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Yesterday afternoon my wife and & I took a trip down memory lane, and hiked up our hill (the one that left me sweaty, breathless and wheezing the first time) with our dogs in tow.

My first date with my wife began as a  walk/hike/drive/photo-shoot in the woods along Chuckanut Drive outside Bellingham, Washington. Fresh from extricating myself from a long-term debacle,  I hadn’t had a date in more than 10 years. I had no inkling as to how it would go so I doubled up something that I wanted to do anyway, with the meeting. At least I’d get a few good shots even if the date was a bust. Right?

My instructions to my date went something like; Meet me here they have bagels, oh and bring a camera.

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If you don’t know the place,  its glorious this time of year with branches overhanging the roadway in a wide spectrum of colors that makes you want to pull over at the most convenient wide place in the road to take it all in.  A true feast for the senses with a brisk autumnal wind blowing in from the ocean on the west side of the roadway, and a full range of red/green/orange/yellow/brown leaves arrayed like a kaleidoscope in the hands of a rambunctious child.  My inner shutter bug howled to be free of the car, yet in retrospect I find that I took only a handful of pictures.

She was late.

Really late.

I waited.

It didn’t matter.

Our first date began with bagels at the Bagelry, then a lunch at Avenue Bread, and as dinner time approached we decided to go home to process our thoughts from the day.

Three years ago, on November 1st, I met my wife. Yes I’m navel gazing, but this was a tipping point in my life although I’m not sure I could have said that in so many words at the time. What I would have said then was that I had the single best day of my entire life doing absolutely nothing of consequence except talking and sharing my silly stories and thoughts with another human being who listened without judging, and laughed with enthusiasm.

It all began with me placing an ad on match.com.

Pathetic I know, but maybe not so pathetic because it worked.

In part it worked because I was honest about who and what I am as a human being. Another part is that I took the time to really look at myself, flaws and all, and turn those inadequacies into quirks with attitude while not blowing smoke or hot air. Finally it worked because there was no photo and phone number promising an immediate date with wanton sex and no strings. Casual sex is not that rare a commodity, besides at some point you have to live with your decisions and I like holding my head up.

So here’s my ad.

“It’s so redundant stating the obvious, but if you wait too long… the moments lost.”

“Initially inhibited, progressively charming southerner with occasional grand displays of affection. Genuine and unflinching tendencies towards complete honesty, with nearly no capacity or tolerance for drama. Naturally shy and reserved yet fearlessly pursuing an intentional life.”

What was true three years ago is still true today. Although I’m a little stunned at how fast and furiously I’m pursuing an intentional life, and how that little ad tipped my world upside down and shook all the baggage from my pockets.

This is not a random post as into a diary or half-baked autobiography.

Why am I telling you all this?

Earlier this morning I received an email with a copy of this ad and the original response that I sent to my wife. I suppose you could call it “The impetus that began it all”

I’m telling you this because as I approach middle age,  I know how rare it is to be blissfully happy with your life warts and all.

Every single day I know how truly lucky I am to have been at the right place at the right time wearing the right shoes and wanting bagels.

How would you describe yourself? What will you look back at 3 years from now and think, WOW fucking WOW oh WOW! HOW Did I do that?