The year we turned 25 was a rough one. Neither of us were where we thought we would be. We spent the evening toasting each other, and every toast was the same. A quarter of a century old...and we haven't learned a damn thing.
A quarter of a century later, and I'm still not where I thought I would be. My life is different than I imagined it. There are many things I still haven't learned, like how to make fudge or keep my mouth shut.
It's not for lack of experience. The last twenty five years have been busy. I've changed jobs - entire careers - and changed houses. I've lived in England and Malaysia, and traveled to Australia, Japan, and France. I've gotten married, gotten divorced, gotten married again. I've lost people I've loved, through death or distance or diffidence. I've been through hurricanes, both literal and figurative. I've become a parent.
And I have learned a few things along the way.
I've learned that I don't look good in orange.
I've learned that it's a bad idea to hold a four-month-old on your lap while you're eating soup.
I learned when I met my husband that hope is real.
I learned when I had my children that love can be fierce.
I've learned that the world really doesn't care what kind of day I'm having. I've learned that's a good thing.
I've learned that life doesn't stop for a broken heart. No matter how deep in despair you are, the dog still needs to be let out and you still run out of milk.
I've learned that friends don't have to be there to be there for you.
But mostly, I've learned that accepting the gift honors the giver, and life - no matter how different it is than what you imagined - is a gift.