So, what's all the fuss about then?
See, yesterday marked exactly 20 years since my lovely wife and myself got together! The most important date in our relationship, overshadowing the day we moved in together (2 April 1995), and even the day we got married (4 April 1998). In fact, unlike most couples we know, we've also been marking this day on a monthly basis ever since, even if only to acknowledge its passing. Counting back (or multiplying, to be exact, and on a calculator, just to make sure) it amounts to a massive 240 months! Go figure.
I even still remember what we did that night (of course I do!). We went to the cinema, and saw (most of) "When Harry met Sally". No, the subject matter did not have an effect, and no, neither chose this particular flick on purpose (I know I didn't, Jelena never claimed she did). It was simply coincidental. Not to mention that neither had e-mail then (something I rectified the very next year). What I think both had in mind that evening was that that was the night we got together. Later, much later, Jelena started adding "or not at all" to the previous sentence as a premeditated intention of hers. It certainly wasn't mine. Not that I would have tried again if that first open advance didn't work. But then, who knows...
Anyway, that was then, two decades ago, in the ancient year of 1990. In the meantime, we had quite a full and eventful life, not all of it planned, and a lot of it not really under our control. Let me try to list, in rough order of appearance, the major things we battled through together:
First and foremost, and intermingled with a few items below, was the long and sometimes arduous journey to our BScs in Electrical and Electronics engineering (these were recently upgraded to MScs, acknowledging the length and breadth of the courses we took). During this we also witnessed, and sometimes took part in various, and almost always hideous political events that shook former Yugoslavia. Some are: Milošević power grab, various civil wars around us, NATO bombing, various elections and street protests. Each and every one of those, as well as many others, each probably deserve a post, if not a book, of their own. Then, just as we graduated and started working, Milošević finally fell, and a breath of fresh air could be felt. That seemed to be a good time to up the stick, and in 2001 we ended up in United Kingdom, me with a job, and Jelena with a fear of not being able to find one. Of course, the fear proved baseless, and soon both our careers took off quite nicely, mine mostly within the same company, Jelena's more varied, and more stressful at times. Through all this we moved houses, bought houses, and will likely soon also sell one. Also something I think is very important and a great achievement: Jelena achieved a status of a Chartered Engineer. Jelena seems to not think too much of the title, but she's wrong. Oh, and another thing we value differently: we are now both British citizens (as well), something I am proud of, but Jelena mostly sees as a convenience (even if I'm sure that deep inside she must be at least a little bit proud, too - after all, she did shed quite a few tears at the ceremony). If this lot doesn't sound like much for the 20 years behind us then you've lived a sheltered life (or I failed to include some other important events - e.g. we went to Iceland for our 10th wedding anniversary... but I jest you).
What of the next 20 years, and the 20 after those? I don't know. You tell me. I intend to take them one day at a time, just as I did the previous 20.
And what of the secret of sticking with each other for two decades? Well, I think I already told you: take things a day at a time. But I feel generous, so here's a few more tips: never sleep on an argument, do not fall into a trap of spending every available second together, be supportive even if you don't agree with other's plans (as long as you don't think they're positively dangerous), have at least some interests that are yours alone, treat other's friends and family as if they're your own. I think that's enough. If I gave you more I'd have to charge you for it.
My last words here: happy anniversary to us!