Archive | February, 2012

On things being really good. Or…How engagement is like hockey

27 Feb

Yesterday, J and I went to a hockey game with his parents.During the game, Jer was talking about what a good book, “Things I learned from hockey” would make because you can apply the sports’ lessons to anything in life. Here’s my contribution to that potential body of literature:

The Ducks started off the season poorly but have really been picking up lately. The first games we went to were depressing. The stadium got emptier and emptier every time we were there. We talked about how real fans stay fans even when their team is losing. And then we started winning. It was exciting but still too late for us to have a legitimate chance at the playoffs this year. The stadium stayed pretty empty.But last night something magical happened.

It seriously felt like one of those moments you’d read about in sports. Not that I do much reading about sports. The Honda Center was standing room only, the biggest attendance in Ducks history. We had gone the whole game without one moment where I shook my head and wondered what our team was doing. Then we spent an entire shift in Chicago’s zone…amazing. We weren’t scoring, but the crowd just lit up. It was like collective  consciousness. Our team was back and we loved them and we remembered how good it felt to love them. Our cheers and the way it felt to yell with 17,000+ other people made us yell even louder. We won the game 3-1 and it was, by far, my favorite game of the season (seeing a goalie lose it and punch someone in person helped too).

This isn’t an entirely fair analogy. Saying our relationship was comparable to the beginning of the Ducks’ season isn’t accurate AT ALL, I want to make that clear. It was more like a consistently pretty good team that people cheer for but justexpect to be consistently pretty good, sometimes a little worse, sometimes a little better. But since our engagement, and particularly in the last month or so of it, we have been like the crowd at Honda Center last night. We’ve just been choosing for things to be really good and be excited about being good. And choosing that makes things even better.

There’s a two-part lesson here that I’d like to remember as a fan and a wife. First, sometimes you have to suck it up when things aren’t amazing. Wendell Berry, one of my favorite philosophers on love and marriage, writes, ““What marriage offers – and what fidelity is meant to protect – is the possibility of moments when what we have chosen and what we desire are the same. Such a convergence obviously cannot be continuous. No relationship can continue very long at its highest emotional pitch. But fidelity prepares us for the return of these moments, which give us the highest joy we can know; that of union, communion, atonement.”

In other words, just liking whichever hockey team is winning at the moment doesn’t feel nearly as good as liking YOUR team through thick and thin. But the other part of the lesson, is that sometimes, if  things aren’t at their “highest emotional pitch,” we can bring aboutthat goodness just by choosing to. And it feels awesome.

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Time out

20 Feb

I have today off from work for President’s Day. It was tempting to try to get wedding stuff done– to keep browsing Etsy for bridesmaids gifts and necklaces, to work on some organizing spreadsheets, to start thinking about invitations. Instead I went hiking with my friend Mari and then came home and watched Buffy and Angel on Netflix. AMAZING. I really needed it. A day off, to spend time outside, to have good conversations with a friend, and to relax a little outside of the “I don’t feel like doing anything excpt watching tv because I work all the time” relaxing I often do.

I think I need to schedule more intentional time like this.

Being engaged when other people are breaking up

16 Feb

Offbeat Bride has a post about guests breaking up after your wedding, but  I already see it happening.  A couple weeks ago my younger sister, and maid of honor, called me in tears saying she thought she and her boyfriend were breaking up. They since definitely have. A friend from grad school called me a few days ago with similar news. And most recently, another bridesmaid sent me a text saying her not-official boyfriendish guy was officially out of her life because he had ignored her and gotten drunk with some woman. I guess the latest incident has been figured out, but that’s not what I’m writing about. I don’t think it’s because of the reasons OBB describes (at least mostly…it could play a role in my sister’s). My friends aren’t around me enough that our upcoming wedding would make them think any more than usual about commitment. I’m still not sure exactly how to best respond to it though.

My first instinct is to feel flattered that my sister and friends feel comfortable enough to share their breakups with me even though I’m wedding planning. Hopefully that means I’m not being obnoxious about it. But it still feels pretty weird to be asking them about their relationships falling apart and then, in a break in the conversation, to hear, “So how’s wedding planning?” I have kind of brushed the question off or given a short answer. I know that they genuinely care about how it’s going though, so how can I talk about it in a way that doesn’t come across as rubbing it in their face? It’s made me realize that I feel a little bit strangely guilty about being wedding planning anyway. I need to work on sharing my joy in a way that makes me feel like I’m really SHARING it and not bragging about it or something.

Here I am

12 Feb

I’m Becca and this is my new wedding/marriage/family/home blog. I am, and hope this blog will be, kind of offbeat/practical/indie, etc. This is not a statement about any of those sites. I’m not fixing something they didn’t get right and I’m not trying to compete with them. So why don’t I just contribute there? Meg says, on A Practical Wedding, “Start a blog if you feel like you have a perspective that’s not being heard. If you’re doing exactly what someone else is already doing, what’s the point?” And that almost stopped me from making this. But there are a number of reasons why, even though I feel myself to be a kindred spirit addressing similar issues as some of the amazing women blogging about these kinds of things, I want my own space.

I just saw Meg speak at the Pasadena stop of the APW book tour and the main thing I came away with was the thought, “I need to be writing right now!” I’ve always been a writer. I journaled almost every day from when I was 9 to when I was 12 or so, and words have always made sense to me. When something is written well it sounds right to me, and I edit sentences in my head before I even get them out. Words feel important, and I often feel caught in a situation or feeling until I have figured out the words to describe it. Jared and I got engaged in October, but our 3 months of engagement so far have felt like a lifetime. I find myself having important thoughts about relationships, family, death, commitment, and home every day. It has been wonderful to read other’s thoughts on this at some of the sites mentioned above, and I am so thankful to be engaged at a time when these communities are thriving. But just as reading another 12-year-old’s diary might make 12-year-old Becca feel less alone and confused, it isn’t a substitute for writing myself. Yes, I can comment and contribute to other communities, and I’d like to, but this also feels important.

My future sister in law has a blog about her home, life, and family. It’s not what many would consider offbeat, but it’s adorable, and I like seeing photos of her daily life and the lives of my nieces. She’s become part of a community of women who blog about their homes, lives, and families too. They comment on each other’s stories and photos and even send each other gifts. I want something like that for people who visit the kinds of sites I like to read. People who question shaving their legs, for example. So let’s do that! Let’s all write about our wedding planning, marriages, jobs, and everything else. Let’s all start blogs and share bits of our experience and thoughts with each other. We can all gather at a few central spots, but let’s also decentralize a bit. What are you thinking about today?

I’m thinking about this blog title. It’s from a meditation we learned at a zen retreat we attended at Deer Park Monastery in May 2010. As you walk, you are supposed to say to yourself, “I have arrived. I am home.” Soon after Jer and I got engaged, I had a mini-freakout. “It’s like you’re going somewhere in life but you never get there! You just keep GOING!” I said through tears. Then I remembered the meditation and realized a much better way to think about is that we are all already here. We have arrived. Whether we’re waiting for or planning a proposal, planning a wedding, already married, or anything else, we have arrived! There’s nowhere to go. Just be here.