One year ago tonight I went on a first date.

It was the best first date I can remember. It had nothing to do with the food or even the concert that I’d been looking forward to for months. It was the best first date because of the guy.

To be honest, I didn’t think it would be such a great date. We were both nervous at the beginning, even though we’d communicated so much via email that I felt like I already knew him. But seeing someone in person is so different than bantering back and forth from the relative safety of a screen. So I was nervous, not just that I wouldn’t like him in person, but more so that he wouldn’t like me in person. And that nervousness almost did me in.

Turns out that we did, in fact, like each other in person. Still do. Which makes today bittersweet. Because, as so often happens, bumps in the road surface after a certain amount of time. Bumps that rise and fall, it seems, to match our anxiety, our insecurities and our seemingly unmet expectations. The bumps, in my experience, usually sideline the like and derail whatever potential permeated the air on that first date.

And I’ve always let the bumps win. I’ve always taken the bumps to mean that the like just isn’t enough, and that goodbyes are meant to be permanent. I’ve always taken the bumps to mean that ways are meant to be parted, and hearts are meant to be broken.

I know, intellectually, sometimes that’s exactly what the bumps are supposed to mean. But the ‘sometimes’ qualifier also means that other times the bumps, no matter how big or unexpected or challenging as they are, are just bumps.

If I knew which bumps mattered most, I wouldn’t be writing this. If I knew how things were going to end, I’d have woken up today thinking less about the bumps and more about the like.

But I don’t.

What I do know is that it’s been an amazing year, full of laughter and firsts and fun. I am lucky to know this guy who refers to himself as ‘plain ol’ vanilla’ because he doesn’t really know just how complex and rare true vanilla is. I’m thankful that he’s still in my life, and grateful that he still has a way of surprising me despite the bumps.

Happy ‘almost an anniversary’ BooBerry.