January 25, 2013

Happy Project-versary!

For the past week or so I've been celebrating lots of happy goodness.

Four years ago, I was sitting on a New York City bus looking out the cold, foggy windows onto a snowy Central Park. My plans for an evening horse-drawn carriage ride through the park were thwarted by the snowfall. When it snows there, the city has a calming quiet, as if everyone willingly takes a break to admire the crisp beauty that's fallen upon the streets.

Everything felt new and refreshed to me. I had chosen to embark on a self-imposed journey. In many ways it seemed silly to me. Spend an entire month dating? After all, I dreaded dating. Why was I opting to go out on first dates for an entire month?
But something inside me kept telling me that there was a greater purpose underneath. Just as it is when the snow melts, the blossoms of Spring rise underneath. And so it was with my 31 Dates in 31 Days.

As I look back on the pictures I took during that month, I can't help but feel a growing gratitude for that treasured time in my life and the men who were part of it. When I began my project I had no intentions of finding a boyfriend, much less someone I'd even want to go out on a second date with. But I kept my mind - and heart - open to possibility.

A year later, I married my husband.

Every year at this time I get to look back on all the good that one little risk brought. I thought dating would give me the opportunity to meet some new people. What I hadn't intended was that I would end up seeing men - and the world - with different eyes at the end of the project than I had when I'd begun.

This year's celebrations included a trip to Palm Springs. The sun was shining, snow covered the top of the mountains, and the people were welcoming. And while we splurged for a great room and a fantastic dinner with fancy desserts, what delighted me most was something simple: Lemonade. Our hotel served the most perfectly yummy lemonade that sat in a little jug at the front of the lobby. It was fresh, with just the right amount of sugar, just a hint of tartness, and an itsy bit of lime.

Now, as I celebrate the goodness of thirty men who changed my life and the one man who stole my heart, I'm remembering the simple goodness in life - and the surprises. Because in my life, somehow, even dating - what I considered to be the most sour of lemons - really did turn into the yummiest lemonade.

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