What is Love, REALLY?
My fiance, Nathan, and I have been together for six years this February (2009). We met online when we both lived in southern Florida on a personal's sight when I was nearing the end of my senior year of college. I actually pursued him first, I'll admit it. His profile was so open and honest, and his enclosed jokes and observations on life made me realize that he was someone I could definitely enjoy spending time with (guess I was right on that one!).
I "chuckle to myself" thinking back to our first date sometimes...how shy and strong-presenced Nathan was the very first time we met in person (very different from our online conversations)...how we finally ended up breaking the ice over chinese food and good music and talking, sharing our stories, and laughing into the early hours of the following morning...how the first time he put his arm around me it felt so safe, so comfortable, so natural and normal, that I knew it was right...and that now, six years into our relationship, we both still look at each other, as my friend Natalie recently put it, like "little kids with big throbbing heart shapped eyes cartoony thing going on."
Life hasn't always been easy for us as a couple - as it rarely is for most people - and we've definitely had to 'make lemonade out of lemons' together a few times throughout the course of our relationship. In the earlier stages, after six months of dating, I moved from southern Florida to North Carolina to attend graduate school while Nathan stayed behind to pursue opportunities in school and music. It was REALLY hard to say the least (if I could capitalize those letters any more, I would, believe me :) ). We spent a lot of time talking on the phone, instant messaging over the internet, flying to see one another (when we could), and just doing our overall best to support one another in achieving our goals and dreams. The program was a 'little stressful' and Nathan spent many nights helping me through times when I felt lost or disheartened in my studies. In total, thinking back on those two years, I owe a large part of the completion of the program to the love and encouragement he provided to me and, above all else, his belief in me as a person.
After moving back to Florida, we decided to move to Michigan together so that Nathan could play music in an indie/shoegaze band with his brother (an equally talented and amazing artist and lyricist). We have both found our place here, together of course - I now work for a non-profit and he's a cook by day and musician by night. Being a 'band girl' hasn't always been easy but I've come to love going to shows, meeting new people, and watching him do something that completes him in life - outside of me, as he always says, music is his passion and I fully support him in his pursuit of it.
Money is tight (as it is for a lot of people right now in this economy) but we make the best of it. After all, we have food, shelter, good friends/family, and, most importantly each other, so we can laugh off our struggles and just appreciate things for what they are. We look to the future, our future, and we see great things in it...we see each other many years from now, still loving and supporting one another, laughing together and enjoying life...just the same as we do today.
Last April, Nathan proposed to me at Warren Dunes State Park, a beautiful lakeside park with rolling sand dunes and truly breathtaking views. We climbed up one of the highest dunes in the park and just sat there together looking out over one of Michigan's great lakes and talked for hours about life and what we wanted out of it. Right as we were preparing to walk back down to the 'beach,' Nathan told me to sit on an a fallen tree so that he could take a picture for his family. He fumbled around in his backpack for a few moments, got the camera close to the top of the bag, and then dropped it back down and pulled out a ring box instead. I think we both were a little emotional - just so happy really - and I have never been so excited in my life to accept something from someone as I was this.
So, now we're engaged and looking forward to getting married and spending the rest of our lives together. At this point, I feel that we already have everything most people can only dream of when starting out. Although we have our own interests and can be apart from one another, we greatly enjoy spending time together...he's my best friend (who I happen to think is VERY sexy!), my heart and soul...we adore each other. Great communication, trust, honesty, integrity, support, and above everything, as it should be, love. AND, as an added bonus, our families are comprised of wonderful people, too, and we're both very excited about being a part of the other person's family (well...officially, anyways).
At this point we are in the process of saving money towards our 'big day.' It will take us a few years for a modest (but still beautiful, in my opinion) wedding. But we already know that we want to spend our lives together...so what are a few extra years, really, when it comes down to it? A wedding is a celebration of love. We're excited to have our friends/family there to celebrate our special day with us. Ideally, our ceremony will take place in a modern castle in northern Michigan (it's surprisingly not very expensive) with about 130 of our closest friends/family, BBQ (we were both born in North Carolina), a blend of our cultures in music and traditions, and a few Sigur Ros songs (a breathtaking Icelandic band - Hoppipolla will be my 'wedding march'). I entered Nathan and I in a contest recently to win my dress, his tux, and other apparel and if you'd like to see the entry you can view it at www.brickfish.com/shannans. If you like the entry enough to vote, we won't stop you by any means, but please do not feel that this is meant to be obstrusive. The contest lasts until about February 23, 2009, and voting is once daily per PC. If nothing else, I think you will enjoy the designs we came up with for our wedding party and ourselves.
So, to wrap a long blog up, I have learned what love is (REALLY) as the title of this blog goes. I have found it through Nathan and our trek through life together. There is a poem out there that starts out "love is patient, love is kind..." and so on and so forth. It is all of those things and more. I hope that you have found your great love in life (and if not, and you want to, it will come to you, just be open to it and have faith). I thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Best in life to you and love always,