When I was younger, I thought 24 was the greatest age to be. I thought I would be living in a home– not an apartment– with my fiance, we’d have our careers, a dog, movies-in-bed nights, and everything would be wonderful.

At 24, I had a large dark apartment to myself. I didn’t own a couch. I had a futon that wasn’t originally mine. I had cancer. I was single.

Needless to say, my plan didn’t come to full fruition.

Now, with less than a month left in my 27th year, I’m fully aware that time frames are useless because life happens. And it is a beautiful thing. I didn’t have a great love at 24, but I do now. The Man came into my life when I least expected it, in a bar where I least expected to find a decent brew, let alone a man. Now I have my great love. I have an adorable apartment, a red couch, and a bunny.

About a month ago, The Man and I fell apart, but never lost each other. We agreed to be there for each other while we were both making major lifestyle changes. Though it was never discussed, “being there” came to include messages to say goodnight and good morning, and see how the others day was going. Then the pet names resurfaced, and there were eventually invitations to after-work meetings at a local pool hall.

Today, “I love you” is said with great frequency.

Sometimes the timing is just off. It doesn’t mean that the relationship can’t work. I am a firm believer in being able to reflect honestly. Stop for a minute. Breathe. Look inward and find out what you are, who are you, what you want, what you deserve, and what you can become on your own. Then bring all of that out to show to the world. They’re ready for it. You’re ready for it.

What I found was that nothing is over until it’s over. I am not over. My story is still going on, and in some ways it’s just beginning. So is The Man’s story. Our collaborative story is still going on, as well. We are aware of the fact that there are different stories at play here. There’s me, him, and us. The other day he said something that spoke volumes about where we both are in terms of ourselves and each other.

“You go, we go, right?”

Yes. Always.

I had a dream life, then I woke up. I had cancer, and it was eliminated. I had fantastic loves, then they ended. I had a futon, and I left it behind. I have a heart. I have a goal. I have a pen. I have a partner. I have The Man.

Nearly a year ago, celebrating my birthday, unaware of the love 27 would bring.
Nearly a year ago, celebrating my birthday, unaware of what 27 would bring.