Not Scared, But Certain

Ken and I celebrated our four-year anniversary this Sunday. It was the first time we had ever celebrated our anniversary together; this year, the date happened to fall during my Spring Break, and thanks to an amazing deal and my dad’s air miles, I was able to fly to the Netherlands to be with him for a week and a half!

Four years together means that we’ve seen each other grow — a lot. Ken and I started dating when I was 18; I’m now 22, and our relationship has almost encompassed my entire college experience and all the changes that entails. In turn, he’s graduated from college, gotten his own apartment, moved to another continent and back again, and dealt with his new diagnosis. We’ve grown up together, and now we’re making plans for the first steps of independent adulthood. That means hunting for apartments, talking about work arrangements, and (in my case) making bulleted timelines about children and PhDs. (The compulsively organizational side has never left me.)

As Ken and I take this step, I am constantly reminded by friends of how scary this is supposed to be. Most of my friends have never been in a serious relationship, so the idea that I’m apartment-hunting with my partner, rather than job-hunting by myself, is strange to them. That we’re planning to buy, not rent, and that we’re talking about plans for marriage and education and family, is even more terrifying. So they ask me how I feel. Am I scared?

Sometimes, it overwhelms me; but the only part that I find scary is the numbers (money and mortgages). Everything else — the commitment and the nitty-gritty of daily life with the person I love — is exhilarating, not overwhelming. I honestly can’t wait.

Not Scared, But CertainThe windmill in Leiden on a blustery day.

The idea of finally being with Ken — sharing not just a country and a city, but an apartment and a life — is, cheesily enough, a dream come true. For four years, I’ve been waiting, not bothering to count the days because the start of our time together was so far off. Now, we have concrete plans, and a date when we can finally be together. It’s becoming real.

Four years ago last Sunday, my cousin’s best friend Ken taught me to longboard and then took me out to dinner. I thought he was cute, but it wasn’t going to be anything serious. But within days, we were spending every waking moment together. Three days after our first date — four years ago today — he held my hands and told me, “I am a very loyal person. And I already feel very loyal to you.”

That was when I knew. It only took three days.

So when my friends ask me if I’m scared, I think of that moment, and every moment since then that affirmed that yes, this is the one I want. This is the person I choose.

I don’t feel fear. I feel joy, and love, and security in my choice.

I’m not scared. I’m certain.

Not Scared, But CertainKen and I on our four-year anniversary.

Sara Laughed

Author: Sara Laughed

I'm Sara, a blogger, programmer, and American abroad. I live in the Netherlands my boyfriend and our 11 plants, and in this space blog about my life, discoveries, and mistakes. Follow along here or on social media!

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  • Don’t mind me over here, I just have something in my eye. I’m not crying or anything.

    Ok but seriously. Wow. I’m so freakin’ happy for you. Especially since his diagnosis I have been so inspired by your dedication to each other and its so cool to learn about your relationship on your blog. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you both together and I know its going to be great! Happy anniversary! I have the bulleted list about kids and a PhD and I don’t even date anyone, so I totally understand where you’re coming from 😉

    • Savannah, this comment is so cute and made me so happy (: One of the upsides of the horrible news of his diagnosis is that, for whatever reason, I now feel more comfortable writing about the two of us – so I’m glad that our ‘story’ (if you can call it that!) is inspiring or helping others. Sending you lots of virtual hugs!

  • This is such a sweet post, Sara! I’m so happy for you <3 As someone else who is in a really committed long term relationship (but doesn't have very many friends in the same situation) I can relate to the idea that a lot of people will be worried / uncertain for you, but it's like "nah guys, I'm fine with this" Anyway congratulations on four years and good luck in finding a place! 🙂

  • Oh my goodness, Sara!! I am so happy for you guys 🙂 I really get the whole feeling a little bit like no one else is going through the same things, Connor and I are still in that same boat. I hope you guys have an amazing anniversary, and many more happy years to come. 🙂 Beautiful post, and you guys have an amazing story.