Last week, a man was gunned down 3km from my house. I never knew him, but when I heard about it, it scared me.
The thoughts that came flooding to mind were not what he did, how much money he made, or what he had achieved, but rather, who he was leaving behind.
Did he have a wife that was about to get a phone call saying that her husband had been killed? Did he have children that he hugged for the final time that morning?
I don't have answers to these questions, but they made me realise that nothing matters more than the people you live your life with.
Of those people, your partner is the most important. Choosing a partner is the biggest decision you'll make in your entire life.
I'm 24, so let's say that I've got 60 years left to live. That's 21 900 days.
My partner and I will share over 20 000 meals, 50 holidays, thousands of conversations and plenty of car rides. She’s the person I'll retire with, complain about my boss to, and raise children alongside. She’s not only a partner, but a career advisor, life coach, and one of the few people I’ll rely on to tell me to cut my shit.
She won't just be there for the graduation ceremonies, birthday parties and family events, she'll be there for the Chinese takeouts and normal Tuesday evenings sitting on the couch.
Those normal Tuesday evenings are more important than we realise. While our memories are loaded with the big occasions that roll around once a year, our happiness is determined by the normal Tuesday evening that rolls around once a week. Who we choose to spend it with is awfully important.
Choosing a partner is a big deal.
Relationships are also unpredictable and difficult. They take time, cause pain and cost money. They require sacrifice, and more often than not, leave us feeling broken at the end. But we're nothing without them.
Who would wish to experience all the success and wealth in the world yet not love or be loved by anyone?
I’ve found that nearly every person I admire—every person who has struck me as being someone that I would like to be like one day—has a strong focus on relationships. In most cases, they wouldn’t be where they are if not for the strength of their relationship. There's a lesson in that.
I tend to treat the world with order, logic and a sense of seriousness which my face fails to hide. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad.
My better half is inexplicably different. She's feisty, passionate and easily excitable. She makes a boring Tuesday evening come to life, is the common denominator in my fondest memories, and the person who makes me realise that there’s more to the world than the black and white lenses through which I view it.
With unrivalled selflessness, she’s my north star for what it means to be a good person. For that, I'm eternally grateful.
Happy Birthday, KJ.