Today is my 21st anniversary. On September 16th 1991, Susan Bradley said “I do” and became Susan Voland. Our journey together has been full of ups and downs. Our marriage has survived a variety of job/career changes, multiple moves and the adoption of three children. There have been rough patches and plenty of adventure. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve managed to beat the odds and are still going strong.
As fate would have it, I had to travel today. I’m sitting in an airport with another 2.5 hours before my flight takes me home. That’s a lot of time for people-watching.
An airport is like a mini cross-section of the human population. I’m surrounded by people of all ages, sizes and ethnicities. The sounds (and smells) of various lifestyles and cultures are everywhere. I find myself imagining where some of the people around me are headed, and where they’ve come from. I’m reminded of the song “Meant to Be” by Sammy Kershaw. The lyrics and video tell the story of a man and woman who chance to meet at an airport and wind up spending the rest of their life together.
Susan and I didn’t meet at an airport, but we very well could have. Our story, like that of most couples, started with a meeting that could have easily never happened. Looking back, there are a thousand decisions I made prior to meeting her that added up to us being together. Had I gone to school somewhere different, taken a different job, etc., we never would have met. And the same goes for her.
Sometimes we look back at decisions we’ve made with regret. If only I’d decided to go left instead of right, we think, I’d have the corner office. If I’d taken path “A” instead of path “B” I’d have achieved something more by now. What we usually fail to think about are the seemingly chance consequences of those decisions. Change that one choice years ago and yes, I would be in a different line of work. But I’d also probably be with someone else, or with no one.
Susan often asks me if I’m happy. Sometimes I’m not too quick to answer. Like most everyone, I have regrets. There are things I’ve done and things I’ve said that I wish I could take back. But I’m happy with the course my life has taken. I like where my decisions have brought me. And our future together looks bright.
I believe we are who, and where, we are as a result of the decisions we make – so I try to live my life with intent. I don’t know where the people around me are going; but I know where I’m headed and who I’m traveling with. Some things are just meant to be.
Happy Anniversary Susan! Here’s to the next 21 years.