Monday, January 18, 2021

Lucky in Love? Not really.

I got my new driver's license today. After one year and eight months of marriage, I finally have a valid ID bearing my husband's name. 

Honestly, I could have just waited one more year to have my license revised and renewed at once (would have saved me time and money). But I think I've done enough waiting. I am excited to get slightly annoyed at people misspelling or misreading my new name—which, to no surprise, happened earlier at the licensing office. It's ATERRADO. Not Atterado. Not Alterado. And definitely, not Alternado. It's a hassle I can live with for the rest of my life.

On a serious note though, we have acquired properties and signed legal documents with OUR family name, and these require valid IDs.

Pre-Covid days. At Samal Island, surveying our hacienda to be. Hehe ☺

But more than anything, I want his name because I couldn't be more proud being married to a wonderful man. I look back at those times when I thought my life was not going anywhere. But here we are.

You see, I would not be the happy and content person I am today had I not chosen to love myself first. Had I not mustered the courage to walk away from a 12-year relationship with a guy who always placed me second to his non-essential hobbies and to whom I had a son, I would have fallen deep into a pond of goo that is Twitter where people put too much energy ranting about every damn thing. Had I not realized my worth, I would not be here speaking highly of my better half.

When I first met my then colleague, now husband, Jan, it wasn't love at first sight. I mean, he was terrible at making good first impressions. He was not the type of man you would want to show off. Smokin' hot? Forget it. Drives his own car? Can't even buy a new pair of shoes. Dresses well? Lousy. Charming? I wouldn't count on it. But seeing his true self, flaws and all, he is someone I would be proud of. He was a work in progress, just like I was.

We became really close friends. As our friendship grew, he was unknowingly hitting the marks on the qualities I want in a man (just to make this clear, walang ligawang nangyari). Intelligent. Check. Funny. Check (at least for me). Does not smoke. Check. Polite, respectful, and kind. Check, check, check. Knows his priorities. Double check. Albeit he did miss the finance department by a few inches (read: not financially irresponsible, just not well-off). But hey! I can fend for myself, so it was not a deal breaker. 

We are compatible in a lot of ways. And by that, I mean, even if we don't share the same hobbies and interests, his views, values, and goals align with mine. So even if you strip off the spark, chemistry, and romance, I can still see a future with the man. 

Seven years later, I am still truly grateful every day for him. I fell in love with him for the man that he was and still falling for what he is becoming. He is a great friend to anyone, a loving dad who has found talent in dancing he never knew he had, but an even better husband who has easily figured out my love language.

Ngiting tagumpay.

People always tell me how lucky I am to have him. Of course, I agree with them. But now that I that I think about it, I say luck has nothing to do with it. Sure, it was probably luck that led us to each other (if turning down two high-paying home-based job offers for a company that doesn't pay as much counts). But the tough decisions we made, the heartbreaks and hurdles we had to go through, and the seemingly easy but toilsome process of loving ourselves first and rebuilding ourselves to become better led us to LOVE and ACCEPT each other.

Jan and I could both agree that we would not be the person we are today emotionally, mentally, and even financially had we chosen to stay with our pasts. We do not, however, regret being with the wrong people (even if it took me ridiculously long to realize that). If anything, they taught us to be selective of who we allow in our lives. We choose to be with someone who can treat us well because that is what we believe we are worthy of. 

So yeah. I have said this before and I will, even in a hundred summers, say it again: I AM MARRIED TO AN AWESOME MAN. 

There are 7.8 billion people in the world and I got one of the best ones. Lucky? Nope. He is exactly what I deserve. And to answer the question I have asked myself a million times, what I did right in life to deserve him? Well, I have loved myself first and everything else just fell into place.


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© Life is so full of tae!
Maira Gall