If you would have asked a younger me what I wanted to be when I grew up, you would have gotten a very different answer than what you see in me today. As a kid, I was an athlete, a tomboy, a bruiser. I was the last man standing on the soccer field, the first one around the track. Always determine to prove I was just as strong – or stronger than the next kid.
While I never had professional aspirations, I was fortunate enough to land an internship in college that set me up for what’s turned into a 14+ year career in the software world. I quickly discovered how rewarding it was to work hard, get recognized, move up, repeat. I was a workaholic within no time! The fact that I could write my own ticket was addictive. I realized very quickly how much I LOVED being a strong business woman, and I was willing to work as hard as I needed to in order to achieve the goals I began setting for myself. I started to become so proud of the fact that I was building a life for myself – it wasn’t the life I had expected, but I was learning that I was strong enough to go after anything I wanted, and to be confident in myself.
I watched my three brothers meet & marry their middle school, high school, and college sweethearts. I found myself plugging along, building the career I never dreamed I wanted, but had fallen in love with somewhere along the way (I was honestly OK with being the resident Old Maid of the family). I remember at one of their weddings my dear Grandma leaning over & whispering to me “Honey, one day I’ll be at your wedding too”…I quipped back to her “I hope you’re taking your vitamins, it may be a while” (BTW, 3 years ago today, she made good on that promise)!
As a teenager, I was given the great advice to learn how to be a strong Kim, before being anyone’s “other half”. This stuck with me throughout my teens & 20s as I bought my first brand new car, my first house, my nice watch, and continued to pursue professional success. I wasn’t looking for anything or anyone to complete me, I was strong, self-sufficient & fully furnished.
Perhaps that’s why things caught me by such surprise – because I wasn’t looking for it, and I didn’t think I needed it. I didn’t expect the gentleman of a work acquaintance, who always opened doors & offered to carry my bag, to start giving me rides to the airport (and then taking me to dinner after he picked me up). I didn’t see it coming when that friend turned into the first person I wanted to hear from when I signed into Skype each work morning, then the one I couldn’t wait to get a text from on Saturday. Or when my gym buddy & dinner date became my confidant, and my safe place to run when I needed anything. He even managed to catch me off guard when he asked me to be his wife, and we officially started building our dream future together.
3 years ago was just the beginning. Life definitely hasn’t been the fairytale happily ever after. We don’t spend every day dressed up in fancy shoes twirling under chandeliers at The Parker. We’ve made mistakes, learned tough lessons, experienced loss. But we’ve also dug deep, conquered challenges, had each other’s back, and celebrated personal & professional achievements…together.
I might have been strong on my own, but one thing is for sure, we’re definitely stronger…together.
Happy 3 years, Babe!