Twelve years ago tonight my husband asked me to marry him while we were decorating his Christmas tree. It wasn’t as I’d imagined: I was wearing a Sunny Delight long sleeved tee with swordfish juice stains (I’d changed from work clothes into one of his shirts and he made swordfish for dinner). It wasn’t as I’d imagined, but it was heartfelt, it was private (no big show at Fenway Park or hiding my ring in a dessert for the whole restaurant to see). I didn’t imagine getting engaged in a Sunny Delight t-shirt in South Boston, but I also didn’t think I’d ever meet “the one”.
I was so anxious about not getting married before age 30, I’d talk about it with my girlfriends, and when I was drunk I’d cry to guy friends who wanted to be more than friends. I’d get moody at weddings. Seeking answers on “when?”: I asked palm readers and psychics and read my horoscope in reputable places like Town and Country and Elle. I even passed my wedding file to a friend for safekeeping because I thought it was jinxing me.
I worried so much about getting married that I hung on to the biggest jerk of a boyfriend for three years who all of my friends and family (oh, and my boss) pretty much hated, for good reasons.
Luckily, I managed to have some fun in the meantime and didn’t waste my twenties completely: in fact, nearly every one of my friends who got married after college got divorced a few years later and turns out I knew the ropes on the singles scene. I shared beach houses in Fire Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Newport. I was chosen be a plus one on a work trip to Italy and France because I was single and my friend was going through a divorce. I spent a lot of time alone, took classes like magazine writing, went to parties, hosted lots of parties, watched a lot of Lifetime and even lived by myself for a year.
But the day I moved into my own place was around the time I started dating “the one”. We walked around the cobbled streets of the Back Bay in Boston, holding hands. We met each other’s friends and family. We traveled together. It felt right.
It felt right then, and it feels right now, 11 years married, 13 years together and 3 children later. And I was married at age 29, right under the wire. Why did I worry so much?