Anniversaries are a weird thing. Sometimes they can be happy and full of joy, like weddings or employment. And other times they are awful, like deaths. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. As I sit here in present time in 2014, I reflect back on my three-year Iron Girl anniversary…and my 4-year-almost-got-married anniversary. It’s not so much a let’s wallow in the past moment, but let’s celebrate the moments as I
moved charged forward. It’s amazing how the first four months (okay, admittedly longer) of my engagement-that-wasn’t-meant-to-be I couldn’t imagine my life without former fiance, and now, I honestly can’t imagine my life with him.
I also think symbolism is a powerful thing. Originally, our “song” (you know, everyone has a cheesy song) was “All I ask of You” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. I recently found the CD and popped it in during the drive to work (it’s no Sirius, I know). That song, as I listen to is now, seems so promising, but also naive and filled with fairy tales. Maybe it’s my jaded 30-year-old self thinking this, but really…how early 20s is that song and thought process? Totally pre-quarter-life crisis. I know now there’s no one who can fulfill certain emotional needs solely by their existence, devotion, and validation – it takes some personal commitment and work to partner with someone else to get through this life a bit easier. But no one can lead you down this path guaranteeing everything will be okay.
But then…these lyrics came on from “Music of the Night” and it suddenly all made sense, like a total “oh shit!” moment.
Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams
Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before
Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar
And you’ll live as you’ve never lived before
I mean, if that stanza doesn’t summarize my past four years, I don’t know what will. I did purge the life I knew before – the civilian job hopes and dreams, the potential of living in Cleveland, Ohio for the rest of my life (this is a good purge), and I got to let my spirit soar and now I’m living like I haven’t. Cliche, yes of course. True, most definitely. Life hasn’t been perfect, but it never is. But this life I’ve lived because of the darkness I had to surrender to has been pretty freaking awesome. I’ve seen half of the United States, done a triathlon, seen some awesome cities, met great people, became the 1%, ran half marathons and marathons, re-found fitness, and found myself in a career I never would have going down the civilian path I was currently taking.
So, on this fourth anniversary, one traditionally honored with fruit or flowers, I’m going to celebrate with some roses, acknowledging that what was once a thorn is now beautiful life.