Right now he's across the ocean in Alaska, on his first big work trip with H&M. He's in training for a district position, which would mean he's leaping from a standard sales associate, past store management positions, to the district level! I am so unbelievably proud of him. Although he never had the opportunity to graduate high school or go to college, he has worked hard at every job he's ever held. He is so deserving of this. He's earned it.
The first day of his training in Alaska was Monday, and I asked him how his day went. He told me it wasn't what he was expecting. Confused, I had him explain: "I'm learning how not to work," he said. "I'm learning how to tell other people to get the job done. Even though I can do the [construction] work, I'm not actually allowed to." He laughed, and finished, "It doesn't actually feel like work."
My darling, dumb, brilliant guy. Raised on a farm where he's labored since he was old enough to weed, worked his hands raw in kitchens, in landscaping, in stock. All of his working life has conditioned him to think that if he's not sore and tired and exhausted and worn down by the end of the day, he doesn't feel like he's worked. That's why he deserves this job.
It's weird to think we've already passed the seven-year mark. For a while, I thought we wouldn't make it. Things were rocky for a long time, with neither of us very happy - not necessarily with each other, but just overall. But, I don't know when it happened - sometime after moving here, I think - there was a subtle shift in our relationship and all of those old problems seem so trivial now. We've each grown so much as individuals, and I am so, so happy that that growth kept us together instead of pushing us apart.
We are completely different people than we were seven years ago. Hell, we're completely different people than we were one year ago. Sometimes I think back about those early days, "the punk rock days" when we lived in a house with punk guitarists and tattoo artists and collectively drank enough alcohol to fill a shed with empty bottles - and it seems like a completely different lifetime. Sometimes I think about the middle years, when I was miserable and angry, and he was miserable and exhausted, and wonder how I could have ever taken him for granted so much.
I think maybe one of the things that's led us here, to this seven-year mark, is that we no longer rely on the other to be happy. Our happiness comes from being together, sure, but it's not his job to keep me happy. I'm in charge of my own happiness now, and he's in charge of his.
I miss him a lot, and he's only been gone for four days. He'll be back in a little over three weeks, but that seems so far away. Part of me just wants these three weeks to fly by, but if they do, then that means I'll be three weeks closer to leaving him for a year when I go to Japan. I don't know how I'll survive being away from him so long, but I guess we'll figure it out and make it through. We always do.