In our recent discussion of how our cultural expectations of a ‘perfect princess wedding day’ might be tied up with the cultural garbage that’s spewed about unhappy marriages, the always smart Lauren left this comment:
A friend and I have talked at length about another possibility for the “perfect day” syndrome, which is this: women (people, but let’s talk about brides for a minute) are inherently creative, but many women who work full time/go to school don’t have a natural creative outlet. They aren’t knitting or painting when they get home from work- they’re watching TV and reading People magazine. And on TV and in People, they’re seeing a bunch of famous, rich women who throw really expensive parties and wear a different gown/hairstyle to every red carpet event. So who cares if they screw up their hair one night- next week, they might be on the best dressed list. Fast forward to the wedding planning. Suddenly, these women HAVE a creative outlet, be it invitations, decor planning, color choices, AND they have a reason to throw a (very often) very expensive party and wear a gown and pick a hairstyle. However, they don’t have the money do to this every week, so they can only do it once. So of course it has to be perfect– they’ll never have the gown and the hair and this creative outlet again.
I think there is something really, really true here. Really true. How many of us were able to use our weddings as a fantastic (if high stress) outlet for our creative passions? It’s fun: the dress, the invitations, picking the photographers, doing the flowers. But. There can a huge downside. There is this feeling that we don’t want to let go of the wedding, because when we do we are stepping into the next phase of our lives: the wife phase, the mother phase, and we fear that may not as creative and fun. And because of that, so often we latch on to weddings, we can’t quite get over them, we can’t quite move on. It feels a little like… a trap. It feels like the hand we’re dealt is a hand that makes wedding planning seem like great creative fun, and married life seem like no fun at all. So lets not play that hand, shall we? Let’s cheat.
Last New Years Eve at the stroke of midnight a girl announced, “I’m so sad. I got married this year, and now it’s over.” And I felt sad for her, but whispered to David, “WE’RE getting married THIS year, yay!” So I was curious about how I would feel this New Years. Well, on one of the last days of the year, I spent the morning blasting our wedding playlist and cleaning out wedding scraps that were heaped on my desk. And I realized it was done. It was a wonderful (and stressful) and magical year, and I didn’t need to ever do it again. It turns out I was so excited to dive into the year ahead, that I was ready to let our wedding year go. I had our ambition squared projects. I had writing to do, I had a website to re-design, we had trips to take, we had an apartment to improve on, we had new career plans to forge, and a Law School graduation to look forward to. That, and our friends* threw a really, really amazing New Years party with giggling kids, bouncy Balkan music, and enormous hats to wear, so at the stroke of midnight I was happy to be exactly where I was. I was ready for THIS year, I was excited for what was right here right now, and for what was next.
So my question to you is this: how can we make married life, or really GROWN-UP life as tantalizing as wedding planning? How do we take that creative spark we enjoyed while wedding planning, and make ourselves just as alive tackling this next step? How do we take back the cultural noise and own this moment in our lives, this magical newlywed-ness? That’s my challenge for all of us this new year, newlywed or about-to-be-wed or simply grown-up. How can we grab the reigns of that creativity? How can we make this moment what we need it to be? How can we cheat with that hand we’re being dealt? What is next?
PS My last New Years thoughts are here… and I only looked at it AFTER I wrote this post. Interesting comparison…
*Full disclosure: also advertisers on the blog. And friends. And awesome.