I'm a lucky girl. Except I don't like to use the word "lucky." I think "fortunate" is better. I'll even go for "blessed."
I've been married to Big J for over 12 years. We met during our first semester of college, nearly 18 years ago. When I turned 35, I joked with him that he'd known me for more than half of my years. I did it mostly to tease him and make him feel old, but I smiled inside for more than just that reason.
Just like any other couple, our marriage has been filled with ups and downs. Poorer and richer (in that order, but we are by no means "rich" in the financial sense). Sickness and health - thankfully, mostly health. Struggles and smooth sailing - and we have had our share of each. Changes in jobs, homes, and the size of our family. A lot has happened in twelve years.
A few days ago, the kids and I visited the area where Big J and I used to live. We enjoyed some time with friends, ate lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, and drove around the downtown area where I used to work. The city has changed a great deal, thanks in part to the growth of the university. The building in which I used to work is gone - demolished years ago - and the office in which I used to work has moved to another (beautiful) area of campus. Near the end of our time in the city, I drove out to the suburban community in which we used to live. The drive to our former home seemed unfamiliar - almost as if I'd not driven it before. Although the billboards had changed and there were new stores along the route, the road was still the same - yet it felt completely foreign. Then I drove past our former home - the first home we purchased together, where we took on our first home improvement projects, and where we brought Mister J after he was born (we moved soon after). Although it still looks the same - right down to the paint colors and the curtains in the attic windows - it didn't feel familiar any more.
I had mixed emotions as I drove out of town, bordering on tearfulness. Big J and I made so many memories there, so I had expected this visit to bring up a tidal wave of emotions. Contrary to my expectations, there wasn't any sense of nostalgia. I left with a sadness because I didn't miss our life there.
In retrospect, I find these emotions to be a blessing. Of course I miss our friends that still live there, and certainly there are good memories, but I don't have a longing for what used to be. This confirmation of the contentment that I feel right now is such a blessing. We have made a new home, in a new town, with new friends. It didn't happen right away - we've been here for over six years now. And of course, life isn't perfect - we have our struggles just like any other couple/parents/homeowners/family. But the peace I feel inside is wonderful. It's like a breath of fresh air every time I think about it.
Contentment is a wonderful feeling.