Who's counting? A note on anniversaries

Photo by Stebaneze

I was at a party on Saturday night with Fella and his med school classmates ("Gubernaculum's my favorite word, too!") when someone asked me, "So how long have you guys been dating?"

"Ummm ... erm ... well, it depends," I replied.

"Depends?" she said.

"Yeah, I mean -- hang on." I turned to Fella. "How long have we been dating anyway?"

His eyes gleamed with the light of love that only a woman acting like a man can engender.

"See, that's why I like you," he said. "You're not even counting!"

Ah, Fella, if you only knew. You see, the real root of my question was about when to start counting. Was it from when we realized we liked one another after President's Day? When we got on the same page about it over 4th of July? What about our first visit on Labor Day? Or when we said we were 'official' during Columbus Day?*

* Yes, clearly we have a federal holiday fetish. Lord knows what Memorial Day will bring.

The truth is, Fella, I'm not the woman you think I am. I really like marking time. And while I'm not a 'monthiversary' addict, I do consider myself a year/five-year/decade kind of girl.

Why the annual love? In part, I follow anniversaries keep the greeting card industry copywriters in business (c'mon, you know we need those jobs right now). I also like an excuse for gifts, flowers, parties, or surprise European vacations where appropriate.

But I mark milestones mainly because they're a socially sanctioned form of navel-gazing, much like blogging or karaoke. They compress all your major victories, minor frustrations, and regular chores into one convenient timeframe, and push all the trends you missed (or chose to ignore) to the surface.

For example:

* Today marks my second year in DC. (You can read about the first year here.) Not much has changed -- oh, except for one of my roommates, a new job, that boy, and a renewed sense of purpose in my chosen life path.

* Today also marks my parents' 31st wedding anniversary. (You can read my dad waxing sentimental on their 30th here.) That journey has been nothing BUT change, with two kids, 3 states, 9 houses, and countless date nights to attest for it.

* Soon I will write Prayer #100. (Read the prayer series to date here.) What started out of frustration with young adult ministry has morphed into a personal mission to explore my own faith and help others think it through too. A good example of ending up where you thought you might be in unexpected ways.

So, who knows what will happen on Feb. 3, 2011? (I haven't hung my pictures from last year, by the way.) I imagine I'll still be writing, and still observing federal holidays, and still marking time in my own way -- just to see how it keeps unfolding.