One year ago today, around about this time, I was getting ready to walk down the aisle to greet the love of my life. To say the vows that would make us husband and wife and to laugh through the cold of that perfect winters day.
In a way I could look back at that day and think it totally unfathomable that it occurred 365 sleeps ago. The emotions I felt are still so raw, so fresh, and I only need to close my eyes to be transported right back to that time. My heart thumping out of my chest as I put my arm in my dads and took my first step down that path, the relief I felt as I got to the top and my hand immediately met GB’s and never let go, every single word from the ceremony I could still recite to you today.
But of course it also feels like it could easily be more than a year ago. Because SO MUCH has happened since that day. As if the second we walked back down that aisle, joined in marriage, someone pressed fast forward on our tape of life and we’ve been hurtling through at warp speed ever since.
From our incredible honeymoon which is by far the best travel experience I’ve ever had – where orangutang strolled past us at arms length away and we felt the sand from a distant land beneath our feet. From career changes and house moves and a certain little adventure beginning which turned our lives upside down… It’s been a year as good as it was bad, as stressful as it has been wonderful and as packed full of ups and downs as any year ever is.
I know when I wrote my six months on post after the wedding I worried a few people with my honesty over the feelings I had in the aftermath of the day, and there may have been some who wondered reading that if we’d even make it to a year. And that’s why it felt important to come back and share my thoughts a year on in this marriage game, when so much has happened and my perspective has completely shifted.
Because that’s the thing isn’t it? Sometimes it only takes the passing of time and the moving on of life to alter your thinking completely, to allow your mind to shift and your perspective to subtly adjust from negative to positive.
When I think back to our wedding day now, I feel nothing but love and pride and longing. When I look at our photos now I no longer just see a flat image that wasn’t quite as I felt it should have been, I see the raw emotion etched on our faces and am filled with memories of those heart pounding moments and never forget feelings. We’re still here, we have ample opportunity to take more photos together in this lifetime, to mark more occasions and savour more of those special moments, but we had an incredible wedding day surrounded by incredible people and that’s pretty special.
Now, a year on and with the renewed sense that emerging from the wedding bubble affords, it seems so incredibly silly to worry about whether people had menus in front of them ahead of dinner and whether they got a glass of prosecco during the speeches. To place such importance on the positioning of a sign or whether people scrolled in a book seems like madness when the sun shone on a cold winter day and everyone we loved made it without issue.
But that’s what a year of wedding planning will do to you.
And looking back now at the frustration I felt over missed opportunity and failed endeavours after the day, I’m able to see so clearly that that was the exact problem.
I annoyed even myself when I fell so deep down the wedding rabbit hole when I always said I wouldn’t. That I got so engrossed in the world and so deeply cocooned in the bubble that table settings and calligraphy name tags became so damn important to me. But of course, that was inevitable and I’m not sure why I ever tried to fight it, why I assured everyone we would keep it simple when in the end it was anything but. Because, honestly, I loved every second of it – the planning, the organising, the making – I thrived on it. I put other things in life on hold so I could spend even more time on it. I loved having a focus, having a project to work towards. I loved that I had a reason to be creative every damn day, that I had an end goal that allowed me to teach myself calligraphy, and paint signs and design a dress. The logistical side of finding a venue and deciding on suppliers and coordinating timings was where the stress and the worry came in, and I was more than happy to see the back of that when the day had passed. But the creative side? Well I would have happily continued along that path without complaint.
And so, it really was no wonder that when the bubble was so prematurely popped and I was thrown back into the reality of everyday life, full of money worries and career woes and stresses over where to live, and not an evening of calligraphy tags or rose gold spray paint in sight, that I should feel just a little down. A little lost. A little confused that this was my every day now.
And probably, if a certain little miracle hadn’t occurred half way through this year, I might well have been closing 2016 with a bit of a ‘whew glad that year is behind me, here’s to a new start in 2017′ like so many of us do when we shift from one number to the next on the 31st Dec. But instead 2016 is now (along with 2015 and no doubt 2017 too) going down in history as one of the most monumental of my life. Because I really feel that I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the 365 days since I agreed to be someone’s wife, that I’ve learnt a lot about the type of person I want to be (and the type of mum I want to be) and that I’ve learnt a lot about life itself.
I’ve learnt that happiness is not a state which we spend years looking for and then once found contentment is ours for the rest of days. There are pockets of happiness in life, and pockets of sadness too of course. Pockets of frustration and anger and discontentment along with pockets of hope and ambition and euphoria. All of them just nestled in amongst the day to day drudgery that makes life carry on.
And isn’t that kind of the best part about marriage? That you get to team up with another and tackle this crazy ride together? That you get to share in those everyday moments, those exhausting days and those mundane tasks with someone by your side?
GB and I have had 365 days of mundane, exhausting, stressful, amazing, euphoric, wonderful, worrying, liberating, and unadulterated everyday life as husband and wife. Good, bad, whatever… just life… And we’ve tackled it together. And that. Is pretty awesome.
And right now we are in one of those pockets of happiness. Our relationship has never been stronger, our love never been so full and our outlook never better. We’re so happy it’s kind of disgusting. But it’s not because everything in life is perfect or because it has all slotted into place. Far from it in fact. Behind the scenes life is frankly a bit of a mess. GB recently lost his job, throwing us both into the uncertainty of freelance life. Our finances have certainly seen better days, the future is unknown, jobs are up in the air, neither of us is entirely certain what we want to do with our lives and we’ve just moved out of the only city we’ve ever called home, not sure whether we’ve made the right decision. And that’s without even mentioning the scary prospect of becoming parents in 3 months time.
But yet happiness is there all the same. Not because everything is perfect, but in spite of the fact that it’s not.
And I know why… This little gymnast that’s currently kicking away inside me. We’ve created a life together and very soon we will get to meet that life and put our all into helping them become the best they can be. Marriage solidified our relationship in a way I couldn’t have prepared for, and knowing we have eachother to walk this life with is a wonderful thing. But I was still me and he was still him. The creation of our little flicker has changed that. We are now one. Connected intrinsically and eternally by this little life that is soon to be born. We have created something that is half of one and half of the other. That combines our genes, that pulls together our traits and our flaws and will emerge as a personality all of its own. I still can’t get my head around it, but I know it’s made us even closer.
So when I think back to this day a year ago, I really can’t help but smile the biggest smile, for all that the day was and all that it has brought.
And too, as I look around today, the same day one year on…
Where we might not be in the woods all dressed up, we might not be on a beach somewhere called paradise, we might only be lying in a hotel room, having just scoffed breakfast, me hormonal, him jetlagged…
I smile even more. Because you know what?
I’m pretty darn happy with my lot.