In 1998, Japan hosted the Olympic Games. The world marveled as humanity’s oldest space traveler launched into the blue. The Colorado Rockies struggled to stay out of the basement, prevented only by the even-worse Arizona Diamondbacks.
Oh, and a young Colorado couple realized they had no idea what they were doing, but were willing to make a try of it together.
Fast forward 23 years later and …
Did someone give us the script of “Groundhog Day” when we weren’t looking?
OK, I’m teasing a little bit here. Obviously, we’ve seen more than a few shock waves since the days when Google was new, Facebook was non-existent and masks were mostly for operating rooms and trick-or-treaters.
But after 23 years together – as of July 25 –Heather and I still spend a lot of time feeling like we’re making this up as we go along.
“It’s really only 10 years, right?” Heather teased me the other day. “We’re not counting the days with all the chronic illness stuff, are we?”
Sounds great to me.
It’s a little startling to think about. We’ve seen the larger world deal with Y2K and 9/11, ubiquitous computing and social media, even worldwide pandemic. (All of which have somehow failed to shake “The Bachelor” from the airwaves, by the way.) In our own lives, we’ve left Colorado and returned, become parents of a sort, and carefully learned how to spell scary stuff like “multiple sclerosis,” “ankylosing spondylitis” and “post-journalism career.”
But through all the blessings, scars and lessons … well, it still feels like we’re on day 2. With a world ahead and no idea how we’re going to meet it.
I guess that’s true for all of us, isn’t it?
We like to think we know better. From the first day that someone asks “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, we start to build grand plans for the future. It might be a general ambition or a detailed breakdown that looks like Richard Branson’s pre-flight checklist, but we like to think we know where we’re going and that we have some control over how to get there.
And then – life happens. A lot. And then a lot more.
If we’re lucky, we hang on to a piece of what we were expecting. If we’re even luckier, our old dreams give birth to new ones. I never expected to leave newspaper reporting – but I also never expected to be a parent-by-choice to Missy, either.
But a lot of times – scary, tiring times – it can feel a lot like circling the Monopoly board. The territory looks awfully familiar, but you’re not quite sure where you’ll land. (And that $200 for passing Go never seems to materialize.)
At those moments, I’m glad to not be the only piece in the game.
In a world where the changing and the changeless can be equally terrifying, it makes a difference to face it together. To know that even if you’re guessing, one person is guessing along with you.
I don’t know what tomorrow will be. Some days, I’m barely sure what yesterday was. But I know who I’ll be facing it with. And that makes all the difference.
Happy anniversary, hon.
Oh, and if we’re replaying 1998’s greatest hits … do you think we can get a Broncos Super Bowl win out of it?