On Friday I took my wedding dress to a seamstress. I stood half naked for an hour as the seamstress rotated between pinning my dress into a undesired french bustle and helping various prom customers who filed in and out while no doubt judging my dirty strapless bra (yes, I was just standing out in the open). The entire time the seamstress farted on me. At first I thought it was her shoe, but the noises continued. Persisted really. Long and loud, and unapologetic. And I thought, this seems about right.
A month or so ago, Molly and I decided to rotate writing weekly personal posts about the current state of our lives and health. It’s been my turn for three weeks. I keep rotating in different posts, and pushing back the deadline because I don’t really know how to articulate my life right now. Everything is moving all at once. A wedding. Jobs changing. Friends moving. Car shopping. House hunting. I think there’s more, but I forget. I forget because I forget a lot lately which is something I’m not used to. I forget dentist appointments and coffee meetings, and what I told Molly five minutes ago. I forget hostess gifts, and the names of new acquaintances, and what’s on my calendar next weekend. I forget what I had for lunch yesterday, and I certainly don’t remember the exact serving dish my aunt gave me at a wedding shower two months ago that she wants to make sure I’m using. They’re all white and they’re all from Crate and Barrel. I’m thankful, believe me, but I’m also forgetful.
(Molly and I at my most recent wedding shower)
On a cognitive level, I recognize this forgetfulness means my brain, and my life, are at capacity. I get it. I do. I really do. But also trust me when I say there isn’t much else I can cut out right now. I already did that. About a month ago I took a blank piece of paper and wrote down everything going on in my life. Every volunteer position, every board, every job, every wedding task, every social commitment. And then I took a sharpie marker and crossed things off. I crossed off anything I could put on hold until after the wedding. I crossed out a lot. What was left was what needs to and has to get done. The non-negotiables.
I can’t shorten my to do list anymore right now. That’s just how it is. But I can take a few steps to protect my sanity, and my most valuable asset, my health. So, for the next 40 days until our prenups, I’m adopting these four mini manifestos.
1. Care less. I’m going to care just a little bit less about the outcome of the tasks on my to do list. As always, my attitude and my perspective are really the only things I can control. This wedding, a new job, a new house or car don’t have to be, and won’t be, perfect. It’s more beautiful that way. So, I’m just going to care a little bit less about all of the things on that lengthy to do list.
2. Give grace. I’m going to give myself grace because I’m doing my best. In the next month or so, I’m going to keep forgetting. I’m going forget to text you back, or return your email, or answer your call. I’ll forget your name, or your kid’s name, or what you want to eat at our wedding. I promise all three options are good. You’ll be fed. I’ll be fed. Everyone will be fed. I’m going to forgive myself for all the aforementioned atrocities because I’m giving myself grace.
3. Pause and give thanks. Yesterday, I had a wedding shower. It was filled with women, amazing women, who love me and who have done so many kind things for me throughout my life, especially recently. At one point I paused, looked around the room, and noticed what it felt like to simply be grateful for that love. As the next 40 days fly by I plan to do this more. To stop and savor, and give thanks for all of the love associated with this busy time.
4. Laugh. I plan to laugh. I’m starting by laughing at the fact that I got farted on by a seamstress who tried to turn my chill bohemian wedding dress into a victorian ball-gown, and that I now have to find a new seamstress five weeks before my wedding. Whatever, that’s funny. So I’m going to laugh.
I just wrote those four manifestos down on a post it note and attached it to my computer. Maybe, wherever you are in your life, these manifestos will be of use to you as well. I think number four is the most important because despite what we think about our lives, none of this is really all that serious.