The Irreverent Professor

Unvarnished realities about life, teaching, learning, and change in this wild, wild world

Archive for the tag “marriage”

Once Upon A Time, 15 Years Ago…

I was just reminiscing about my wedding day.  We’ve been married fifteen years.  Fif-teen!  In these days of disposable marriages, I’m pretty proud of that.

Our wedding day.  A few years (and pounds) ago.

Our wedding day. The first dance.

I know everyone says marriage is hard.  It’s not.  At least not for me.  But I think that’s mainly because my husband is an extremely affable, friendly, conflict-avoidant guy.  The word everyone (and I mean everyone) uses to describe him is “nice.”  I don’t think that’s the word that first comes to mind when they meet me.

I grew up in a house where yelling was a perfectly acceptable form of communication.  We got mad, we yelled, we slammed doors, then hours (or days) later, we pretended nothing ever happened.  In my family, there was some crazy behavior (that in my childhood involved tossing me out a first-floor window and shuttling me over to my grandmothers to get me out of the middle of it).

My husband grew up in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Our wedding was a perfect illustration of our differences.  His dad was his best man.  He gave a perfect toast.  His mother made centerpieces and help decorate the reception hall.  They gave me pearls to wear on my wedding day.

For my part:

  • I got lost on the way to the church (or rather, my cousin got us lost taking a “shortcut”).
  • I had to carefully manage three (count ’em three) pews of parents…on MY side…to include my dad and his wife, my former stepfather and his then-wife, and my mom.
  • I forgot to put on my garter and didn’t realize it until they announced the garter toss (which was good, because there was only one single woman there and she would have been very embarrassed).
  • I chose a wedding venue with no alcohol permit so I wouldn’t have to worry about the behavior of certain members of my family.  As much.
  • I instructed them not to play the “Electric Slide” because I loathed it…and they did anyway. And it was a big hit.
  • The weather between Atlanta and Tennessee was so bad, most of my husband’s extended family couldn’t make it.  We had tons of food leftover and the venue staff ate well that night.
  • The music and video guy stepped outside in the middle of our ceremony to have a smoke and the “Ave Maria” played in a loop over and over…and over. I very nearly stepped away to turn the music off, but my almost-husband had my hand in a vise grip.

That last one was not my fault.  

But it was still a perfect day.

Older, wiser, a little heavier, but happy.

Older, wiser, a little heavier, but happy.

More importantly, it’s been an awesome marriage.  Fifteen years, six moves, one son, and countless jobs later, we’re still going strong.

Carpe anniversary!

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What’s the Big Hurry?

This post is going to seem contrary to my usual “Carpe everything!” and my personal motto “Now is better than later.”  But it’s been on my mind for a while.  What’s the big, honking hurry everyone seems to be in these days?  Why are so many people (including me sometimes) so focused on getting to the next thing that they forget about the now things?

I have had several college students who got engaged during their senior year of college…or so soon afterwards, they still had awkward hair from wearing those ridiculous mortarboards.  Many got married to high school or college sweethearts.  They had been together a long time, so they were “soulmates” or such.  As soon as they graduated (and sometimes before), they got married.  Although I suspect some of them are in college to get their M.R.S. degree (yes, that phenomenon is alive and well, at least here in the South), some of them surprise me.

Really, no one looks good in mortarboard. But I was still happy to be getting my Ph.D.

Really, no one looks good in mortarboard. But I was still happy to be getting my Ph.D.

I’m not saying getting married straight out of college is necessarily a bad thing (and I will again catch all kinds of flak from my friends who did this and are still happily married).  But these kids (and yes, I think of them as kids) are missing out on experiences that come with being single in your 20’s: having your own apartment and never having to fight over the remote with anyone or eating the last of the chocolate peanut butter ice cream in the freezer.  Life-shaping stuff.

Without my single years in my 20’s, I wouldn’t be who I am today.  Maybe I’m just a late bloomer, but I needed that time to feel lonely, to learn to be alone happily, and to make some moves I could never have done as part of a couple or family.  I am not at all the person I was in college.  Or in my 20’s, for that matter.

This “what’s the big hurry?” also applies to the career types who are in so much of a hurry to climb the corporate ladder that they forget there are a lot of great things to experience (and learn) where they are–and more importantly, outside of work.

And to the students who are in such a hurry to graduate that they forget why they are in college in the first place–to learn, to experience “college life” which is a unique once-in-a-lifetime free-for-all the likes of which we long for the rest of our lives.  Don’t get me wrong, the Real World is great.  But there’s something about college…

And to the dreamers who are always thinking about the future (this is where I’m guilty) instead of relishing the present.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”  –Kung Fu Panda

I read a blog post by Rachel Macy Stafford “The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up.”  It struck me right in the gut.  How many times have I said that to my son as he watches the ants scurry around on the anthill or searches for the perfect rock?  Because wherever I need to go or whatever I need to do, I need to do it now.  Because now is better than later.  Only sometimes the now thing is the anthill and it’s really not going to make a big difference if I get to the office 10 minutes later.

When's the last time you took the time to climb a tree?

When’s the last time you took the time to climb a tree?

My life could have been very different.  I could have gotten married right after college except that He Who Shall Be Known as The One That Got Away and I couldn’t seem to get our acts together and ultimately married other people–all for the better I’m sure.  Instead I spent some time alone, learned to move around to different cities, eat out by myself, enjoy business travel, and accept the torture know as dating.  Ultimately I married Mr. Perfect when I was 32 and he was 35 (yep, late bloomers).

Lately I find myself in less of a hurry (my husband, one-speed Phil might disagree)…sometimes.  I’m a work in progress.  But after seeing so many friends and family struck down with serious illnesses, I realize hurrying past today toward tomorrow and next week and the next experience causes me to miss a lot of things and leaves me empty.  Now it’s time to stop and smell the roses.

Carpe now.

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