Dan and I joined the hordes of people who headed to the Cape this Memorial Day weekend (ps: where did this #MDW hashtag come from and since when is it a thing?) to celebrate our third anniversary. We lucked out with great weather on Friday – plus a beach to ourselves – and even better weather on Saturday with practically a zillion of our closest friends.
Though I had visited for the first time a few summers ago, it was even more special this time. There’s something about traveling to a place that someone knows well enough – and cares enough – to share with you in its entirety (funny/embarrassing/heartwarming anecdotes included). Places like Wellfleet garner extra meaning when colored with the memories of people you love.
It was nearly bewildering to realize that our third anniversary had rolled around, and it’s even weirder when I think about it in terms of age: I was 16 when we first started dating, and in a few months I’ll be turning 20. Anyone parenting a teenager, who has once been a teenager, or knows a teenager knows that there’s a lot of life that happens within those four years. Our worlds look very different since our first date as we’ve adapted to college life together. Our friendship (just like any other friendship) requires reevaluation with time.
We started dating in our junior year of high school when my all-girl’s school started its rowing program by borrowing equipment and coaching from his. I, admittedly, was pretty creepy and got his number through a grapevine of friends; we saw each other a few days a week at the lake that spring, and though I knew relatively little about him, there was something I immediately liked. I asked him out the day before my junior year ended over a buffalo chicken pizza, and he pretended not to hear me so he could ask me out the next day. (Men, am I right?)
At that time and in the year that would follow, we really didn’t expect to find anything more in the relationship than a senior-year fling that would end succinctly – and smartly – before we headed off to college in the fall. Needless to say we were surprised when we found out that we were headed to the same school: Dan had applied early decision while I was waiting to hear back from a host of schools regarding the financial aid package. Before we know it, it was May, we were prepared to end our relationship and wish each other the best of luck before heading off to school – and suddenly realized that things may have gotten a little more convoluted than originally planned. Ultimately, we realized that when something is good, there’s no point in letting go of it solely on the principle of having what everyone else deemed as an inherently college experience – whatever that means.
There’s been a lot of growing up that’s happened since then; we went from seeing each other once a week to seeing each other every day, talking about potential colleges to talking about potential career paths and jobs and dreams after graduation. We’ve learned to adapt to change, accepting full-heartedly that there’s a chance in the future that we may grow apart rather than together – and that’s okay.
As someone who loves to plan the future – I will literally propose a plan for a year in advance while refusing to offer an opinion about what to do that afternoon – learning to embrace the unknown and roll with the punches has been invaluable. I’ve realized that the unknown isn’t inherently negative, and there’s something incredible about being pleasantly surprised by the universe – and especially by a cute boy in a boat.
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