to be something you work for. Yes, you have to work on it constantly, feed it and help it grow every day, but it’s not something you should have to grovel for, collect scraps for. I never had much luck with boyfriends in high school or in college; I think I killed the potential by trying too hard. (That mixed CD, for example, probably wasn’t a good idea.) But all those failures only taught me what an amazing thing it was to meet the man who is now my husband and be able to have an easy conversation, not feeling like I had to be constantly witty, not being bothered by the fact that my hair hadn’t been washed in two days. If I hadn’t had that first sort of relationship, I may not have recognized how special the second was – and still is.

So this is what I want any unmarried person who might be reading this to know: You don’t know what your future holds, and if it doesn’t hold that guy or that girl you’ve been trying to catch for years, then that’s ok. Because you know what? There’s a reason for that. Love can be real in many forms, but love is only lasting if you didn’t have to beg and plead for it in the first place. If you have to come up with a list of reasons why that person should want to be with you, then you are better off waiting for someone who knows those reasons on their own. I promise; I’ve made those lists and had those arguments and I can tell you that it’s so much better knowing you were enough all on your own.

I don’t have a CD of mine and the Mister’s soundtrack, but if I did, it would include the sound of canoe paddles splashing in the Duck River as we go backwards through the rapids; the excited bark of our dog as she chases him through the backyard; and probably my laughter as he threatens to put ice cubes down the back of my shirt. It would also have arguments and door slamming and the angry rev of an engine. It’s been put together on the fly – as life happens on its own. It’s not painstakingly assembled, and it’s not labeled with perfect sharpie hearts and swirls. It’s made from real life – real love and real mistakes – and it’s so much better that way.

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Part 2…

I’m not going to post a link every time he updates (at least I’m not planning to at this point), but because of the interest I wanted to let you all know that this blogger is creating additional parts for his original post, which I linked to yesterday. Follow him on wordpress or scroll to the bottom of his blog and follow him via email if you’re interested in his additional thoughts in the coming weeks. 🙂

How I Know My Wife Married the Wrong Person (Part 2).

Confessions of a Future Vet School Wife

So last Thursday was a pretty typical day, until the phone call came.

“Honey? Guess what?”

“What?”

“I just got a phone call from someone on behalf of Erica Wasserman. I got in to Ross vet prep.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, really. We’re going to vet school!”

“Holy crap.”

*Hang up phone. Burst into tears.*

Yeah… not exactly the celebratory happy dance I was expecting to do. I want the Mister to go to vet school. I had finally gotten used to the idea of moving to the Caribbean (or so I thought). But the practical part of me was still preparing for plan B in case he didn’t get in. I’d been scanning potential job options and apartment styles, and thinking about puppies and babies – all the things I wanted out of the next phase of our lives. I guess I never stopped to think about how, if he did get in (and deep down I knew he would), I’d have to give all that up. At least for a while.

I cried for the high-profile job I always pictured myself having and I cried for the three-year gap in the impressive resume I’ve tried so hard to build. I cried for the amount of debt we’ll be in and the distance between us and home. I cried for the babies we’ll have to push back that much longer. And every “excited” phone call I made to parents and relatives made me cry that much more. I was determined not to let the Mister know that I wasn’t jumping up and down on the inside, but I did finally break down in front of him. I felt horrible for ruining his special, long-awaited acceptance day, but I couldn’t help it anymore.

I was giving up my life.

But I slept on it Thursday night and by the time I woke Friday morning I had come to a sort of subconscious clarity.

I’m moving to a place of indescribable beauty; a place tourists visit and wish they could stay, and I’ll get to watch their cruise ships leave as I call the island home. I’m going to have all kinds of cool stories and pictures to share with friends and family and to someday tell my children. I won’t have an awful gap in my resume because I’ll be able, hopefully, to work with the VIP spouses’ and children’s group to plan their social events and recreational activities. Hey, that’s PR too, isn’t it?

And maybe that big corner office isn’t as glamorous as I’ve always thought it would be. When we get back, I want to have babies, and that office often comes with long, unpredictable hours, phones ringing in the middle of the night, and un-family friendly schedules and responsibilities. Is that really what I want? And is it even about what I want, at that point?

More importantly, the Mister is going to get to go to vet school – the only thing he’s dreamed of doing since he was young. I should be grateful to the admissions committee for seeing his potential and giving him the opportunity to chase that dream when state-side schools wouldn’t give him a second glance. He is going to be a fantastic vet.

But most importantly, I also realized that I’m not giving up my life. It’s not my life anymore; it’s OUR life, and I promised to follow him for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, through sickness and in health. I promised to laugh with him and cry with him and be the soft place for him to land. I “gave up” my life almost a year ago, and the “our life” we’ve been living since has been wonderful. What’s to say the “our life” of the future won’t be just as good?

Sure we’ve got challenges ahead of all shapes and sizes, but we’ll figure out how to beat them one at a time. And who knows, maybe we’ll just learn something along the way. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

Advice about traveling, living as an ex-pat and handling veterinary school is all appreciated.