One Year, One Month, Handful of Days

Last month was our first anniversary, and I swear I didn’t forget about it! I’ve just been neglecting the blog. So anyway, now that I’ve been married one year, I found that I am suddenly <sarcasm> the Fount of All Wisdom and now have Useful Tips and Profound Musings </sarcasm>.

The main thing I learned is that no matter how painful or annoying or frustrating marriage is, it is better than being single. Having been single and relatively happy about it for many years, I never thought I would hear myself say that, but it’s true. It may not be true for all people, but it has been true for me.

Second thing: I’m wrong a lot! Actually, I’m wrong all the time! And it’s not the end of the world.

Third thing: A common goal helps so much. Whichever anonymous philosopher said that marriage wasn’t staring into each other’s eyes but staring together into the future was right.

Fourth thing: To the people who said the first year is the hardest… I don’t know how I’m supposed to know that until I get to the end of my life and compare the first year to all the other years of marriage.

Fifth thing: What mostly led us into disagreements was the fact that our families are so different. I come from a more introverted family, and his is far more extroverted than I’m used to. To this day, we are still trying to reconcile this. I don’t really have any Useful Tips here except that you need to remember the reason that you liked your significant other’s family in the first place. And there is a reason! You might just be too annoyed to remember it at the moment!

Sixth thing: There really is less room for selfishness. Being married doesn’t cure you of selfishness (duh), but it makes you question your selfishness and gives you a chance to push it aside.

Seventh thing, because the list wouldn’t be complete without seven: Patience. If you don’t have it, you will learn it. If you thought you were patient before, you really weren’t. Patience may also be called “the grace of marriage,” and that is something that comes from somewhere other than my husband or me.

Everything’s Changing

When I was a teenager, I used to listen to Avril Lavigne. One of her lesser-known songs was called “Mobile” and it went like this:

Everything’s changing
Out of what I know
Everywhere I go
I’m a mobile
I’m a mobile

Hanging from the ceiling
Life’s a mobile
Spinning round with mixed feelings
Crazy and wild
Sometimes I want to scream out loud

A little overdramatic, but when you consider that the song was written by a 16-year-old, it’s not that surprising. But it is my default song when I’m going through changes, and needless to say, it recently became applicable again.

The point of this post is to say that I’m getting back into my regular posting schedule (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) now that all the wedding madness is over. I missed writing so much that it literally made my head hurt, and I missed this blog. I changed both my website domains, so this is now “maajohnson.com” or “maajohnson.wordpress.com”—if you try to get to “maasmith.com” or “maasmith7.wordpress.com,” you will reach a very lovely error page. I tried to get the old URLs to redirect to the new ones, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work.

The secondary point of this post is to say that the wedding went well and was beautiful according to everyone who attended. I honestly had no idea what was going on because the whole thing went by so quickly, and I was so nervous I was literally shaking. The official pictures aren’t yet back from the photographer, so here are a few from the honeymoon. (We went on a Carnival cruise to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas. I had never partied so hard in my life… and by partying hard, I mean foolishly “dancing” to club music, staying up until 2 in the morning doing said foolish “dancing,” overindulging in food, and generally getting high on life because, you know, it’s not every day you get to go on a honeymoon.)

Crystal clear beach at Nassau… you can see a lighthouse in the distance
My husband in his natural habitat (there was a library on the ship)
Me in my natural habitat… staring out the ship’s window and waiting for ideas

Turning Points and Comfort Zones

I remember thinking, in the days leading up to high school graduation, that this was it. I would never come back here. My shadow would never darken the halls, my laughter and teenage angst would no longer fill them. I would never again see all of the spaces in the school that brought me comfort or reminded me of bad times. Never again would I run my fingers over the graffiti-covered tables in the vocational building. Never again would I run the track or race around the halls as I so often had. Never again would I stand on the balcony outside the cafeteria and wait for my crush as early morning light filled the courtyard and reflected off the windows of the school buses.

Similarly, I remember days leading up to college graduation, when I was stricken by a similar feeling. The “end of an era” feeling, the one that also contained hints of trepidation as I crossed into the unknown future. Part of me wanted to graduate; by that time, I was sick of writing papers, but at the same time, I knew I would miss it. In fact, I already missed the quiet “reading days” before exams, when I would wake up very early in the morning and go to the lounge above my dormitory (dubbed “the cloister”) just to write. I knew I would never again have that same purity of solitude.

The feeling came back again when I left my first “real-world” job in favor of the “better life” granted by a white collar job. I was there for only nine months, starting in August and ending in May, so it had that same “school year” feel. Hopefully, I would never again work in fast food, but I was grateful for the experience because it taught me more than I had learned in all my years of high school combined. The day after I left that job, I started my new job, where I am today. The world of fast food was so different from the world of office work that I felt like I was starting over again. The useless drama was gone. There was no clatter of pizza cutters and no messy soda spills and no customers threatening to come back with a gun if they didn’t get their discount.

The job is sterile. Everyone is just like me: quiet and reserved. If I pass someone in the hall, they do not regale me with stories of the sexual exploits they had over the weekend. “How are you?” “Good. And you?” “Fine.” And the occasional “Did you do anything fun this weekend?” “Yeah. I went to the art museum.” “Nice.” After working here five years, I have a strange feeling of simultaneous comfort and discomfort. It is my dream job. I sit at a desk all day and correct grammatical errors and meet my deadlines. I’m lucky if I speak to someone once a day. Ninety-five percent of communication is through email. No one reveals much about their life outside of work. Yet everyone is so quiet and calm that sometimes I want to scream and throw things in the air just to watch the chaos unfold that would have gone down at my old job every day.

Anyway, the real reason I write this post is because I am again at a turning point and moving out of my comfort zone. Today I’m getting married, which is still strange to me because I honestly never thought I would get married. But sometimes the person you are meant to be with just appears out of thin air. This is how life goes. This is growing up. This is change. I’m not whining that it will be hard because I know it will be hard. It will be fun and chaotic and quiet and calm and crazy and sad and happy and everything else because that is the nature of it. I have chosen, and I would make the same choice again if given the opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong. I am joyful and happy that I finally get to take this step—and I get to take it with my best friend at my side, which makes it that much better. But I am processing the fact that my house is now “my childhood home,” where I will return on occasion but never again lay my head down in. I am processing the fact that I have to do things as a true adult with no real oversight (except by the government, but that can’t be helped—they’re everywhere). But the most important thing to process is that it’s no longer just “me,” it’s “we.” And that will take a lot of getting used to! 🙂