This March, Bret and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary with a trip to New York City!
It was such a fun and memorable way to mark 5 years of marriage.
We loved eating authentic NYC bagels (especially with lox and cream cheese!), wandering through a bookstore in Chelsea Market on a weekday morning before the crowds, seeing an original Vincent van Gogh at MOMA, strolling through Central Park, frequenting the M&M store in Times Square, and checking out the view from the Top of the Rockefeller Center.
It was cold, but it was fun. I loved sharing a giant, perfect slice of oreo cheesecake which reminded me of the cheesecakes I used to sell as a fundraiser for my middle school orchestra. And I loved listening to Bret point out places he remembered from his trip marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
The best part of the trip was getting to sit in on the live audience for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
I wanted to be in that live audience so badly and it was 100% worth the emotional roller coaster of being waitlisted a week before, getting a last minute spot, nearly having our flight cancelled for snow, and then waiting outside for 4 hours to get a seat. We were so in awe of the studio set details like the awesome chapel style dome with projection images. I loved glancing back and forth between live Stephen and the TV monitors to see how everything looked on the screen. We didn’t get a guest appearance by Jon Stewart, but we got to see Mindy Kaling which was wonderful!
I’m really glad we were able to take that trip. I’m really grateful for all of the adventures we’ve had during these past five years together.
Year 1: Lived in Florida and drove to Disney + the beach for day trips.
Year 2: Bret wrote his dissertation, was on the job market, and we went on a cruise!
Year 3: Bret got his Ph.D., we moved to North Carolina, and I ran my first half marathon!
Year 4: Visited England, Scotland and Wales on the most hilarious bus tour.
And that brings us to Year 5…
This has been an incredibly difficult year. Most days were saturated with grief and pain while I was navigating depression, feeling isolated and grappling with extremely difficult questions. Time kind of dissolved and I didn’t feel like myself at work or with most of my friends, but Bret was always there, validating my feelings. Being able to talk openly has been so vital to my healing. I’ve relied on Bret to stop me when I’m moving down a dangerous train of thought or worrying about something unrealistic. I know I could have survived this year without him, but I’m very grateful to have had him here. Of course, no matter how wonderful Bret is (and trust me, he’s amazing), it will never replace the relationship that’s missing. I started crying the last time I heard someone say “hey, come here, I want you to meet my parents!” …because I’ll never get to say that again.
Everything is different. We’ve both had a big priority shifts this year which has been really healthy. We’ve said ‘no’ to commitments that we weren’t totally invested in and now we have more time together to pursue other interests, adventures and to stay home. I love our new routines like making chocolate chip brioche french toast and ‘potato madness’ (potatoes, onions, eggs) for dinner on Friday nights. We dance around to music and Bret peels and chops potatoes while I make french toast batter and talk about our days. Another great experience from this year has been digitizing my family home videos in Bret’s office/our guest room. Spending time in that room is so relaxing and I think I love it because it isn’t mine.
I probably could have spent this whole year in my pajamas on my couch (honestly, I work from home, this would have been totally possible) but my mission has been to live the life I want. Just like we’ve said ‘no’ to some things, instead of cowering in fear or further isolating myself in sadness I’ve tried to say YES to new things that make me feel alive.
Based on those two pictures Year 5 looks pretty incredible. Together, we said yes to our first trip to Japan, witnessing the full solar eclipse in TN with some of Bret’s college friends, running a half marathon together, and most recently, that short but epic New York City trip. Through the pain, I’ve pushed myself to do things that I think will make me really happy (like going to Disney World) and things that are slightly uncomfortable (like flying solo in a middle seat on a 14 hour flight) because life is meant to be lived and I know my dad wants me to keep on living.
I say it every year and it’s always true, I love Bret more this year than ever before. I love this marriage we’ve built together. I love all of our adventures. I love writing together and working on projects together. I love the trust and comfort and happiness I feel when Bret walks into a room. I love how he forgives me when I screw up. This has been a horrible year, objectively, but our relationship is so strong and so good and I’m just so grateful. I hope that we have many, many more years together, but I’ve learned that life is short and unpredictable. I’m so grateful for this year that we’ve had together, and, honestly, I’m just going to keep living each one like it could be our last.
Oh, and because I want to document everything these days, here are some videos we made during year 5 of marriage. Check back in a couple weeks because a NYC video is in the works!