My husband and I recently returned to visit the city where we met twenty-six years ago. It was our first trip back alone, and our first trip back in at least ten years. Walking the streets of Washington DC in our mid-forties was quite a different thing from us in our late teens. Not only has the city itself changed. We have changed.
I saw our younger selves on those streets, stars in our eyes. The romance of summer love but also the romance of power and prestige and ambition. We had big dreams in those days, dreams we believed would bring us back to that city. But nothing played out exactly as we thought it would. It wasn’t just one thing but many little ones—decisions, closed doors, unexpected desires.
Had we visited DC again in our late twenties or early thirties, I’m afraid we would have found disappointment, regret even, in how our lives were progressing. Him in a busy law practice. Me caring for three children consumed with school and soccer. A very suburban life. A far cry from what we’d envisioned in those long ago dreams.
But with almost twenty-four years of marriage behind us, this trip revealed a contentment and a comfortableness I couldn’t have imagined that long ago summer of 1985—or if I did, I imagined it to be unromantic and dissatisfying. A failure somehow. Instead, my almost mid-forties self discovered great romance in the familiarity of the man beside me, in the shared experiences, both good and bad, and the discarded and re-formed dreams we’ve experienced together.
No, the dreams of our youth didn’t come true—at least not in the way we imagined them then. Instead, the Lord gave us something different, something that turned out to be better. And I’m so thankful He did.