It’s complicated as hell and startlingly simple.

The thing about being sick is that you get lots of time to sit around. Lots of sitting. Lots of thinking.

Sitting still is something I’m particularly bad at, but over thinking things? I’m a pro there. Combine the two and it’s a perfect storm. So the past week has been an exercise in I don’t know what…self control? Boredom perseverance? Couch sitting? It’s been a little brutal.

I was thinking one night – in a fog of humidified medication – about the way love and relationships change over time. How we get from one point to another without ever really noticing the changes as they occur.

It started with, how am I old enough to own a house with a guest bedroom, which led into, should I really be allowed to do my own taxes, which spiraled into all sorts of thoughts on how life has come to be as it is.

Years ago, when my husband was still my boyfriend, I would have been a little mortified to be around him looking and feeling as sick and disheveled as I’ve been. I might have put on a front that I was just fine rather than letting him take care of me and witness me blowing my nose like a steam engine. My independence and self image were such important factors then, in such different ways than they are today. Growing into yourself is much like growing into a treasured piece of clothing that’s always been too big. By the time it fits properly, you know every detail of the fabric and stitching by heart and wearing it feels completely natural…but you never felt yourself changing.

The days of checklists, testing boundaries and keeping score seem so present some days and others, so far away. It’s impossible to measure love in flowers or anniversaries or who took out the trash. Everyday is different. Love is equal parts formed through good times and bad ones, and the realization that another person has chosen to give up his own life to start one with you. And you’ve relinquished a part of yourself to join him. A beginning and an end, woven together in a way that’s untraceable. It’s complicated as hell and startlingly simple.

The older I get the more I start to realize that I’ll never have it figured out. It gets a lot harder in the grown-up world, but with the challenges comes the potential for something I know is really great. Something that can envelop your thoughts on sleepless nights and be enough to make you happy when nothing else can.

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