A lot of interesting things happened in 1995.
- Forrest Gump won Academy Award for best picture. Run Forrest, run!
- The New Jersey Devils swept the heavily favoured Detroit Red Wings to win their first Stanley Cup. I don’t think anyone watched as this was quite likely the dullest period in hockey history.
- 168 people were killed and 680 wounded in the Oklahoma City bombing.
- Quebec separatists narrowly lost a referendum for a mandate to negotiate independence from Canada.
- The Dalai Lama proclaimed 6-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. Apparently the poor kid was later kidnapped by the Chinese and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
- Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated at a peace rally in Tel Aviv.
- There was a really bad flood in southern Alberta. Apparently it caused $100 million in damage. I remember seeing tractors in the field with water over the wheel wells.
- Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest.
- eBay was founded. Shopping with computers. Hooray.
- Srebrenica and Rwanda happened. And the world still convulses with hatred and violence.
- Microsoft released Windows 95. From what I understand, things pretty much went downhill from there.
- O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of double murder for the deaths of former wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Justice prevails again.
- The Republic of Texas group claimed to have formed a provisional government in Texas. And they didn’t even need a wall!
- Groups like TLC and Boyz II Men were topping the Billboard charts. Apparently. I wouldn’t know as I was listening to Pearl Jam and Metallica.
- The first-ever full length computer animated feature film, Toy Story, was released by Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures. To infinity and beyond!
Many of these things I don’t remember very well. And it’s not just because I was a mostly inattentive and culturally clueless twenty year old, true as that undoubtedly was. My mind was on other things in 1995.
There was this girl, you see.
I had been dating her since we were sixteen years old. I was pretty convinced that she was the best thing that had ever happened to me in my young life, and I was pretty sure that I shouldn’t let her go.
So, 1995 was the year that I rubbed the few pennies I had together to purchase an engagement ring; the year that I hopped in my silver-blue Volkswagen Beetle on a warm June day and drove up to Calgary to meet her (she was touring with a music/drama group); the year that I picked her up from a performance and said, “Hey, let’s go for a drive”; the year I lamely pulled into some aquatic centre parking lot (I had gotten lost in the big city); the year I held her hand and walked out on to a lawn and awkwardly mumbled something crazy like, “Hey, do you wanna get married?”
1995 was the year that she said something even crazier like, “yes.” And I walked around with a stupid grin on my face for most of the rest of the year.
And 1995 was the year—November 25, to be precise, twenty years ago today—when we stood smirking and giggling in a little church on the Canadian prairies, placing rings on sweaty, swollen, nervous fingers, breathlessly declaring those two little words: “I” and “do.” Two pretty big words, actually. To say that we didn’t know what we were “I do-ing” to is, of course, the height of understatement. We were kids who didn’t know much about anything, really. I certainly didn’t. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, no idea where we might go or how we might get there, no idea what might fill the days and months and years between 1995 and 2015 or any other number on a calendar.
But for all that I didn’t know about what I would or wouldn’t or could or couldn’t do, I was pretty sure of who I wanted to find out with.
I’m still sure.
And now, 1995 has, incredibly, become 2015. “I do” has turned into “I have” and “I will.” “I love you” has matured and deepened and solidified. It has grown up and developed some teeth. It has shed some of its illusions and picked up a few new hopes along the way. It has changed. We have changed. Of course we have. How could we not? Being alive and awake and in love will do that.
But, in many ways, I don’t feel that much different on November 25, 2015 than I did on November 25, 1995. I still feel incredibly lucky. I still feel like I’m out of my league. I still feel pretty elated that she said something as crazy as “yes” twenty years ago. And sometimes, I still smirk and giggle, still walk around with a stupid grin on my face about it all.
Twenty years. Who would have thought?
I love you, Naomi. To infinity and beyond.
Both images in this post were taken by our dear friend Petra Reger at Wertvoll Fotografie.