I just circled 49 years around the sun. The last time I really took stock of that journey was three years ago. On that day, I was with two of my best friends Derek & DaveRisner sitting on the balcony outside a cafe in Darjeeling with K-2 and Everest hidden in the distance through the resplendent fog descending upon the sunset and evening skies. We had just wished my brother George a happy 42nd birthday four days prior from the Taj Mahal, and our buddy Tony a happy 41st. It was a month of birthdays. It was a month of adventures. It was truly epic.
This last one before turning 50 was without a doubt just as epic, but in a different way. I had found my person. And I knew it from the very moment I saw her standing there, giving her a big bear hug as I said hello one evening last summer. By then, I had thought I had it all figured out. Two years away from a 9-to-5 literally and happily doing the most selfish thing on the planet will do that for you and to this day still continues to be the gift that keeps on giving — focusing on myself, getting to know myself, and becoming the best version of myself. And in that time, I grew to love my family and my friends even more than I ever thought possible. By my side, I also had the greatest gift God (and my brother George) ever gave me — my dog Taylor. He was also the gift that kept on giving. Couple that with the fact, after that two-year sabbatical, I started working for a company that I loved and loved me back, life was good.
I didn’t think it could get any better.
I was wrong.
Two years later (i.e. last summer), I met my person. It took almost five decades. Coincidentally for the last two, I knew exactly who she was. I also knew what she looked like on the inside. I just had no idea what she looked like on the outside. I’d always had this feeling though that I would instantly know her when I met her. In that moment when we did meet, it was as though a veil was lifted from my future. Early the next morning, I texted a few close friends that I had met the woman I was going to marry. Her name was Grace.
Up until that moment, I was extremely content living the life I was leading, quite happy in fact. And I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be perfectly happy living a life by myself with my dog and that I was not meant to meet the person I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with, I would be fine with that. Meeting Grace changed everything. I knew from that moment, that this other life I had imagined for myself was no longer the life I wanted. I wanted my life to be one with her in it.
For my birthday, Grace surprised me with a party at my office celebrating with friends. Afterwards we went to Mastro’s, the first time I’d been there in over eight years. Their bone-in ribeye is a thing of beauty. That night at home, I was greeted with balloons and flowers and Taylor. The next day, we attended our first Cubs game of the year. And that night, we celebrated some more with more friends.
Throughout the weekend, I was contemplating what I thought I knew to what was and how this extraordinary woman had changed my life. What I had never expected was, not only was this just the beginning, it would only get better. I thought I was in love, and I most certainly was. What was continually fascinating me was that each day with Grace, I was growing to love her even more. My idea of love (in addition to all the qualities most people would want in another) first and foremost meant that my love would love my parents, and the rest of my family, and they would love her. Watching Grace and my parents interact has given me a sense of love that I never thought possible. My idea of love would love and embrace my friends and others that I loved, and they would love her back. What’s happened is even more magical. With every interaction and every introduction, it’s almost like I get to relive the first moments with the people in my life that I love, and why I came to love them in the first place. So meeting my person has given me a chance to love the people I love even more than ever. Even more than that, I get to see my love through their eyes which serves to grow my love even more.
Love is not a zero sum game. What I mean by that is loving one person more doesn’t mean I love another less. I just happened to have met the person I love most. My love pie just grew, by a whole lot.
And that’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Today | Tomorrow