I am 42 years old.
My first 21 years were pretty tough. (Cue the violins)
When I was five my two month old brother Derek died. When I was seven my parents divorced. We moved from the projects in Boston to the projects in Northampton. We were poor. My mother struggled with substance abuse, mental illness and health issues. Two days after graduating high school my mother had a brain aneurysm that burst causing her to have paralysis on her left side for the rest of her life. A week before I was supposed return to Westfield State for my second semester my mother had a massive stroke which put her in the hospital for four months. I had to drop out of school to care for my four younger siblings. The following year my Aunt Rosie and my Grandma Norton passed away within four months of each other leaving me without my "Holy Trinity" of maternal figures. As I turned 21 I was struggling to make ends meet living off my student loans, living in an apartment with a bunch of my childhood friends who were dealing with their own struggles.
My better half began the day I met my wife (read the story here under the heading April 29, 1986). Up until the time I met her I had no use for women unless they had beer or drugs or wanted to screw. She was the first person I met who demanded nothing from me. She was self-sufficient and emotionally stable (traits I never encountered in a woman before). I never felt any pressure to impress her or to constantly be in contact with her as I felt with other relationships. After a few months I realized that she was someone I could spend the rest of my life with because we could be happy doing nothing; just spending time in each others company. She liked me for the "real" me and vice versa.
We spent the first 15 years together living what I call "reverse retirement". Double income, no kids, traveling, enjoying life and each other. We've "grown up" in the past six years having kids, buying a house and dealing with some difficult adult issues. I still feel the same about her today as the day I met her.
Last night was 21 years that we've been together. April 29, 1986, Roger Clemens struck out 20 and I started my better half.