And It Was Mind-blowing… by Meg Keene Hello You Guys, I’m back from adventuring, and it was amazing! I left for this trip totally depleted. I’d been burning the midnight oil with APW, a bunch of behind the scenes APW projects, David taking the bar, and you know… work. I had a killer sinus infection, and circles under my eyes. I needed a break in a bad way. These last two weeks were everything a vacation should be: restorative, mind expanding, stressful, and intense. David took this picture of me on our last day in Venice, and I think it sums it up exactly: That’s me. Chiller, tanner, and a little fatter. And happy, happy, happy. So! First order of business is to thank Liz and Alyssa for taking such good care of the site and all of you while I was gone. When I left I told them not to worry – there was no way anyone was going to be mean to them. Commenters were mean to me sometimes, but in the way that you’re mean to your mom, but not your babysitter. No one was going to feel comfortable enough to yell at them. But! I was totally wrong! By the end of last week a few people were jumping all over Liz and Alyssa in the comments people sometimes jump all over me. Soooo… I’m taking that to mean that you lurve them and you want them to stay forever. Right? Right! So a HUGE thank you to two women willing to take on the crazy being that is APW for two whole weeks, and let me wander around and think. I am very grateful. And I’m very grateful for all of the rest of you, who kept right on commenting and being smart and supporting each other, and let me slip away. I’d tune in now and then (APW is my baby, after all… it’s hard to not just glance at it), scroll through the comments, grin, close the computer and go sit in the sun. So, thank you. Second order of business. Italy. I was there. For two whole weeks. I’m still trying to sort out the trip and our anniversary, and what if anything I have to say about it, but here is a start. Earlier this year, when I was in the midst of re-launching APW, Kimi (she of Printable Press) sent me a quote from the book Craft, Inc. about running your own business. It said roughly, “If you are planning on working for yourself you should think on how to incorporate your absolute favorite activities. Like travel, photographing puppies, jotting notes down in notebooks, whatever.” So, I stuck that quote up and have been thinking a lot about it. What I realized these last two weeks is that the same thing is true in our marriages too (and more generally our lives). I’m a born and raised pessimist, which means I tend to think that we don’t have very much control over our lives, and we should always be watchful for The Worst. But this fortnight, I got to thinking. While marriage is something huge and something that you can’t ultimately control, it is something that you can nudge along in the right direction. It takes persistance and a bit of risk… but we really can nudge our marrages, and start creating what we want and need. I’ve always wanted to travel, and have never gotten much of a chance to (by which I mean I did not leave the state of California till I was 14). So, going into marriage, I knew that I wanted to have the kind of marriage that included a lot of, “f*ck it, we’ll travel now,” as opposed to, “f*ck it, we’ll just travel later, maybe, if we can afford it, and our health is good, and the kids are grown, and it all works out.” And honestly, that’s how I wanted us to approach our lives and partnership, not just our travel. I knew that I wanted this out of marriage, I just didn’t have a lot of hope that I could make that happen – I was thinking about the worst, and afraid to plan for better. But this year, even with all of the things we were out of control of – bad job situations, sh*tty economy – we decided that we wanted to go to Italy… somehow. And we made it. And that feels HUGE. For all that some things went horribly or minorly wrong with our vacation (jet engine failure and a threatening flasher included), we had an amazing time. We have new memories together, and new totally ridiculous will make me start laughing till I cry stories. We got time to just hang out together and eat. And eatandeatandeatandeat. We got to hang out with long time APW reader and commenter Kyla (who just got married!) and her husband in Florence (hanging out with Team Practical ladies all over the globe is totally perk #1 of my job). Unsurprisingly, I felt like we’d known them for a million years in less than 24 hours. And finally, swimming in the Mediterranean. This has been on my Life List/ Mondo Beyondo List* for years, but I didn’t know what I was in for. Every single time I do something that I’ve had on my life list it feels like flying. It feels like creating magic out of thin air. But this one, people? This one was a doozy. I grew up in Southern California, and I know good beaches, but I’ve never felt anything like this. The water is the bluest thing you’ve ever seen. There are little pebbles to stand on. Where we were there were swells instead of waves. And the water is warm. I’d just climb into the water and bob around for an hour or more. It was mind blowing. You should do this thing. Really. And with that… I’ve missed you guys. I’ve missed wedding graduates and writing. I mean, I was writing posts and notes on the plane, for goodness sakes. However, I’m jet lagged and need to unpack so things may be spotty for the next 48 hours, but I’m back. Oh. And emails. If you emailed me over the past two weeks, I’m getting there. Slowly. Smooches (and no f*ck this time), Meg *Do you guys know about this whole practice? It will change your life. I’ve never done the class, but I’ve been doing the lists since 2004, and I’ve crossed out something like 80% of my 2004 list, even though I almost never pull it out and look at it. Crazy. Meg Keene Founder & Editor-In-Chief Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.