I was freshman in college. In other words, I was a baby. That's how I feel when I look back on it, now that I'm 27. I look back and think, my gosh. I was a kid. I was a kid, and I sat down two seats from a guy. A guy who was funny and smart and friendly, and I thought, yeah, we could be friends. And that's all I really thought, because that's all I was looking for. I was 18 and in college and lonely and scared and excited and overwhelmed, and I sat two seats down from someone I just thought I could be friends with. And that's what we were. Friends. And I know there's all this stuff out there about the friend-zone, and about how guys and girls can't just be friends, and so there's just a lot of pressure and confusion about labels and what people should be and what the definitions are. And I get that. I think some of it's true. But I was 18 and didn't really care too much about labels or friend-zones, and so we stayed friends. Then good friends. Then best friends. Then best friends who seemed to be fairly mutually exclusive. And you know what? It worked for us. Because we were 18 and probably stupid and naive and rather ambivalent toward what other people thought or said or did. Now we're 27, and the date on the calendar says we've been dating -- we've been friends -- for nine years. Nine years. My gosh. I can't even find a picture of us from nine years ago. It took us so long to label what we were that we didn't even take pictures together. No Facebook or Instagram, so no need to, I guess. And I look back and think, how did that even happen? How did I just happen to sit two seats down from the person I would marry? How did I know that this goofy, smart, head-in-the-clouds kid would grow up to be wise and kind and funny and exactly what I was unknowingly looking for? I'd like to think I was just a really great judge of character. That at 18 I knew what I was looking for in a friend, in a boyfriend, in a husband. But I'm not sure I really did. I don't believe in soulmates, but I do believe in kindred spirits and best friends. I believe in connection, in clicking, in just being with someone else. And from the very first day I met him, that was there. We connected. We laughed together and read together. We sat next to each other at lunch and met up after class. And slowly, I guess we fell in love. I didn't really think about it too much, and I'm glad. Now here we are, nine years later. We dated a long time before getting married, not really intentionally, but also not unintentionally. I think we really wanted to be sure that who we met at 18 would be who we wanted to be with at 80. So far, so good, and I wouldn't change a thing. Not how we met or how we dated or how we came to be. It's exactly as I would have written it for myself. It's a story that isn't too sappy, isn't too romantic. But it's funny, and it's got a few twists and turns, and some of it's downright sitcom-worthy. But most of it is just ours, and that's enough for me.
Nine years of dating is a little bit remarkable to me, which is absurd, since countless people date and are married for so much longer than that. But we're 27, and 18 feels so long ago, and I like that we're different, but really, the same. That kind of consistency is nice.
So here's to finding your best friend and getting to date them. I'd say it's a pretty great way to go.