I was reading Lauren’s blog yesterday (you’ll remember Lauren from her fabulous wedding in the MIT chapel). And I came across something that made me really sit up and take notice. Really take notice. Because when I talk about having a brave marriage, and not wanting to put off things like travel, and wanting to really voraciously experience life together, without kids, with kids, however, whenever that of course has a little to do with my family of origin. My parents (you’ll remember their wedding from back here) are very happily married, and have had wonderful lives doing work they love. They did, however, always put off things like travel till “one day” or “when the kids are grown.” And now they are less spry than they were, and still haven’t traveled the world together, which makes me sad. So I want to make sure I don’t miss that.
So here is Lauren, ending the week with a really important story:
Last night, I ran into a professor I have crossed paths with over the years at the university I work with. He is a quirky, thoughtful, poem-emailing literature professor, probably in his mid-sixties, who lets long pauses happen in the middle of conversations. I don’t see him very often, but have been given very weighty topics to think about every time I do.
The last time I saw him was over a year ago. I was walking with some coworkers to get lunch, and he was walking the opposite direction, and I waved, and he called out, joking, “Why don’t you get married and change your last name so I can finally pronounce it?” (Like I said, quirky.) To which my response was to hold up my left hand, since I had gotten engaged only a week earlier. His eyes got very wide, and he gave me a congratulatory hug, and then told me that his wife had passed away from a long battle with cancer…. a week earlier. When I asked him why he was already back at work, he said he didn’t know what else to do. And then he looked at me very seriously, and said “My best marriage advice for you is to never, ever put off what you want to do. No matter how good the excuses seem, or how little money you have, or how practical it would be to wait- don’t wait. Travel, move, experience new things together, and do them right away. Don’t ever put these things off. Promise me.”
And then yesterday, Lauren posted this about planning a budget with her new husband:
We also set a savings goal that would make us both feel comfortable with any emergencies that came up (after buying a house and paying for a wedding in one year, our savings is severely crippled.) We figured out how long it would take to reach that goal, and then Jeff said “So, should we not travel until we reach our goal?” My response was “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Buying a fridge- sure, we can wait on that. But traveling, exploring, experiencing new things together- non-negotiable. I don’t care HOW little money is in our bank account.
A wise lady that one. I’m proud to share a wedding day with her.
So with that, I wish you a multitude of gratitudes this (American) Thanksgiving weekend. Because as frustrating as planning a wedding can be, and as complicated as negotiating being a wife can be, having a life partner is such a huge thing to be grateful for. So go, plan, dream scheme together. I’ll see you back here on Monday.