Yesterday was the anniversary of our first date.
We met six years ago at match.com, but our relationship truly blossomed on a little relic called myspace.com (We were both too cheap to auto-renew match.com for one more month at the time!)
After several weeks of emails, Kristin and I decided to meet face to face for the first time. As many online couples do, we chose our first encounter at a Starbucks. I was excited and nervous that day, as was she.
We talked about life after school, the rush and worry of existence that only a young person in their mid-20s could, and cell phones.
(For the record, six years ago I had the Palm Centro and Kristin was in love with the Blackberry Curve 8330 with a pink case)
We’re pretty nerdy, I know.
I had such a great time that day, thinking I could talk to this woman forever and not be bored. She was so much like me, had similar struggles and success like me, and we just clicked from day one.
Ever the hipster, Kristin had blogs and took selfies way before most of the world knew these were even things. She was as smart as could be about stuff before it hit the mainstream, and so I even learned what a hipster was from her!
From an outsider’s perspective of our relationship, it was such a different dynamic, most people did indeed think we were crazy back then, but that was ok with us.
I think we were talking about rings within 2 weeks of meeting each other, and the great Cincinnati Wind Power Outage of 2008 ensured we made haste when moving in together.
This past weekend, for our six year dating anniversary, I took us both on a trip back down memory lane by compiling the 1st 30 days of our Gmail chats and making a scrapbook of them all. (thanks Google for wanting to know our entire lives, sometimes it actually comes in handy!) We read it at Starbucks.
I had a complete blast doing this, and something really struck me as I read all of the late night messages, giddy conversations and talk of the future with the two of us together.
One singular statement really read true in all of these love letters.
We were idiots.
It turns out we were both not great with money. Messages abound of “spotting” each other tens of dollars in between waves of the feast and famine that was payday.
My favorite text in particular talks about not having enough money for both a loaf of bread from Panera and gas, and how we were actually choosing between the two:
Gas won out if I recall. We didn’t have money for a loaf of bread, people.
As is often the case when no one has told you otherwise, we had no clue that we were living our lives in chaos in our mid-twenties.
As the relationship grew, we started facing our money fears head-on. I started working with a budget and telling Kristin how bad I really was with handling money. It was difficult, sure, but it saved us. We realized that we wanted more from our lives and struggling like this was not going to get us there.
Slowly but surely we began to turn our lives around. Not just with money but in all habits. The uphill battling together only made us stronger.
We started treating ourselves and others better. My life began improving because I admitted there was a problem. I started living a life of integrity and a sense of purpose that had somehow evaded me for so many years.
If you feel that you’re stuck and your life is not getting any better, or if you just can’t seem to move the needle enough on a project, know that we all start somewhere. For us, it was making plans to not want for so much and appreciate what we have.
If you struggle, know that there is always something better beyond today. Know that you can make those miracles happen.
If Kristin and I had not kept moving forward in our efforts with money, we would still be where we were at all those years ago. I can honestly say now that we are far better people, much happier in life and live with a renewed sense of gratitude.
We can’t wait to see what the next six years bring.