Whammied by Love

A couple of my friends were married yesterday. Of course she was beautiful, of course he was handsome, and of course the ceremony was meaningful. I can’t tell you about the decorations, though they were pretty. I don’t know what anyone other than the bridal party wore. I don’t know any of the minutiae of the day because I was a happy observer. I can only try to share the emotion of what being around these two friends and their families was like.

Sometimes people are friends just because they’re friends. That is how I am friends with the bride and groom, their best man and maid of honor. Their love for each other is a palpable entity that makes me smile. That they include me in the warmth of their friendship is a gift. At the wedding, their vows were simple, the ceremony short but beautiful. The message I got from the wedding was: “This is us. We are together. We are in this moment.”

At the reception, my husband and I sat at our designated table, made friends with two aunts, relaxed together for the first time in way too long. We have our own communication style, and if his tapping on my leg was any indication, he was comfortable in a sea of strangers. The great thing is that we didn’t stay strangers for long.

The bride and groom made their rounds to say hello to everyone; so did the wedding party, and so did the parents. The groom looks like his father and has his mother’s poise. The bride’s father is charming and radiates generosity, a thoughtful man. The guests didn’t care if they knew us or not, we were together sharing a meal, toasting the bride and groom, and that was enough.

Maybe it’s been too long since I’ve been at a wedding, but this one seemed different somehow. More hopeful. More like an exhale before the next breath in. These two, forgive the platitude, are meant to be. It’s not often that one gets to witness a celebration of something that we all know is as natural as air, and as essential. These two are soulmates. They will fight, they will struggle; life isn’t being any kinder to them simply because they are each other’s counterpart. They will, however, laugh much more often, rejoice in each day and each other. I know this with a certainty based on nothing more than their promise to each other.

Then I got whammied. I commented to one of the aunts how lovely the evening was and she said, “With all that’s going on in this world, it’s nice to celebrate what’s good about life.” Indeed. Aunts are good at stating the essential truth of a situation; I agreed with her and rested my head on my husband’s arm, sharing in a celebration of what’s good.

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Task Avoiding Like a Champ

 

You can take your people who squeeze that extra hour out of their day when the rest of us just have the standard 24: I’ll raise you my ability to task avoid. I like the feeling of accomplishing projects great or small, long-term or short – but only if, to quote my friend’s preschooler, I wanna. If I wanna do that thing, no matter how complex or challenging, how long it takes, I will get it done, on time, with stickers and glitter and probably even a soundtrack.

The problem arises when I don’t wanna. When I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna with a vengeance. Don’t wanna go to the store? The gravitational pull on my behind keeps me fettered to the couch. Don’t wanna do my homework? I will “research” my topic, which for some mysterious reason, changes from that topic I was actually researching to playing Trivia Crack. It’s educational, I learn stuff, I tell myself. Or, I decide that I’m hungry and will perish from this planet if I don’t go get a handful of chocolate chips. Don’t judge my snacking choices here, I’m busy. Busy doing what? Task avoiding, of course.

I have the don’t wannas pretty regularly when it comes to my homework. I may relish being a lifelong learner, but along the way of all that learning in my life, I have learned how to task avoid magnificently. I had an assignment due this past Wednesday that I couldn’t summon even a morsel of guilt over not completing – until today, when I realized that working on this project was going to potentially cut into my free time tomorrow.

I have enough self-control not to procrastinate until tomorrow night and then get the I-wanna-sleep-until-this-goes-away dilemma that was all-too common in college, so I groaned (you probably heard it) and sat down. I shuffled, reshuffled and stacked my papers to get reacquainted with my work, then wanted to clean the house all of a sudden – and realized I’d rather get my homework done than clean. I sat down and finished that pesky assignment post-haste. No sparklies, no soundtrack, but complete. There are times when striving for a certain level of mediocrity in work completion is not only recommended, but downright magnificent.

Completing my homework probably took me about three hours longer than it should have, but that’s a symbol of my task avoidant excellence. Now, it’s time for a well-deserved break before I revisit the housework concept. The only problem: I don’t wanna do it.

Doing It Anyway

Much of life consists of defiance: rather than take that nap, a toddler plays – and falls asleep, usually on top of the Legos, leaving that telltale sign of product placement, forgive the pun. The child who feels the oppression of rules, skips out of the house at midnight – and either gets away with it temporarily, or falls face-first onto the ground. The adults who open their own business do so in the face of statistics that indicate it’s probably not a good idea right now to invest money in a small business. They do it anyway. Rather than a discussion about choices and negative consequences, this is an acknowledgement that much of what is good about our lives as adults is what we do in spite of the odds.

My perspective is admittedly skewed, because as a basically law-abiding human person, I don’t really consider drugs or Ashley Madison accounts or theft as reasonable ways to spend my time — not because of some high and mighty belief set, but because I don’t like the idea of hurting myself or others. Kind of a simple life philosophy, but it works for me.

What I’m thinking about are the chances we take even when we don’t have the world’s greatest evidence that the chances will work out well. I married a guy, even though the odds were 50/50 at best that we’d get divorced. I married him anyway and smushily and embarrassingly love him all the more now that we’ve got some bumps and bruises from living life together. I switched careers at a time when the education profession had a surplus of teachers. I did it anyway, and have been happily engaging in that learning and teaching cycle for 13ish years.

I wanted to write more often and realized this morning as I was huffing it out at the gympeople place that my contributions to the internet have dwindled from twice a week, to once a week, to once a month kinda. Part of the reason had to do with my basic couch potato tendencies; mostly it had to do with self-doubt. Self-doubt is nothing more than stopping myself from doing something I love. I notice that I miss my time spent with imaginary friends around a philosophical roundtable, and that I’ve been denying myself a place at that table simply because my id and ego have been battling it out lately. Since I’m the boss of my prefrontal cortex, I’m writing anyway.