Isn’t life a funny thing.
If you’d bumped into me 3 years ago and asked me what I thought the next few years would hold for me I most definitely would NOT have predicted any of the things that have since transpired although, to be fair, I don’t think most people would have picked ‘global pandemic’ out of the hat for their predictions either. I might have predicted (hoped) for a few things but I’m pretty certain that I would not have said that I would be engaged and living with my beautiful, loving fiancée and our two dogs.
That said, if you’d asked me 2 years ago then I probably would’ve told you that this is exactly where I would be, although back then the proposal I had tentatively planned didn’t end up happening (I refer you to oft mentioned global pandemic) but turns out that just made the proposal all the more special and I don’t think it could’ve gone any better.
She said yes, by the way.
The location of the proposal doesn’t matter, not to anyone else, but it means something to us. To be fair it doesn’t look like much, just few slabs of pavement that hundreds of people must walk on every day, but for us it’s where it all really started.
So that’s where we went, that’s where I asked her to marry me, that’s where she said yes.
Like I say, the place doesn’t matter nor the time, and whilst getting engaged was something we’d discussed and were both ready for, I managed to keep the day itself as a surprise. So it was just as surprising for me just how overcome with happiness I was in that moment. Just a boy, standing in front of a girl…. and yes, there were tears from both of us, I slipped the ring on her finger, we kissed and then floated home, fighting the urge to tell every passerby that ‘Hey, we just got engaged!’.
So here I am, living a life that makes me happier than I’ve ever been, feeling like I’ve finally discovered my true self, discovered a contentment and ease that I’ve never really felt before, and every single morning I wake up with a smile on my face, mostly because of the face that’s just kissed me awake.
Whilst I’ve mentioned my partner here a couple of times in passing I’ve found myself pausing each time, unsure of how much to divulge. However, given we just got engaged I think it’s time to properly introduce her and the role she’s played in my life over these past couple of years.
Her name is Rebecca (Becca), she has beautiful big eyes and a cute bum but, more importantly, her quiet strength, confidence, relentless taking of the piss, and genuine love for me is something I want to shout from the rooftops. I feel seen for the first time in a long time. I feel enabled to be me, with all the flaws that entails. I’ve never felt so sure about something, so positive that this is right. We talk about ‘us’ often and both say the same thing, both of us STILL pinching ourselves that this is real, this is our life, and my oh my are we just so damn happy!
With all that in mind then I wonder why I’ve not really mentioned her here. It’s not like we’ve been hiding away on the rest of social media, but I guess here is where my words land and fail and stand in history for the world to see. Ahhh the world. But the thing is if I’m so happy and so content, why shouldn’t I be vocal about her, why shouldn’t I be writing about her us, about us? What was giving me pause?
At first I think it was to protect ‘us’, and will admit there was a part of me that, considering my previous relationships – throughout all of which I also felt love – wondered if proclaiming that I’ve found happiness again could somehow be construed as putting down those previous relationships, marking them as somehow less important or less meaningful, or just ‘less’ in some way?
I know I’m not the first person to be in this position and it’s easy to say that time moves on for everyone and not every relationship works, I’m a divorcee after all. And it’s not that I look back on my previous relationships and think ill of them, more that they weren’t ultimately right for me (even if I didn’t always truly appreciate why at the time) and now they are over. That sounds cold but it’s the truth. Yes I was happy at times, and yes I felt love for those people, but in the end those relationships weren’t right for me for a multitude of different reasons that I’m not going to get into here (ever).
I guess if you remove all the emotions the reality is simple, those relationships are in the past, they helped me learn and grow, they helped me change, and this is where I find myself now.
But then I found myself pondering what makes this relationship different? Why is Becca so special to me?
Editors note: Yes. He overthinks things sometimes. No. It’s not always a bad thing.
It’s hard to be specific but, as cliched as it seems, the simple fact is that we clicked and fell in love almost straight away. Even if we didn’t want to admit it at the time, we both knew it, both knew where it was heading and it was just a matter of time.
Looking at the early days of our relationship it’s obvious now, that initial attraction was deeper than the usual quick bursts of lust, the simplicity of the emotions I was experiencing made it all seem so obvious and clear and very soon we were spending every minute we could together; I would pick her up from work (late) and drive to her place so we could see to the dogs, we’d fall asleep together in the wee small hours and I’d be up before dawn to drive home to change to go to work. I couldn’t stay away, and the few nights we did spend apart just made me feel listless and a bit lost.
There is a word we both use to describe how things have unfolded; “Obvious”. We both feel it, both love each other as deeply as the other and everything after that is, well, obvious. There isn’t any feeling of surprise about how things have panned out for us, it all seems (now) like this is just where both of our lives were heading and, now that we are here and on this journey together, everything else is easy, straightforward. Obvious.
And I really do feel so lucky to be part of her life. Becca continues to impress me, amaze me, and makes me feel good about myself. We support each other, listen when we talk, and nothing is ever a big deal. She also doesn’t put up with any bullshit which helps if I’m just being a tired irrational grump (seriously, just call me on it, it’s the best way to snap me out of it). We laugh often and when she kisses me awake in the morning I find myself smiling.
She supports me gently, not nagging or cajoling, just makes the odd suggestion now and then (OK, I’ll say it, she’s always right!) and she has given me a quiet confidence, something much more concrete than the blustering confidence I have grown so used to hiding behind. My family and friends can see the difference in me and said as much.
For my part I only hope I am able to support her as much as she has me this past year when my Dad passed away. She was there whenever I needed her, gently and lovingly supporting me and my family, leaving me alone when I needed space, holding me when I felt lost. She is kind and considerate, generous by nature, and passionate about helping others. She is beautiful in so many ways she doesn’t realise. And she has a cute bum.
How did I get so damn lucky?
I won’t lie, it feels odd to be starting over with someone. I presumed I’d passed the age of thinking about such things and whilst I’m not that old (yet) there was a period for a couple of years where I figured that being single wasn’t such a bad thing, I’d had my fun.
Age is but a number though and so here we are, engaged and on a new journey with each other. I’ve no real idea where we will end up and, whilst we have the usual dreams and aspirations that all couples do, this time they feel grounded and possible and have a whisper of anticipation about them, like the things we hope for our future are already out there waiting for us, beckoning us towards them.
And now we are engaged, and will be married, and I cannot stop smiling.
Isn’t life a funny thing.