This past Valentine's Day I finally finished our Wedding Album.
This sounds impressive. In reality it was just a matter of choosing some photos, stopping by the local photo shop and ordering some prints.
It really should not have taken as long as it did. However, you may recall I had a severe, almost allergic, reaction to my wedding photos which lasted over a year.
Our anniversary re-do shoot went a long way towards curing the reaction. However, the wedding isn't going away and it was time to deal with the photographic evidence. It wasn't exactly what I wanted and I still have some regrets about the way the day went, but that's the way the cookie crumbles, right? Weddings are what they are and those who choose to have one will always have stories. This next statement may upset a few of my readers, but I am sceptical of people claiming to love every moment of their wedding. I think it is more a case of rose-tinted hindsight in an effort to not seem ungrateful or whatever. But that's just my view through my puce-tinged hindsight. (I kid, I kid.)
About a week before the Day of Hearts, I pulled down the box of wedding proofs and started flipping through the hundreds of photos.
To my surprise, it wasn't a painful experience at all. In fact, I managed to find quite a few that I actually really liked and could stand looking at for more than a few seconds.
But this post isn't about the miraculous-changing-wedding-photos. It's about time and perspective and mental clarity. I think. We'll see where this goes. (Just in case it goes a little off course, I'm scattering some not-too-shabby wedding photos to keep you interested/distracted.)
A few weeks ago I stated that my life was fantastic. Fabulous, even. I probably scared a few people off with such a gloating statement. I wasn't gloating, I was reaffirming. Sometimes I have to remind myself of just how great life can be. It is so easy to get stuck under the little things. I get very stuck.
That's not to say that we haven't worked for this life we are enjoying. Yes there is privilege in that we were born in the 'developed world' and we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to endure higher education. That isn't unique, really. I am not unaware of our privilege, but I do tire of constantly feeling and being apologetic for my situation in an effort to not seem shallow or unaware of the state of the world.
I'm over it. I do my part for the planet and the human race where and when I can, but I am over feeling apologetic for the life and lifestyle I enjoy.
However, it is still a bit of a yoke around my neck.
I am spoiled with a romantic backstory and sometimes I get stuck in thinking that it affords me continued cinematic experiences. I have a tendency to wait until the perfect moment arrives to act. I waste a lot of time waiting for the planets to align and a booming voice from the sky or more likely a peppy voice from an impossibly cute, yet hilarious, anthropomorphic woodland creature to tell me, "This, This is it. This is the perfect moment."
I have used up my quota of cinematic, storybook moments. This past year was a lot of realising that those cinematic moments are directed. They are not spontaneous. Even our romantic backstory was directed, in some form, by my best friend. Fate, serendipity, chance, what have you, played a minor role, but Magen, a fair bit of alcohol and a lot of paperwork did the heavy lifting.
I have come to the conclusion that it is time to get back to work. I needed a break. My head and body were done. I needed to re-boot. A few things were lost in the re-boot and a few discovered.
Mainly, I discovered the experience of achieving Doctor-hood completely cured me of career ambitions. In some ways it seems a waste. In others, it was a means to an end.
In the course of my studies, I created the opportunity to run away to the circus, climb a web, stand on the back of running horse and, my most desperate childhood desire, ride an elephant as a showgirl under the stars of a big top. My husband had the opportunity to step into the cage and take a gorgeous tiger through its paces. A dream he didn't even know he had until that moment.
These experiences were not a waste. And as unbelievable and effortless as they seemed at the time, they required an incredible amount of work and direction to achieve.
So I am ready to get back to work.
But I have to be honest with myself.
I don't really know how to work anymore, in the conventional sense. I have been a student for so long, I don't really know how to take charge of my own work. I don't know how to direct my energy in a productive manner. I don't know how to stay on task without looming deadlines and snarky comments from advisors. I don't know how to get out of bed at the same time every day, get dressed and get to work.
I don't even know how to look for work. The last time I looked for work outside of academia it was with paper resume and cover letters sent through the mail and follow-up calls. Now it is online sites and forms, recruiters, form rejection emails (or no emails at all) and a lot of acronyms.
Admittedly, the last time I looked for work I lived in Cleveland, OH and Lexington, KY and not one of the biggest cities in the world....
Where am I going with this? How does it all link back to those pesky little wedding photos?
I don't know.
Giving yourself a break? No, that can't be it.
I guess it can be about the reality of great moments.
They aren't stage managed, are they? My two greatest moments in life were very quiet and unexpected. Neither occurred on my wedding day (not to worry, one is the moment I knew Pete was for me) and in fact I didn't realise they were great moments until after the fact. And while the moments themselves were not planned there was a lot of planning that went into getting me to that place and time.
The wedding photos remind me that great life moments cannot be stage managed. However, that doesn't mean we stop planning and working. It is the work and planning that bring about the opportunity for great happiness and emotion.
The mundane stuff that happens in-between those moments can be pretty great too.
wedding photos by Genevieve Nisly