In the midst of celebrating my twentieth wedding anniversary, I opened the door and found myself staring at… a towel monkey. That’s right, an origami-in-cloth creation dangling bemused from a coat hanger in my cabin onboard the ms Oosterdam, a gift from the cabin steward.
Now there are two things that are significant about this seemingly insignificant moment.
First and foremost is the fact that I’ve been married for twenty years. That is very significant, not to mention very satisfying. It’s not easy to share a life together for that long under the best of circumstances, but it can be especially challenging when one of the partners is in the entertainment business. That fact alone dooms many marriages that begin with optimism and end with bitterness. Hell, many artistic careers (actor, writer, musician) follow that exact same trajectory!
I don’t want to preach here, but I’d like to share my thoughts on how to make a marriage last while pursuing your creative dream: eat dinner together every day. Oh, and talk to each other at dinner every day! There’s no replacement for communicating each and every day. Talk about the serious and the trivial. Share your hopes and fears, just like you did when you were dating. If you don’t grown together, you’ll surely grow apart. Stay connected! And a word of advice if you love someone who is an artist: never make them give up on their dream. It’s part of who they are; it’s part of why you fell in love with them. Instead, let the dream grow and change just as your relationship grows and changes over the course of years of dinnertime conversations.
The second thing that is significant about this towel monkey moment is that it occurred on a ship. You see, my wife has always wanted to take a cruise. I, on the other hand, have always dreaded it; I don’t like the water. So for our fifteen wedding anniversary I booked us a cabin on the Queen Mary, which has been firmly docked in Long Beach, CA since 1967. A luxury cruise liner from the first half of the 20th Century, I reluctantly figured that this was going to be as close as my wife and I got to being on a cruise ship.
But my wife never gave up on the cruise thing, mind you. It still came up from time to time during one of our many dinners together. That’s how I knew it was important! Topics that come up are always worth paying attention to. So when circumstances came together at the right time, I decided to act. Coincidentally, we had both been hearing wonderful things about Alaskan cruises from different people over the course of several weeks. The idea just kept presenting itself over and over again. I believe that if it seems that the universe is talking to you through coincidences, I suggest you act on it. So for our twentieth wedding anniversary, I bravely stepped outside of my comfort zone and did the impossible: I set sail on a ship that actually left port!
The towel monkey was my reward, my trophy. The cabin stewart was just having some fun and showing off his skills, but for me it felt like validation for letting go of my old ways and trying something that I never expected to do. I ended up loving the cruise to Alaska and can’t wait to save up enough money to do it again.
It goes to show that you never know what you will like based upon what you think you won’t like!
I can’t write more profounder than that!
I’m just saying…