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A letter to Holly on her birthday (from AJ)

In a lot of ways, it feels like we’re just now entering the sophomore year of our relationship.

Wait, wait – let me explain. We learned and experienced most of our adult-developing lives in those first 5 years of being together. Half of high school, all of college, and everything that came with it. Those years were experienced through the lens of having a loving, supportive other half. A constant and consistent friend and confidant. I’ve never known anyone better than I know you. It’s a good thing you had that much time to space out learning everything about me. Softened the blows with time. But my point is that you and I have a mutual understanding of one another that could never be matched. Which is why the past year and a half has been such a surprise.

I thought that our relationship dynamic was relatively set in stone. Static. Adapted, relaxed, and understood. We’d been through plenty of interpersonal adversity, and finally getting to move in together in Austin seemed like an incredible milestone. Two years ago, it seemed like a distant impossibility. But there we were, December 2016, validating our triumph over long distance. So we made it! We accomplished our distant goal. We were a real, adult couple. We were comfortable!

But then you started to shine. I mean really shine. You allowed yourself to fall into your interests, and to start building your business. You were constantly solving problems and encouraging personal growth. You had the courage to leave the 9-5 world and start out as an entrepreneur doing what you were made to do – serving people and obliterating their expectations. You were building an incredible, admirable internal strength. It was a humbling experience; to watch this person that I had loved and cared for and known deeply for 5 years, someone I thought the world of suddenly become even better, more personally capable, more empowered? It was surreal. You inspire me every single day to be a better, more caring, more driven, and conscientious person.

And look at you now. You are one of the most incredible, tenacious people I know. You are the only person I know who constantly seeks out ways to make everyone around her happy. Everyone in your life knows that quality in you first-hand and loves you for it. Your commitment to the happiness and fulfillment of those around you might be your greatest quality yet, but at the rate that you’re developing new, great qualities, I can barely keep up.

This year has been an absolute whirlwind of growth and positive change. As a relationship, we are definitely stronger than we ever have been, and I fully credit that change to your personal growth and development. I thought that I knew everything that there was to know about you, but I’m ecstatic to see what comes in this next iteration around the sun.

You are my better, sweeter, calmer, cooler half. I can’t wait to see the next thing that you excel at. Happy birthday.



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