I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What did you write about?


Our tenth anniversary, 5 May 2004

"What did you write about?" That's what Smart Guy asked me as I started to get out of bed this morning, after having read the news, checked Google Reader for the latest entries in the blogs I follow, and wondered why I was ready to get up and start my day and it was still so early. The truth is, I was so focused on going skydiving today with my friends that I completely forgot my Sunday post!

Skydiving is such a powerful activity that it knocked me right out of my usual morning routine. I had already decided to skip getting the Seattle Times and head right out the door at 8:30am to get to the Drop Zone by 10:00am. All during the fall and winter I get breakfast to go at the Swan Cafe and a latte for me, come home and read the hard copy paper before I do much of anything else. Although by that time I have spent an hour or two with my laptop and usually have some idea of what I am going to write for my Sunday post. Not today. I was completely taken by surprise when he asked me that question, because it never even occurred to me! Sometimes I begin to write this post the night before, thinking about what's on my mind and conceiving the opening paragraph. The rest usually follows from that opening.

About the picture. Since we were married in freefall on 5 May 1994, we celebrated our tenth anniversary in 2004 by jumping out of the same airplane together and hiring one of the videographers to take a video and pictures for the occasion. This next decadal anniversary, our twentieth, will be celebrated some other way, since our skydiving activity is beginning to wind down, and that's another two years away. I don't expect I will still be jumping then, or if I am, it will still not be possible since Smart Guy has pretty much stopped jumping because of various shoulder injuries. Our last jump together was last season, when he realized that during the skydive he was unable to assume a normal freefall position because of serious pain in his shoulder joints. At least it was a jump we made together and when he landed, we both decided he wouldn't make any more jumps that day. It hasn't improved much since then. A small careless movement can cause him serious pain. Certainly not what you want to happen when you are needing to pull handles to deploy your parachute, or to deal with a malfunction!

Everything has its season, and I am grateful that we are both as healthy and happy together as we are. By the time you turn seventy, it's perfectly okay to take up activities that are not as, well, exuberant as jumping out of an airplane. He has taken up calligraphy and is learning how to write Chinese characters. It's amazing to me to see how it's done, the precise brush strokes with thickness and direction paramount in transferring meaning to the page. He also walks daily. I am a social exerciser, and he is a solitary one, but we do sometimes go on walks together.

Although I am still skydiving, and I work out almost every day, it doesn't separate me from my partner. He is still the most important person in my life, and we share our days and our nights in true harmony. Who would have ever believed it? We met when we were both fifty years old and married a few years later. We are as different as night and day, but we have learned so much from each other. Although skydiving brought us together, and it was a necessary ingredient in our ability to meet, it's not the center of our existence. The richness of our present lives is a result of the blending we have created out of our differences.

We are both changed from living together and learning how a complete extrovert can accommodate a complete introvert. How a morning person can live with a night person. Temporal versus spatial orientation. You name it: we are a miracle. And to be so happy together: that's the true miracle!

27 comments:

Rita said...

What a lovely picture of the two of you!! Wow! Be eighteen years this year. You are the only couple I know that got married free falling, that's for sure. Of any age at all. And you guys are also proof that opposites attract and can learn to coexist perfectly. ;)

Have a wonderful Sunday!! :)

Linda Reeder said...

I love hearing about couples who are entering their golden years as true life partners. I can't imagine not having my partner and best friend. It always makes me sad when couples split up after many years together. A good life partnership is such a great investment in happiness.

charmine. said...

D-Jan, what a lovely post! Love hearing about how you both get on so well in spite of being opposites and how harmoniously life goes on for the both of you.What a way to get married and to celebrate your 10TH anniversary!wow! I wish you both many more years of happiness and good health.
Hugs,
Charmine..

Rubye Jack said...

It sounds like you all have a close to perfect relationship. My last husband was into calligraphy but I just can't see it. It seems to be a bit of a perfectionist thing.
I'm glad you all are finally having good weather. It's crazy out here.

Rubye Jack said...

It sounds like you all have a close to perfect relationship. My last husband was into calligraphy but I just can't see it. It seems to be a bit of a perfectionist thing.
I'm glad you all are finally having good weather. It's crazy out here.

Gigi said...

What a great post and picture. It always makes me happy to hear of great partnerships - particularly when lately all I seem to hear about are unhappy ones.

Friko said...

Opposites attract, they say. It isn't always true, of course.
I think a good relationship doesn't mean that you have to be alike and do everything together. To have a life which is separate from the partner's is necessary too, otherwise you'll have nothing new to say to each other. Giving space to expand and being tolerant of the partner are essential.

If Smart Guy has shoulder pains, could they be arthritis? Beloved has arthritis in both shoulders (to do with his ex-job) and he finds many activities very painful indeed. There are ops for replacement shoulder joints.

I wish you both many more happy years together.

gigihawaii said...

Has Smart Guy seen a joint specialist regarding his shoulder pain? If not, he shouldn't put it off any longer. David wishes he had listened to me. His knees, hips and hands have really deteriorated. Had he seen the doctor 2-3 years ago when this all started, he would be in better shape today. Men! Why don't they listen to their wives?

Red said...

I am very happy for both of you that you have a very satisfying relationship of opposites. The opposite situation usually works well but, like some other opposites when it doesn't work it's more than difficult. Neat how you wove this post around skydiving.

Far Side of Fifty said...

You are a perfect match! Just because you are married doesn't mean you have to like all the same things..or do them together..it is a balance..give and take:)

Star said...

Congratulations for the 5th May. It's not far away now. Best to give up the sky diving before it gives up on you! You know my thoughts already on that topic.
You both look so happy in the photo.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I like your post today...you are light and happy, and we need those times to get us through the others! You two are a terrific couple.

Retired English Teacher said...

First of all, I am amazed that you forgot to write a post. I think that is a good thing because it shows how absorbed you were in just getting out there and doing something you love to do.

Secondly, it is interesting to see how opposites works so well together in a marriage. I think that the separateness that you have is also a strength in creating a good marriage. Space is a good thing to have in any relationship. It is comfortable to have an easy companionship with someone who likes living in their own skin. I think that is why you two are happy together.

Bragger said...

Your posts make me really, really miss skydiving. I haven't jumped since 1994, and I wasn't very good at it. But when I'm near the drop zone (there's one about 15 miles from us), I can't help but look skyward. And wish.

Arkansas Patti said...

This was the first I read about how you got married. How unique.
I like how you do have some separate interests. I think being totally in sync would be suffocating. You seem to have a great balance.
Just read your last post and you really make skydiving sound marvelous.

Sandi said...

I love the romance in this post. It's not screaming at me, but it's undergirding your entire relationship. I sense the complete acceptance of another human being, who they are, personality quirks and all, within the gentle tenderness that surrounds you both.

Thank you for this lovely glimpse into your shared world.

SquirrelQueen said...

Oh yes, opposites do attract. My hubby and I are another example. While there are many things we enjoy together we also have lots of separate interest.

A very romantic post DJan, happy 18th in advance.

Jackie said...

When I read the post, I felt the love between the two of you. It seems that the two of you were destined to meet and fall in love and to be together. As May 5th approaches and you celebrate your 18th wedding anniversary, I want to extend my congratulations and best wishes to you both.

SaucyKod said...

Very lovely post, great photo of you both. Congratulations
I went to open my usually DJan-ity this morning and everything in the post column is gone, says the page does not exist? Just thought you would like to know.
Happy Anniversary Kiddo to you both lol

Trish said...

Wow, married in freefall!! How totally cool is that? You two may be different, but youlook as if you were made to be together.

CrazyCris said...

You guys seem to fit the description of "opposites attract"! My parents do too...

So we're both starting up our "summer diving" activities roughly at the same time! Except you're diving out of a plane and I'm diving out of a boat this coming Saturday... :p

Enjoy it while you can, and when your body says enough, I guess that's it. You can risk pushing it with some sports but not with others... Although scuba diving isn't as dangerous as skydiving, it's still on the dangerous spectrum of sports and I know have to be very careful of many different things when I head down below 100ft of water...

Robert the Skeptic said...

My wife and I met through a dating service; we had each placed ads. As opposed to all the other people, we spoke in our ads about our values rather than our activities. Sharing values is more critical to a relationship than if you both share merely interests.

She and her ex were avid birders; it didn't keep them together. My wife had NO interest in taking up skydiving when I did; but she understood that it had significance to me at that point in my life and so she supported me in my interest. Those qualities are the recognition of values.

As my wife and I age we are accepting that things we have done in our lives must likewise evolve with our aging. There is some grief in letting these things go, but there is also some pride in our having done and accomplished those.

The acceptance of these transitions in your life are a sign of wisdom, DJan.

Teresa Evangeline said...

It's always heartening to hear of a relationship in which the partners have learned to accept each other and appreciate their differences. Wishing you Many more happy years together.

Madge Bloom said...

You have a wonderful sounding relationship... and a brave soul to skydive!

Blue Ridge Mountains said...

This is just a perfect
piece, it tells me why I have been so lucky to find your friendship. Pam

Shrinky said...

Oh my goodness, did this plaster a huge, wide smile across my face. It's been over two decades since I last jumped with my sky-diving club (gave it up when I became pregnant with my first-born, and somehow never, ever managed to find my way back there again).

The relationship you and yours share sounds like perfection on a stick, to me. So glad to have tripped across you today!

Donna B. said...

Opposites attract...feel so warm and fuzzy knowing how content and happy you both are. You both deserve it! Can't wait to hear how you celebrate the 20th.