Last night, I had dinner with friends from church while my husband reconnected with friends from high school. We each needed the nights we had. More than that, though, I think we each needed the nights we had away from each other.
It's hard being married. For a million reasons. And one of those reasons, at least for me, is how our lives combine.
My husband and I didn't go to college together. I grew up in Texas, outside of Houston, and he grew up here in Oklahoma, just minutes away from where we live. We met our senior year of college, and almost instantly it was just the two of us - trying out hardest to fit our lives together and finding that it was nearly impossible to cram years of separateness together.
Four years later, we're still trying to figure it out. And last night, after we both got home at the exact same time, we lay in bed and talked about how we make all of it work.
It would be easier, in some ways, to pick up our life here in Oklahoma and move somewhere entirely new to us both. Somewhere that would force both he and I to make new friends. But the easier way is not always the right way, and we know that, for now, we are called to stay in Oklahoma.
We've talked about making effort a lot lately. Effort in our relationship. Effort in friendships. Effort in ourselves. And last night, as he discussed how it was good and strange to reconnect with people I know from a distance but not close up like he does, he spilled words out that echoed my heart.
The hustle and bustle and loneliness and joy of Christmas is over. But there's a whole new year heading our way, and with that new year comes the chance for change and growth. And knowing that my husband wants the growth I so desperately want makes me feel closer to him than ever before.
It's things like this - that I could say are little but really are big - that give me so much hope about 2012. Because 2011 was hard. Maybe not quite as hard as 2010 (in some ways) but so much harder in others. There were dreams lost and realized in 2011. A lot of growth and a lot of tears. Many questions and not enough answers.
And I know we are not the only ones who struggled in 2011. From what I can tell, it's been more of a difficult year for most. But it's almost through. Just a few more days, and we can officially wave goodbye and then hello to all the possibilities that rest in the change of a single number.
My night wasn't filled with realizations last night. Just quiet moments, good food, conversations, and the feeling washing over me that, as much as I might fight it, God has me right where He wants me.
I'm learning to be okay with where I am. To relish it even. It's not perfect, but never again will it be December 28, 2011. Never again will I have the opportunities set in front of me or the time to spend resting on the couch with my husbamd. Never again will I be 26 with a world of possibility in front of me.
I want to enjoy 2012. Even though there might be difficulty and frustration. Even though it won't be perfect. I want to enjoy it and find beauty in every moment. I want to live my life instead of just taking everything day by day. I want to reflect all this wonderment and beauty and all of these little and big moments.
We've talked a lot about the possibilities and what we want from 2012. There's been mention of my writing, of my husband's writing, of intentionally spending our time, and of doing things now instead of waiting for this or that to be better. The talk is good - great even. It binds us together and puts us on the same page. It gives us things to dream about and hope for.
But talk is also just talk. And there needs to be action along with it. The action is, I think, the scariest part. It's an act of faith. There's no time to look down or to worry. I simply have to get out of the boat and then not look down or worry.
This blog is the first step for me. There's accountability that comes with announcing that I've written more than 6,000 words of my new novel. There's accountability that comes with saying I'm going to be positive and happy and trust God even more in 2012.
With this accountability comes the possibility of people mocking me, laughing at my choices, and questioning my decisions. I know to expect and be prepared for all of these things. As scary as those things are, it's worth it, I think, to live life intentionally and to open yourself up to the possibilities.
So here I am. Open to 2012. Ready for what it will bring. Expecting wonderful things. Excited for growth. Thankful to have another life to share the year with.
(title from "falling slowly" by glen hansard)