Today is a very special day. It was 17 years ago that I met Hal (person) and my life changed forever. I find it difficult to explain how much my life has changed in the last 17 years, but it has all been for the better and I would never think of changing a thing that has happened since then. I know that I am incredibly lucky to have found the right person, and Hal feels the same way. Having someone to go through life together with is so wonderful, the thought of it ever changing fills me with dread.
17 years ago, I was leaving the Navy and also very unsure where my life was going to take me, or what choices I would be making as I started over again. I had several friends, but no one serious. I had just emerged from a disastrous attempt at a relationship and I was really disappointed with everything that life seemed to be throwing at me. I had no direction other than to the bar so I could drink away the hurt and the anger that was consuming me.
When I met Hal there was no instant flash of recognition that he was the one. We went through the dating routine for a few weeks until I began to realize how comfortable I felt around him. Other changes were more gradual, it took me nearly 2 years to finally stop the drinking that was going to lead to no good result. I do know that the one thing that really struck me was that Hal never once commented on it. I began to realize that I needed to be with him and not with the bottle. I could really put away the liquor in those days and having 8-10 strong Long Island Iced Teas was not at all unusual for me. I did shots all night long out of habit.
I knew that deep down inside that I was really running from something, and that was the fear of being alone. Hal stayed with me and waited for me to conquer my demon. If that isn’t love then I don’t what is. As my mind became clearer I knew that I wanted to be with him and no one else. The circle of friends began to shrink as often happens when we meet that special someone. I didn’t feel that I lost anything in the bargain, instead I felt better than I ever had.
In less than a month, we were living together. We decided that we were going to make a life together no matter what anyone else thought. Hal met my Mom and she fell in love with him as I had. We have gone through the tough times in our 17 years together. We have each lost our last parent and consoled each other through the grief. We have each changed jobs, Hal has retired and started a new career for himself. We moved to DC and began a new part of our life together in 2002 and have been here with each other ever since.
We have each gone through financial hard times, but we helped each other through them. With each passing day, we have grown closer and closer. We have had our arguments through the years, but we have always worked things out and stayed together. Anything that is truly worthwhile is always worth fighting for.
I don’t know where I would be today if I hadn’t met Hal. I never want to know because I am sure that I would not be as happy as I have been for the last 17 years.
17 years. This is almost 1/3 of my life. Our relationship is such an integral part of me that I cannot think of myself without thinking of Hal as well.
This is a day to celebrate. It marks the 17th anniversary of the happiest day of my life!
Hal is the handsome one without the glasses, FYI.