A note to my 25-year-old self, on the occasion of my 15th wedding anniversary

Hey, there. You’re a mess. But that’s okay, because things are gonna take a spectacular and wholly unexpected turn pretty soon. Not long after you start to get your shit together and take responsibility for yourself, you’re going to meet someone.

He’s going to be your friend, someone you are decidedly NOT interested in romantically. He doesn’t fit your usual boyfriend profile — he is bafflingly quiet, with absolutely no need to inject himself into conversation or draw attention to himself. He is employed. FULL TIME! He wears business suits and has never owned combat boots and has no tattoos. In other words, he is a creature completely foreign to you.

He is one thing above all else: kind. And you do not know quite what to do with that.

He will become your friend, your companion for late night coffee house visits and music shows. You will take two years to become sure of one another, to learn to trust and open yourself up. And one day, after a snow fall, he will show up unbidden and shovel your driveway, knowing you can’t do it yourself with your neck and back injuries. And you will think: hmmm.

Within a few months of being together, you will have the inexplicable and unshakeable feeling that this is the person you are meant to spend the rest of your life with. It just makes sense in a way you’ve never felt before.

You will spend the next 15 years changing each other — not in the sense of forcing one another into a pre-designed box. More in the sense of learning to work as a team, balancing one another, growing together. He will demonstrate a patience and surety that dazzles you. You will travel the globe, laugh endlessly, and weather some of life’s toughest storms. How you get through sorrow and heartache together is as telling as how you navigate the easy times. And you will be loved in a way you genuinely did not know was possible.

(Understand, though, that this is not about perfection. This is about respect and resilience and the willingness to stay put long enough for life to smooth over. This is about gratitude.)

In other words, 25-year-old me, everything is going to be okay, no matter how it looks now. You will work hard to reclaim your life. He doesn’t do that for you. But he stays by your side the whole time, unwavering, and your life together will just continue to get richer and better.

So I guess you could say that with him, everything is going to be more than okay. Much, much more than okay.