It’s an ingrained cultural tradition. We celebrate the passing of time by recording anniversaries. We celebrate New Year’s every year to say goodbye to the past year and to welcome the next. Last year we actually celebrated the passing of 2019 and unwittingly welcomed, yes welcomed, 2020. Of course at the time we were looking forward to a new decade, an election, and of course the Summer Olympics, an event we had waited four years for. No one could have warned us about what was coming. In hindsight, we all likely wish we had just skipped 2020. In truth, we will actually look back at it as a significant anniversary; the anniversary of us navigating a pandemic and accepting cancellation or delay of pretty much every event we ever kept track of.

We mark time by our events, including those we cancelled in 2020, like the Kentucky Derby, The Indy 500, The World Series and so many more. Now I know we didn’t truly cancel most of those but rather we delayed them or moved them to different dates, and does that change their anniversary? If we eventually held them, then the dates aren’t the important issue. It’s that we still celebrated them that counts, even if it was in the new, on the wrong date, socially distanced, crowd limited, everyone masked pandemic style. We will not soon forget this year and it will certainly become its own anniversary; 2020, the year of COVID-19.

And let’s not forget our birthdays. We mark another trip around the sun and vow to make the next one the best we ever had. I personally am going to subtract a year for 2020 and declare a mulligan. Maybe I should strive to live twice as hard next year in an effort to make up for this one. After all, this upcoming birthday is a milestone on its own. Anniversaries remind us of the past, of emotions we had when we were involved in something monumental, not that I remember my emotions on the day of my birth, that would have belonged to my mom and dad. I think the first one I really remember was my sixth birthday and my Howdy Doody party, but I certainly have memories of most of them that followed. Sixteen and getting my driver’s license, twenty-one and proving I wasn’t that grown up, but that’s another story that is best left never told, or twenty-nine when I suspect I finally became an adult, or thirty three when the birth of my first child completely rocked my world and changed me forever. So many years, so many anniversaries.

But I need to go back to twenty-nine. As much as thirty-three changed me, twenty-nine was the year that began that transformation. It was in that year, 1980, that my world began to change. Though I had met Deb three years earlier, this was the year we made a commitment to each other to travel the rest of our life, our anniversaries if you would, as a couple, a partnership in the game of Life. We bought our first home that fall and then on November 15th, 1980, Deb and I were married. With stars in our eyes and nothing but hope to set sail on, we ventured on this journey of making a life together, of perfecting our careers and beginning traditions. Of new cars, vacation trips and adventures in them, of exploring new opportunities, and of starting our family.

And here we are, forty years later, still together, still in love and still planning on the next best year of our life; COVID-19 be damned. As true as it was the day we said “I do”, we can never pretend to know what the future holds for us. But if the past is any indictor, that future will be so worth entering. And just like the forty years that have come before, we will enter it together, hand in hand, loving and trusting each other with every new day we are gifted.

Don’t let set backs, delays or even failures dampen your ability to celebrate those anniversaries in your life. Embrace the opportunity to relive what made them special, what set them apart as a date worth remembering. Let each anniversary remind you of the fullness of life and traditions and then look forward to the next.

This Sunday, if you would, think of us as we celebrate forty years together, and if you have been a part of our life journey, raise a glass in a toast to us. Know that we will certainly be toasting all of you and the roles you have played in our life together. Cheers

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