Anniversaries are odd things really. The date alone means nothing, the only importance is the significance that we attach to that date. February 9th, is just that....a day on the calendar, just being, not doing anything to anyone, benign in all aspects. Several February 9th's have come and gone with little to no emotional impact upon me at all.... many of those instances resulting in me going "oh, the 9th passed, huh" several days after the fact.
But not this February 9th. I'm out of sorts today. Actually I've been out of sorts for several days now....not emotional, or depressed....just feeling ungrounded, living in the ether. In fact on Saturday I was so concentrated on looking up and all around me, that I forgot I was walking until I came crashing down upon my back steps. It took almost an hour before I realized that the odd pain on my arm that was nagging me, was due to the fact that I had fallen on it and that it was filled with little splinters of wood. It wasn't until hours later that I realized my ankle hurt and that I have a muscle on my back/hip area that is cramped and inflamed.
This distraction doesn't feel manic, or over-burdensome.... rather it is very calm. While I feel in my body that I've been thinking deeply, my mind has been fairly clear. Maybe its the weather. Maybe its hormones, or diet, or sleep, or too much work, or not enough, or ....who knows. Finding something to blame my out-of-sorts-ness on actually doesn't help anything or anyone.
Maybe I'm just marveling at the passage of time...and the ineffability of it has finally melted my brain.
On the wall in my bedroom is a picture of two people who I love very, very dearly: my little brother and my best friend. I see this photo every morning, and while on most mornings I dismiss it as I've looked at it so often, I subconsciously know that it is there. The photo itself was taken on another February 9th, nine years in the past. Nine years ago being the date that I married Mr.3. Eight years ago on this same date marking the last full day that I spent with him, as I took him to the bus station the morning after. I sent him away with half the rent money and wanting so badly to believe him that he really had found a new job and that he was going back east for training and that he would return. Wanting anything, everything to feel better in our relationship...as the prior 3 weeks since he had returned home from being in jail for several months had been hell. I was scared of him, but didn't know that was the emotion I was feeling. The agitation of waiting in that line with him: his four bags of belongings heavy at my feet, knowing that he was taking too much with him for two weeks; the distance when I looked at him, he was a stranger, hard, angry and annoyed with my presence; and not watching him get on the bus, nor waving goodbye, not even a deep soulful gaze between us. I was just glad to be out of the bus station.
Looking back nine years ago to the wedding, it all seems like it was play being enacted by others. Anything that could go wrong did. I wanted to be married on the 2nd, because the idea of getting married on Groundhog Day made me chuckle. We couldn't and had to delay a week so that the person performing the ceremony would be in town. I couldn't afford $500 for a venue, so we tried to find the cheapest places possible....and we kept getting rejected wherever we asked. We finally ended up getting married in the Hinckley room above the Middle East Center. At the time, I told myself that it was quaint. So many moments of our relationship were marked by that building, that it seemed like some sort of cosmic symmetry. Plus, it was free and they recorded it for us from their overhead video camera. The invitations were so late back from the printers that we ended up having to print them ourselves on my crappy printer with poor graphics we copied off from the internet. I had a beautiful dress, which I seemed to wear only for about a hour. Bouquets and boutonnieres were made by me that morning with $18 of grocery store flowers because I had only $25 left on a credit card to buy them with. The restaurant I wanted to go after the wedding wasn't an option about 5 days before the as money set aside for the wedding was unexpectedly diverted to regular household expenses as a check for Mr.3 never came in. Everything I wanted, however modest, got halved under the guise of "compromising", but there really wasn't a choice. I should have called off the wedding. I didn't because of my pride.
I used to joke that it was the "cheap as free" wedding....trying to laud up my abilities to make something out of nothing, being resourceful against all odds, the frugal queen pulling off yet another amazing escapade. I really was trying to make something out of nothing though....and I succeeded. It is a very hollow victory.
Time is a funny thing really. Next year I'll be able to say that I was married once, a decade ago. Classifying things in decades is pretty cool when you think about it. It adds weight to the life experience gained, or it just highlights your inability to change and adapt. This adds weight though. Nine years ago everything felt like it would last forever, but always turned out to be temporary. Now, that which I would have understood as being temporary will last forever. At 26, having a friendship that would last into the double digits years was unthinkable. Making the five-year mark at any place of employment felt like a lifetime. In fact any five year plan somehow included an entire lifetime's worth of work: I would have my own home, a career, two kids, a new car, and retirement completely planned out, etc.
Looking at the future from your mid-twenties is exhausting. Looking at the future from your mid-thirties makes anything seem possible- when the time is right, if the time is ever right, and if the time is never right....then everything will still be ok.
And while I know that everything is ok....I also know that I won't have any tolerance today to deal with those who are caught up in the emotional aspects of the temporary and the permanent. Change can and does happen, but you have to work towards it. Crying about it, being horrified by the bad things in the world around us are meaningless exercises if they don't lead you to action. The past nine years has been marked by action....and progress. A decade ago, I used to have to call 5 or 6 nearly maxed out credit cards to see if there was $20 available to pay to go out to eat. Not now. A decade ago, I was worried that I would never be taken seriously in work, in life, in anything. Not now. I feel like I've been working so hard to change and improve my circumstances, that I haven't properly evaluated where I was and where I am.
That must be the true importance of anniversaries: we attach the significance so that we will always remember, we will always reflect, and we always say "never again"...and we will mean it.