September 2, 2011

A year ago today, it was three days until The Big Day -- our first of two wedding ceremonies, in a sun-drenched park in my Pennsylvania hometown. And even though it wasn't The Big Day, this day was still An Exciting Day.

I woke early that day to shower and pack, ready to depart Washington D.C., where I'd been working a few days (thanks boss!) to be closer to home. I was having breakfast with my fiance, who was arriving on a red-eye flight, along with his parents and brother, who had just arrived from Bombay, and my parents, at the fiance's cousin's house, where there was a new baby and more visiting relatives. I'd then be off to buy flowers for the ceremony and celebratory drinks for the wedding -- as if I were decorating and supplying the biggest party I'd ever thrown (which I was). Sept. 2 was its own Big Day. Then sun was shining, and I was giddy as a young kid at Christmas. Nothing was going to spoil the next three days; everything in the world was right.

If you're waiting for the punchline, you'll just have to keep waiting. The day, the prep, the wedding -- all went off without a hitch. I had one of the most amazing weekends of my life, watching family and friends from the four corners of the earth come together, get to know each other and become friends. I got to transform an empty dining hall into a lantern-filled space fulled of my nearest and dearest, my favorite drinks, delicious food. I got to wear a dress that I'd saved for and picked out just for me, that had been tailored just for me, with accessories I'd never splurge for on another day. And I got to do those things because I was also going to marry my Most Amazing Person, the Love of My Life. This sounds like a Good Movie, right?

The thing is, I love planning parties -- so I sort of knew I would be Over the Moon at this point, given that I'd never thrown one even close to being this big or important. In the past few weeks, nostalgic sap that I am, I've been thinking about the Exciting Day and The Big Day and how outrageously happy I was. I hope every bride goes through this -- but was it just a one-time Wedding Euphoria? Or could it be repeated? Was there something about the way I was living my life then that I could go back to? Or was this going to be the bright spot of adulthood (which would be OK, but disappointing)? It's not that day-to-day life has been So Bad. It's just that last year was More Fun.

I've made a few conclusions -- none of which is to diminish Wedding Euphoria, which I do believe deserves its own place in this memory. The first is that, in preparing for the wedding, I gave myself abundant space and time -- two items I often left drift away from me, in large part by letting work spill over. I can set stronger boundaries there. The second is that I was taking care of myself: workouts, a day at the spa, eating right. It's been easy for me to just focus on my desire to Fit Into the Dress as the driving force of my fitness, but the truth is I was doing many things right when it came to my body -- and in realizing that, I've started to try to re-incorporate those practices now. Thirdly -- and this may the key -- I had a goal of what I wanted, and I was going to accomplish it. I'd planned, I'd organized, I'd saved, and it was all coming together -- spilled drinks, wilted flowers and dirty shoes be damned! It was a Wedding, and I used that lofty event to produce a pair of rose-colored glasses my perfectionism doesn't otherwise allow me to wear. What a great trifecta of circumstances!

Today, I have two pieces of Good News to share: The first is that I can -- and have already started to -- incorporate some of what was wonderful about getting ready for my wedding into my day-to-day married life. I'm working out, I'm giving myself some time to "be put together," I'm choosing a few professional, financial and personal goals that will keep me focused on the Big Picture over the weeks and years ahead. The second is that, a bit unexpectedly -- and even more delightfully -- I woke up today feeling a little of that Wedding Euphoria -- or, perhaps, we should just call it Love. The wedding may be a year behind us, with cake crumbs swept out, lanterns pulled down and empty champagne bottles kicked to the curb -- but I still wake up each day to the Man I Love -- and, God-willing, as he noted this week, I will for many more years to come. This past year, including the Great Wedding, is one to celebrate -- and our future is one worth planning for.