“It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go in Life, What You Do.. It’s Who You Have Beside You”


J and I met in a slightly unconventional way. It was November 2010 and my birthday had just passed. A friend of mine said he would take me out for my birthday. It was a Monday night, so I figured it would be dinner and drinks and then I could go to bed early (I was exhausted from a raging weekend of birthday festivities). I get in his car and he won’t tell me where we are going until we are already on the road. Turns out dumbass brought me to Charles Town Casino and Slots in West Virginia. Not only did he make me pay the toll, I bought my own dinner and paid for my own slots. THEN he had the gall to ask me for gas money so he could go play poker. I was appalled and pretty pissed. I could pretend I’m a badass all I want, but this was totally not my scene and was completely out of my element. And I can swear to you that I would have never come here had it been of my choosing. So, this friend goes to play poker and I am left to my own devices for who knows how long. Do you know how boring a casino is when you don’t want to gamble? I’m on the phone trying to find another ride home, but no one was close enough. As I am sitting in the food court, loudly talking (probably screaming) to another friend on the phone, this guy comes and sits down. He says to me, “Hey, I’m J. You look like you’ve had a rough night, let me buy you a drink.” And that was the end of that. Two weeks later, we were exclusive. 9 months after that we had moved in together. 2 years later, he’s still putting up with my craziness.

J and I could not be any more different if we tried. I grew up in the city, always academically motivated. Very Type A and OCD. I had the typical childhood – parents are still together, primed to succeed, went to great schools, graduated from college with honors, etc. Very shy and typical dork. J grew up in a very small town in Missouri (less than 4,000 people). His parents split when he was young and he was bounced from house to house all through his childhood. He did crazy shit and caused trouble with his schemes. After high school, he was left to figure his own way out. He doesn’t let little things bother him and is very go with the flow. He doesn’t quite look as far as I do in terms of preparedness. The way he approaches things is very different than how I do, and it has led to some fights and arguments. The kind where your head feels like it’s going to explode and you can’t make coherent sentences because of said head going to explode and all you want to do is scream until you lose your voice or walk out and slam the door. But then you cool off and realize both of you were dumb and you work it out. We will never see eye to eye on everything, but we definitely respect each other.

I’m not going to lie, J is very different from the person I ever saw myself with. He’s loud, messy, and will talk you to death if he has the choice. His life was on a very different track when we met – he was working for an insurance restoration company that had him traveling around the country. He gave that up to stay with me and has since started working towards his paramedic degree. He didn’t have anything figured out and was making it up as he went along. I, on the other hand, had a life plan. I knew my career track and I knew how I wanted to get there. I wanted to travel and settling down with the person and the kids and the white picket fence was the farthest thing from my mind. When we first met, he was working on commission and things were slow, but he had big dreams and I really liked that about him. 4 months into our relationship, we took a trip to his hometown and I met his entire family. Things moved a lot faster than we anticipated, and very much to my parents dismay, we took the next step of living together. My friends were shocked, my family was shocked, I was shocked. But we put our faith into this working.

I’m not an idiot, I know what it looked like – guy moves in with girl because he has no job and girl blindly takes care of him. But that wasn’t the case, he may not have had a lot, but he gave everything he had. And he was willing to work for everything. It was a long time before other people saw what I already saw. J has worked several temp jobs since then searching for the right job for him. In the mean time, we were working on getting him enrolled in the local community college to start making these dreams a reality. This was and continues to be a large life lesson for us. I have taken for granted what I was taught and how there was always a logical next step that we were being prepared for. For J, this is all new for him – the application, the classes, the processes, etc. It’s been a few years since high school and very difficult to transition back, especially on top of having a full time job. Patience has never been more of a virtue, one that I am very much struggling to have.

I will be the first to admit, I have my bad days. Everything has just been a little rough. Some days, I get frustrated that things aren’t going as quickly as I would hope. But, then J reminds me that things are moving forward. If you take where we were 2 years ago to now, we are in a completely different place. He is out of a dead-end job, working at the hospital, and going back to school for a career he wants. I am moving up in my position and working to obtain my certification. We have a dog, our own place, a great group of family and friends, and life is pretty good right now. Sometimes you just have to live in the moment instead of constantly looking ahead.

Life sucks and there is always a new hurdle to jump or fear to face. But as long as you have each others back, nothing is going to stop you from getting where you want to go. I’m really lucky to have this goofball by my side as we try to figure it all out together.

Happy 2 year anniversary, J! I love you more everyday, thank you for always making me laugh and telling me when I’m a crazy nutcase.


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