Today is my partner Clay’s birthday. I don’t really expect you to care much about that. But I will take this as an opportunity to tell you a story about my life if you happen to be interested.
I am 44 years old, about to turn 45 in the early part of 2013. I did not find a relationship that made me feel good and loved and happy until I was 40 years old. I was in many relationships before that, all with good people. But in each of those, something or another was very wrong, and in each of them I ended up, sooner or later, feeling awful.
Maybe it was bad luck, or maybe it was just that I didn’t know who I was yet or what I wanted in my life.
So in 2004 I ended my last unhappy relationship and decided that I was going to stop dating entirely until I figured out who I was and what I wanted. It was that year that I started sewing and painting and drawing prolifically. I still worked full time, and so this happened mostly after I got home from my job at the end of the day and all day on the weekends. I started sharing my work on the internet, and I made friends with other creative people. After awhile I stopped feeling lonely and started feeling genuinely happy. In fact, so happy that I’d forgotten about dating entirely.
Fast forward four years to 2008. The year before, I had left my job to make art for a living and open a store with my friend Rena. Life was good. I was living my dream. It is really true (maybe some of you have experienced this) that when you are single and also happy, it can feel like the perfect life. Why would you want to bring anyone else into it who might mess it all up? But I also knew deep down I wanted to be in a relationship again, and this time I needed it to be different.
So I made a list of all the qualities that I wanted to find in a partner and I tried to envision what a happy relationship might look like. I didn’t hold back from listing everything that seemed important, everything that had previously been missing for me. And then I waited.
I’m not going to say how Clay and I met, but I didn’t have to wait long. In a way, I’d been waiting for four years, but really it had only been a couple of months since I made the list. The moral of this story isn’t that Clay has, oh, 99% of the qualities I had on my list. The moral of the story is that I was finally completely ready for magic to happen, and then POOF, it happened.
This coming summer Clay and I are getting married. While gay marriage is not legal in California (yet), we’re having a wedding and a big old party to celebrate our life together (you can read about Clay’s proposal to me here). Whenever I have the opportunity to celebrate my relationship with Clay, I take it. And today, her birthday, is one of those days. Clay made possible for me what I never thought possible: that I could be wholly loved, wholly appreciated, wholly myself. She has an enormously kind heart. She is brimming with love, not just for me, but for everyone in her life. I love her so much, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have her by my side every single day.
So worth the wait.