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You know the story; Kel and I met when we were barely twenty. Engaged six weeks later, broke the news to our families a few months after that. Then married at 22, moved around a lot in the same town, had some businesses but didn’t have babies. You know, CliffsNotes version. Which brings us to here; 16 years later and in our mid-thirties.

 

Grown-ups. Something that resembles being a grown-up, anyway; we’re trying. You know how it is, juggling a busy schedule of Fortnite YouTube videos, beverages on the couch and arguing over who’s turn it is to order the pizza. We’ve grown up together and to be honest if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here right now. Because we changed and life changed, and so, naturally, we as a couple HAD to change. Without leaning into who we are now and the things we want now, it’s possible I could have still been in love with that 20-year-old dude I met in Central Queensland. Possible, not entirely probable. And the same goes for me.

 

If Kel hadn’t adapted to the person I was becoming, the person I am in our relationship now, things would have looked very different.

 

We didn’t get far before there were challenges to face. Kel first met half of my family, then the other at funerals only months apart. Considering I had only known him myself for under six months at this point, the man he showed up as was a clear vision of who I wanted to be with. There were days between then and now that that man is nowhere to be found. But during those times, when I needed him the most, he stepped into our future and was there for me.

 

I’d have the same opportunity only months after our wedding. His father was diagnosed with cancer, that would ultimately take his life only days before our first wedding anniversary. We were 23; as I stood in the kitchen of his family home, cooking pancakes because that’s what I do. There was no fanfare or romantic dinner for two planned. Not at a time like this. And I didn’t want anything other than to take his pain away. Before, ensuring we’d had the honeymoon we’d postponed or received that special first-anniversary gift would have been important. But they weren’t.

 

That day, we both had a clear idea of what matters in life, in relationships and especially in marriage. 

 

When the time came to sell my first business, or for Kel to start his own we made these choices together. By this stage, we were in our mid-twenties and things had never gone off plan for us. We had somewhat smugly, on my behalf anyway, continued to tick things off our list and do so happily the majority of the time. But now, with my business struggling and him looking down the barrel of some big changes, it was time. Time to have a conversation about how our lives would change and where we were going from there.

 

On the podcast, I talked about it as a renegotiation of terms. That’s how I see it. Checking in with him, making sure he can communicate where he is at with things is important. Being able to share is just as important to me. When we got together, we had an idea of what we wanted and where life would go. I’m sure that’s not uncommon, who doesn’t. But what happens when that picture you had of how life would look doesn’t line up anymore? Or the path changes so dramatically that you can’t see your way back there? Then what?

 

In my experience, things break.

 

But it’s not all doom and gloom, hard times and bad, right? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve lightened up a bit. I take myself and life way less seriously than I did before. Together we have learned to embrace ditching the responsibilities and getting away from it all. Finding time to laugh, hang out and enjoy each others company. A long time ago someone was talking about marrying your best friend and I honestly didn’t feel like that described us. It all felt a little cringe and co-dependant to me.

 

But now, not so much. There’s no one that I want to share my good news with than Kel. He’s always the first person I text when I pick up a client or get an offer in my email. He helps me debrief when things are challenging me and I look to him for advice as someone who knows me better than anyone. Even though, let’s face it, his track record with recalling those little details SUCKS. He maintained up until the cruise that my favourite drink was a Long Island Ice Tea… Um, what?

 

It’s a mojito if we’re talking cocktails. Otherwise, a vodka soda with lime or a Sav Blanc will do the job.  

 

Not the point. But now you know. He’s the go-to guy. And while I don’t know if he would consider me his best friend, I know that no one can calm him down as I can. No one knows how to make him go slow when he’s spinning off into another dimension. We get each other, and after all this time together, we are lucky to have been able to work out what works and what doesn’t for each other. AND, probably most importantly, we continue to update that information as we change.

 

We’ve got a long way to go in this life together, touch wood, and one day maybe I’ll look back at this post and regret thinking I knew anything. But for now, looking over at the guy next to me, I’m proud of us. The people we are, the life we’ve made and mostly that we have had each other’s back every step of the way. I hope that no matter what the next 16 years has in store for us that we remember that. And I promise, if I’ve still got a blog then, I’ll make sure you guys get the update.