And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time

Today we've been married nine years. It hasn't always been easy, but that just gives us more cause for celebration. Recently I cut off most of my hair, and now all you can see is the dark roots liberally salted with grey.

"Wow," he said, petting my fuzzy head, "when did that happen?"

"I think it started around the time that I inherited my mother's migraines," I joked, "and accelerated with my grandmother's acid reflux."

"It sucks, getting old, doesn't it?" He was rubbing his wrist now instead of my head. He injured it at Jujitsu class a few months ago, and it has been very slow to heal.

"Nope," I smiled up at him, "It just keeps getting better. Besides, 35 isn't old anymore. And neither is 40. If you died now, people would say it was a shame that you died so young."

It wasn't until recently that I really felt like I belonged anyplace, even in our marriage. Now, finally, at 35, I walk the streets and trails near where I live and work, and I feel it in my legs: I know that I was meant to be here.

You are meant to be here too. Life isn't meaningless. I wish someone had told me that when I was 15 or 20. I don't know if I would have believed it, but I wish they had told me anyway.

So if you're 15 or 20, this is a message for you: Hang in there. Things can get a lot better. 30 isn't the end of the world. It's the beginning, and you're almost there.

You might not think so now,
but just you wait and see -
someone will come to help you.