Happy Wednesday, LITMO Lifers. And boy have I missed you!
It’s no secret that The LITMO Life has been on hiatus for a couple of weeks. On my Facebook fan page, I teased a big announcement coming that would change the face of The LITMO Life completely. For those that are friends with me on my personal Facebook page or follow my social media at all, by now, you’ll know what the big announcement is: I got married!
Yup – that’s right. Traveling, unstable, capricious, monogamy-hating me got MARRIED.
Before I go on to tell you what this all means for The LITMO Life, let me share with you the story of how this all happened. (Because I’ve been asked about it a lot and also because, well, you are my people and I want to share!)
About eight and a half weeks ago, I was in the States for 48 hours between my trips from Cuba and to Guatemala. I had flown in late Sunday night from Cuba and was leaving for Guatemala Tuesday. I didn’t have much to do, other than some work, so on Monday morning, I found myself aimlessly swiping through Bumble on my iPhone. (For those of you that have never had the fun – yes, it’s REALLY fun! – of using dating apps, Bumble is what I consider the more upscale version of Tinder – the matching process is the same, but only women can make the first move). So I was swiping on Bumble (mostly swiping left) when I came across the picture of a really cute guy – that I happened to know! I found myself staring at the Bumble screen of one J.R. Nowakowksi – one of the absolute hottest boys in my high school graduating class. Yes, I’m 30, and yes, high school ended 12 years ago, but you know what? The desire to make out with the cute boy never changes, so of course, I swiped right! I could lie and say I didn’t know what I was hoping for, but the truth is, I was hoping I would get the opportunity to fuck one of the hottest guys I had ever met. So what if I didn’t get to do it in high school (I actually didn’t have sex at all in high school) – better late than never!
I wondered whether to send him a funny Facebook message, as well – see, of course we had been friends on Facebook since the beginning of college (when Facebook was invented) and we were friends on Insta, too – so I was considering writing him a cute little note mentioning I had just swiped right on him and trying to get a feel for his jam. Maybe he just wanted to hook up with a bunch of girls and an old acquaintance from high school would be killing his vibe – I had no idea, but I didn’t want to put him on the spot, so I was crafting a funny message to him in my head just before I swiped right. But then – BOOM, we matched! J.R. Nowakowski thought I was hot too!? Fuck. Yes. Some fun shit was about to happen. So I shot him a message (with a GIF of Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard waving) and he wrote back almost immediately. We quickly moved our conversation to text, because we knew each other, and because I was ready to hop off Bumble anyway.
We spent the entire day texting. He updated me on his life – the part that I couldn’t see on Facebook (a recent graduation from Chiropractic school, the end of an engagement); I updated him on my life – both parts that he could see on Facebook and parts that he couldn’t (my recent job/lifestyle changes, what I was doing back home); and we chatted all damn day. The conversation was never awkward, it flowed really well, and I just got more and more excited to hang out with him. See, though we knew each other in high school, we were, in fact, acquaintances, at best. I only knew him because he played baseball with and lived near my high school boyfriend, Chris, so it’s not like we spent intimate nights hanging out and getting to know each other. In fact, we barely knew each other! All I knew about him was that given the chance, I definitely would have made out with him in high school, and I knew he played sports, but that was about it. So we spent all day glued to our phones, texting, and finally around 5 PM I got the nerve to ask him if he wanted to get coffee that evening. Because I didn’t want to seem like I was a loser with nothing to do (because I was a loser with nothing to do), I mentioned to him that I was leaving for Guatemala early the next day and would only have a bit to hang out and shoot the shit. At that point, though I was, of course, hoping to get to fuck him, I also figured we might just hang out and talk like grownups about things like my divorce, and his broken engagement, and what it was like to pretend to be adults. So even if a good friendship came out of the hang out, and nothing more, that was fine with me, because he seemed like a really cool person and our texts were really fun!
Luckily, he was down to hang out! I would find this out later, but he had been mostly hanging out at home, studying for his upcoming boards and being bored, so he was excited to get out of the house as well. We made a plan to meet at Barnes & Noble for a quick coffee and chat.
Here’s the weird thing: I was NERVOUS!! Now, readers of this blog will know that I rarely get nervous when it comes to interactions with people, in general, because I believe everyone should be kind to each other and open with each other and spread as much love as possible. And this was someone I already knew! He wasn’t a stranger, we had a lot of mutual friends, and I remembered him being a nice guy. Maybe the nervousness was just from the high school me thinking I was about to go on a “date” or something, with the cutest boy in school. It’s strange how those awkward high school vibes never go away!
But I pushed through, took a shower, got dressed and drove over. I texted him when I got there to let him know I had arrived – he was already there – and we met up and decided on some hot chocolate and chatter.
It was one of the best conversations I’ve had in my life.
Not because of what we talked about – divorce, broken engagements, grad school, old friends, Board exams, Bar exams – but because of how it flowed. He seemed genuinely interested in and engaged with everything I was saying, and I was genuinely engaged with everything he was saying. We had a really great time, and I was sad to think that I would be gone for a few weeks and wouldn’t get the chance to hang out with him again. At that point, though, I was still only hoping for a friendship…with maybe a bit of hot friend fucking thrown in. He had already asked me if I wanted to go with him to a music festival in May, so we definitely were going to see each other again, I just wasn’t sure what the vibe of the friendship would be.
The night ended and I wondered whether to try to kiss him. I ultimately chose not to, because I wasn’t sure how he was feeling and didn’t want to push it, especially given our open conversation. We parted ways with loose talk of seeing each other again when I got back from my trip.
Then I went to Guatemala for a week and we texted every day. Well, if I’m being honest, I texted HIM every day because I wanted to share my experience with him – which was WEIRD! But also, kind of great. He was excited to get the pictures I was sending him and to hear about the trip. And we made plans to get dinner together as soon as I got back. I still wasn’t sure if it was a date – but it felt more “date-y” than the first time we hung out, so I was stoked!
It turns out, it was a date. The first of many. We kissed (I am using the term “kissed” loosely here, to mean made out like fucking teenagers) and spent a long, late night together having dinner, then walking around downtown, then just hanging out. I couldn’t WAIT to see him again and I couldn’t wait to actually get to fuck him.
If you’ll notice, by this time, though I knew we had an amazing connection already and I knew I already wanted to spend every waking moment with him, I also knew where I was in life and that I had long since sworn off relationships. I wanted a best friendship with him, and sex if I could, but I was closed off to much else.
Regular readers of The LITMO Life will know what happened next: we spent a good amount of time together, ended up going away a week and a half later for a four-day weekend with a rave thrown in (my first) as well as the best sex of our fucking LIVES, and ultimately expressed our really deep feelings for each other. Then we came back – and I freaked out.
I realized I had fallen hard – HARD – for him, so I did everything I could to pull back. I told him I didn’t want to continue our romantic relationship and I just wanted to be friends.
Well, regular readers of The LITMO Life will also know how that turned out. He reacted beautifully, perfectly, and told me it almost didn’t matter what I was saying – he knew we had something really special and he’d be there waiting for me no matter what.
I couldn’t help it. No one had ever reacted to me in that way before and made me feel as worthy. Normally, my capriciousness freaked people out. And they bounced. But here was a man so already-convinced of our incredible, life-changing, once-in-the-universe love that he knew I’d find my way back to him. He didn’t care how much I freaked out or how much I went back and forth on things or how terrible I was at making decisions.
So I did find my way back to him – much sooner than either of us expected.
From there, we were off. Days and nights spent together, having adventure after adventure. Dinners with friends, afternoons at the beach, late nights on the phone. Another weekend away, another rave. A few weeks of hard, focused studying for his Boards. Some adjustments on both our parts as we got used to each other – mostly him, trying to adjust to my commitment-phobia, and me, trying to get rid of it to be with him. Lots and lots and lots of love.
Then, jokes: “Let’s run away together and get married.” I wouldn’t yet be his girlfriend (the label freaked me out, still) but I knew I had the best man in the world.
Then, somehow, the jokes got serious. I, for my part, was always serious. I had never felt this way before, and if he had wanted to run off into the sunset with me, I would have been into it. The thing I didn’t know was that he DID want to run off into the sunset with me. So our jokes of “Let’s run away together and get married” became serious. I sent him a GIF one day – of Ryan Reynolds saying “Marry Me.” He wrote back with a GIF of Eddie Griffin – saying “Yes.”
Then, I asked my baby sister what she thought, sitting with him at a movie the three of us went to together. She, it turned out, also adored him and thought we were made for each other.
When? Well, April Fool’s Day, of course, because it was who we were and it was so soon that we both were ready.
At first, we wanted to keep it a secret. We planned to tell our parents and no one else. But then, we couldn’t help but share. Our parents were incredibly supportive – more so than we’d thought – and we guessed it was because everyone could see the positive change in each of us since we had found each other. People told me they had never seen me so happy or sure, and people told him I made him light up.
We’d both been in long-term relationships before – hell, he’d been engaged and I’d been married before – but we knew that this was something else entirely. I never believed in The One before – neither did he – but when we were together, there was no doubt that some fate or faerie or God or universal force or something created the two of us just for each other.
Go ahead and puke if you must, but it’s true – that old cliche – when you know, you know. He’s not like anyone I’ve ever met. He’s incredibly smart, he’s handsome, he’s generous, he’s open, he’s willing to learn, he’s hardworking, he’s capable of anything. I daydream about him when I’ve been without him for ten minutes. I hate being without him. He lets me be me – and while I know I can do anything I put my mind to, alone, I WANT to do anything I put my mind to WITH him. I want to share every single experience, every single adventure, with him. He’s accepting of everything “Anjali” and he’s wonderful.
But the most important detail about him? He’s the kindest man I’ve ever met in my life. Not just to me, but to everyone he interacts with.
To me, he’s perfect, in every single way.
So, about five weeks after we started dating, we decided to get married. And three weeks later – exactly 8 weeks from the date of our first date – we said our “I Dos” and began a life of happily ever after.
Maybe you’re scoffing, by this point in the blog, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. I have zero doubts about this decision, and I know that I’m going to spend my life trying to make him as happy as he makes me just by existing – every single minute of every single day.
So, what does all this mean? Well, for one, it means I am wildly, disgustingly, unbelievably happy. It means I found a love that I did not know exists. It means that my life will change, as it always does, it’s just that this time it will change with another human. It means I just made the best decision of my life.
It also means, however, that I’m still me. Nothing about who “Anjali” is has changed – other than now, Anjali has a partner! I still love travel – I still plan to travel, sometimes with him and sometimes without him. I’m still a writer. And a lawyer. And a sister and a daughter and a friend. I’m still a puppy mommy – though now I’m a kitty mommy as well. I still don’t believe in monogamy. I’m still vegan. I still believe in changing the world.
I haven’t taken away any parts of who I am. I’ve just added one big one: wife. And, in my opinion, luckiest woman alive.
What, though, does this mean for The LITMO Life? Well, The LITMO Life will no longer be about a single girl and her dog traveling the world. Because The LITMO Life is my life, and my life is no longer about that. The LITMO Life, then, is about to be rebirthed, just like I have been. The LITMO Life will still be about travel. But now, it will also be about love, and marriage, and how to navigate the world with another human. The LITMO Life will still be about making the world a better place, finding your fit, and growing your passion.
More than anything, though, the LITMO Life will still be about the one thing it has been about from day one: learning to live in the moment only.
Though I’m not sure exactly how the rebrand will look yet (as in, not sure of every detail), expect an overhaul of the content on The LITMO Life in the coming weeks. Expect lots of new blogs about my life with him, and what it’s like to navigate through the first year of marriage. Expect new YouTube videos of the two of us, documenting our adventures. Expect to hear more from me on the non-traditional topics I love to love: non-monogamy, veganism, pushing boundaries.
And I hope, more than anything, that you’ll continue to adventure with me. Because what is true love, if not a giant adventure?
And beyond that – what is LIFE, if not the biggest, greatest, most fun adventure of them all?
So, my name has changed. The blog will change. And my idea of what’s possible in love has changed.
But at the end of the day, I still believe we should all be working to make the world a better place. I believe we should all be as kind to each other as possible. I believe we should all go out of our way to help other humans. I believe we should all get out of our boxes and travel. I believe we should all push ourselves to be better day after day.
And I believe we should all keep living in the moment only.
Welcome to the new LITMO life. I hope you’ll hang on for the ride.
Still yours forever –
Anjali Sareen Nowakowski, Esq.