When I was 18 years old, I was sitting in the office of my Company Officer at the Naval Academy Prep School.
He was a Marine Corps Officer and rarely showed emotions.
He was in the midst of accurately describing what a dumbass I was.
His phone rang and for some reason he answered it.
Clearly, it was his wife on the phone. She was as unhappy with him as he was with me.
It was an odd circle of life moment.
He hung up and just stared at me for way too long.
I sat there not knowing what I should do and just praying that somehow time would speed up.
Then he said what would lead me to today which is my 9 year wedding anniversary.
“Fernandez, I don’t remember why you are sitting in my office but let me give you some advice. Don’t get married until you are 30. You still won’t know what you want but you will know what you don’t want. Get out….”
We got married when I was 31 on 11/11/11.
Fast forward 18 years, two other engagements, multiple break-ups with my now amazing wife and two beautiful children, and here I am.
Happy as a clam.
It hasn’t been perfect, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, been a less and ideal husband and father, but I’m here.
The road was winding when I thought it would be straight.
There were far more stops than I anticipated. Some long, some short.
All I know is I came back to the same person, different spot over and over again.
Each time knowing less about what I wanted and more of the things that I didn’t want.
Sometimes that is more important.
What we want will change over time, but knowing what we don’t want helps to narrow things down.
This is a thank you to my wife for being patient, loving, hard-nosed, compassionate, and resilient.
All things I didn’t know I wanted.
Here’s to many more years of not knowing what we want and figuring out what we don’t want.
Keeping moving, keep trying.
You might be as shocked as I am at how lucky you end up being.