It’s been said that once you get married you can “start your life.” I’ve always found this to be a curious phrase, and I don’t know if I was ever sure of what it meant. At first, I was actually a bit offended by the phrase. As if you weren’t living until that moment when you and your partner sealed the deal, as if everything that you accomplished leading up to that moment meant nothing. Now you can start your life. But I think I sort of get it now, and I don’t agree.
For me, marriage was just one of the steps in the process for establishing my adult life. Having someone to share my life with, the life that I was going to build with my partner. But we would still need to build that life to start it. And that’s what we’ve been doing these past five years. We’ve been building and building and building. We moved into a better apartment. I got a promotion. He got more work. We had a child. We have accomplished a lot, but we are still building, and it is exhausting and seems never ending. We have made great progress, but we still have a few more pieces of the puzzle to put together before I think we can say we are “starting our lives.”
And that doesn’t diminish anything we did before our marriage. That doesn’t diminish anything from even before that. I just feel like you spend a lot more time building than what you might have expected. You sort of think you are just going to magically be in the next stage of your life with all your ducks in a row. But it doesn’t happen that way. There’s a lot of work and even some luck that goes into it all. And it takes a lot of time.
And maybe you have to get to a point where you’ve built your life, and from there you can nourish it, maintain it, improve it. But it’s hard to even think about all of that until you’ve built it; until you’ve gotten to the point where you can say, “This is it. I have all the pieces. I have all that I want, all that I need. I can start my life now.”
Right now, I’m still on the road. Sure you can say life is about the journey not the destination, but until I’ve built that foundation, the journey hasn’t begun yet. We’ll be there soon, and I can’t wait until we are.