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Paper beats Rock

Intro: This was written on our first year anniversary – which we celebrated in Sitges. 9 years prior to that, I had persuaded Jason to move in with me by pointing out that Tiddly (our dog at the time) was lonely and would like him to come live with us.

I was 43 when I first met Jason. Prior to that there had been one relationship of four years from 30-34. The rest of the time I was single.

To say that I was stuck in my ways would be like describing the M25 as a bit circular.

But then the immovable object met the irresistible force and my life changed forever. A lot has been written about the compromises involved in entering into a relationship, the adjustments you have to make, the cupboard space you have to sacrifice, the toothpaste improperly squeezed. For me, those are the best bits. Well some of the best bits - sex and snuggles have their place too. But adjusting, to be part of a larger whole, becoming an EU instead of an angry, isolated Brexit? Gets my vote. In that ongoing wrestling of personalities that is a relationship, every argument I lose, every ground that I concede is ultimately a gain for me as it’s part of a constant movement in both directions - the great dance of life. And I love every move - even when I’m on the back step. Backwards in heels is a move I never thought I’d have to learn but I’m so honoured and so proud that I have.

In my previous, more binary existence I used to spend far too much time considering the qualities that make a man a man. Nowadays I’m more concerned with what makes a person whole. The answer to that is different for everyone. But for me the answer is simple: Jason. I really don’t have any needs beyond him. I adore my family and friends. The time we’re spending with many of them right now in our beloved other home, Sitges is joyful beyond compare. But if they all go home tomorrow (please don’t), it would be fine. As long as Jason stays.

Forgive me if this sounds like a smug, entitled paean to coupledom. For sure I am smug and entitled. Privileged too. But this is simply a personal account of how I feel. I have no regrets about coupling up. Nor about embracing marriage and restructuring it to meet our own needs. I have only one regret: that I didn’t really start living my life until I was 43. Before that I was a mess of work with a life on hold because I didn’t have the inner strength to live it alone. Such bollocks. Such a waste. Every life is valid and wonderful as long as it is fully lived. But sit on the edges and wait in misery because not everything is aligned perfectly enough for you? That’s just throwing it away. I won’t ever get those years back - though I’m more than making up for it now. If I have one lesson to impart it’s to stop waiting, step off the edge, wade into the fudge of life, embrace the grey, concede to win. Live.

Today is our anniversary. One year. Paper. Not Olympian Gold. Not even shameful bronze. Just Paper. Not the most glamorous of materials in a materialistic world. But without paper we would have no words. And words are all I have to offer.

Tiddly’s glad you chose to move in. He’d like you to stick around.

But I do need some drawer space back.

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