While Mike, my husband, and I were watching a movie the other night, I came to an unsettling realization. Clerks was made in 1994, the year I graduated high school. Some quick math revealed the movie to be 16 years old, and a little deductive reasoning revealed that if Clerks and my high school graduation happened at the same time, then I have been out of high school for 16 years. Mike was three years ahead of me in school, so that means he had been out of high school for…16+3…gasp!...19 years. This discovery led to yet another…that life is flying by and that…again, gasp!...we are starting to get old!!! I was not previously aware of this. With Mike closing in on a 20-year reunion, that also means he is closing in on…can we bear another ‘gasp!’?...40.
I am just not old enough to have a husband pushing 40. There are a handful of things that scare the bejesus right out of me…having to live in Texas (though I’ve never even visited the state), swimming in the ocean (I blame Mike’s obsession with Discovery’s shark week and Jaws, along with Steve Irwin’s untimely demise), Sarah Palin having a role of prominence or importance – in ANY capacity, and turning 40, just to name a few of the more rational fears. Mike, the poor man, has no fear of 40, which must mean he is already at such an advanced age that his faculties are starting to go. He comes out with nonsensicals like, “Age is just a number,” and “You’re only as old as you feel.” Sometimes, I fear he is crazier than I am. Of course, he is very handsome, in great physical shape, and so youthful-looking that he still occasionally gets carded when he orders a drink. Almost four years younger than him, I can’t even remember the last time I got carded. I frequently wonder if waitresses think I am the cougar and Mike the naïve fawn. And I even have the benefit of make-up, and he doesn’t. That man!
So Mike and I were talking about all the adventures and events of the last decade or two when Mike proclaimed about himself, “I’ve come so far.” I asked him what he meant. Personally, in terms of maturity and intelligence and growth? Or professionally, from days of minimum wage at the local grocery store to doing pretty well as a major in the Army? And he just said, “No, I mean distance.” If nothing else, Mike is a literalist.
So, that got me to thinking about where we’ve lived and places we’ve visited. Mike has had a few extra years of moving around than I, and has gone to a handful of very far places, unaccompanied. I wrote down the places he’s lived, chronologically, and calculated the mileage (as a crow flies) between all those places. I did the same for myself. In a separate list, I calculated miles for the bigger trips we have taken together. The results: Mike has traversed more than 37,700 miles moving from location to location (from Connecticut to New Hampshire to Vermont to Alabama to South Korea to Alabama again, to Missouri, to Germany, to New York, to Iraq, to Kansas). I came in at a paltry 11,800+ miles (Connecticut to Alabama to Missouri to Germany to New York to Kansas). As for trips, I figure we can each easily add another 20,000+ frequent flier miles (which includes most of western Europe, the entire East coast, a good chunk of the West Coast and into Mexico, a couple of trips to various locales in the Caribbean and several trips throughout the United States). These calculations bring Mike’s total to about 60,000 miles and mine to 32,000. As a point of reference, the circumference of Earth at the equator is just shy of 25,000 miles. Which means, if our miles were laid out in a straight line around the center of the earth, Mike would be on lap three of the marathon and I, a slower runner, am working on my second lap of the earth.
Don’t tell him I said this, but Mike is very good at logic and perspective. Me…I’m good at other things, like irrationality and sudoku puzzles. As usual, Mike was right and helped me focus on how we really have come so far. Of course, there’s the mileage, but personally and maturity-wise, I think we’ve covered some amazing distances, as well. We’ve been able to do a lot for our relatively young ages of 30-something, thanks to the career Mike has embarked on. That being said, we’ve also endured a lot, due to Mike’s career, which hopefully has strengthened us and helped us focus on the few things in life that really, truly matter.
Suddenly, with Mike’s help, I don’t think we’re so old any more. And, despite how far we’ve come already, I look forward to the distance, both figurative and literal, still to travel with him.