Is this going to be one of those touchy-feely posts?
To answer the question: yeah, sort of. So if you aren’t into that kind of stuff, then you might not like the rest of this. But maybe you can learn something from what I am going to write about.
Why are you so far behind on blog posts?
If you have been following along, you may have noticed that my last post is now almost a month old (in terms of when the events actually occurred). This delay coincides with why I am going to “lecture” about why family and friends are important.
But why are you so far behind Joe? Is it because you are lazy? Have you abandoned your post as an upstart blogger? Are you lost in the wilderness? Did you go back to your old job? Did you join a cult and give all your money away?
The short of it is, none of the above. An incredible series of events occurred just after my previous post; and I mean immediately. My girlfriend of eight years and I finally got engaged and married; all within a month. Lily and I broke the news to our parents and a few family members a few days after she flew back to the east coast from Denver. Needless to say I was a bit preoccupied with getting back home and planning a wedding in 3 weeks, so I didn’t have a lot of time to focus on detailing my recent explorations. Of course, I left most of the wedding planning to my now-wife and my mom, but there was still plenty for me to do.
It’s not easy planning a wedding in a 3 week period. I am lucky to have such a special person in my life that was able to make that happen (wink wink). Luckily we had a very small and low-key wedding night (that’s the way we like it). We had only 20 people on the guest list; restricted to immediate family and our wedding officiant. It was, dare I say, perfect (for us).
So that’s the story. I am not sure if my journey across the country had anything to do with me finally getting my priorities straight, but I think it helped. My point here is: the people in your life that really matter, you need to take care of them. You need to make sure you keep your relationships strong and you help each relationship grow and each person growing with your best individual effort. And, to tie this together with this blog, sometimes getting “out there” on your own and “figuring stuff out” really goes a long way.
How do you “learn a lesson”?
You have probably experienced the same thing as I have; maybe at big family events like weddings, funerals, or family reunions. You have this moment where you get everything put into perspective. You realize that you don’t need a whole lot to be happy and what is truely important to you; usually after someone makes a very touching speech, toast, or observation. But usually what happens shortly afterward is that the feeling you felt during that event fizzles and you go back to the status quo. It’s not to say that you should completely alter your life after that event. People have to make a living. We all have responsibilities.
I remember when I graduated from college, and the President of the University made this really inspiring speech, and it made me really motivated to “do my best” when I got into the “real world”. I felt really good at that moment. Thousands of people applauded and cheered for him. There was so much excitement in the air. We were graduating after all. But after a few weeks, my feeling of motivation and excitement, for the most part, disappeared.
The “perspective moment” theorem
What I am trying to say is that I had that “perspective moment” throughout the weeks leading up to my wedding (especially during my wedding). I was so happy and I felt so good about life in general. I was finally pledging my life to the woman I love (who I am lucky to have pledging her life to me) and I was surrounded by many of the most important people in my life. That’s what I am saying. Those people that would be (or were) at your wedding, or graduation, or whatever big event where you invite lots of people, they matter a lot. Don’t take them for granted.
I felt myself doing precisely that, including in my relationship with my wife over the past few years. Another advantage to a long “finding yourself” sort of trip: it isn’t just a moment like at a wedding or a funeral. I was reminded every day for over a month while I was traveling alone, who the important people were in my life, why they mattered to me, and it became clearer who and what were important to me. My travels allowed me to have an expanded perspective moment, and that really drilled it into my head. Being alone and in a different environment clears the distractions and influences in your life, and allows you to truly see what “matters”. Maybe I didn’t have to travel so much. Maybe I could have got more into meditation (that would be much cheaper). But whatever I chose, I know now that I needed to “separate” from the world for a decent period of time to clearly understand my perspective moment.
So do you think you know it all now?
Not at all. That’s what is great about being a human: nobody ever truly has it figured out. I have been married for 4 days, and I think it is truly baffling. There is a long road ahead. We can try to go one way, but there are all kinds of influences and obstacles along the way. I am grateful I have someone that can help me take the better route.
I think a great thing about married life is that you have a teammate that can, for lack of a better term (I’m actually sure there is a better term), call you on your bullshit. They can help you see your blindspots and get you to pay attention to things you might be neglecting. That probably sounds like “nagging” to a lot of people, and it certainly can be nagging. Who wants to be told that they are wrong? However, my wife (mostly before we were married of course – married 4 days remember?) has told me why some of my “ideas” for our route were bad. I have done the same for her, but (and this will sound cliche of a married man) she is usually right.
With all the wisdom of being married for less than a week, I will finally give my main piece of advice: determine what is important in your life, and focus a lot of your time on those things. It doesn’t have to be every hour of every day. It doesn’t have to be evenly distributed (amongst the people/things). But don’t forget about them! Write them down if you have to. Add to the list over time. I’ve spent a lot of my time in recent years focused and worried about the negatives, and it is mostly a waste of time. Your family and friends are never a waste of time. There may even be times when you think that you are wasting your time with them. But without them you are alone. Each person in your life is unique and irreplaceable. Once they are gone, either through death or excommunication, you will only have memories of them.
Well…that was uplifting
Sorry to go on a rant to some degree, but I figure you only get married once and these life events are actually great times to write. As I was saying, big events conjure up feelings and thoughts (perspective moments) that don’t happen in the day-to-day, so why not try to express that in words? It may be an attempt to get the “perspective moment” attitude to be more normal. Imagine if you felt as good as you did on your wedding day every day? Maybe that would be emotionally draining. Either way, I just want to share my happiness with you and maybe my “perspective moment” will allow you to see (or rediscover) what matters to you.
There is probably already a psychology term for what I tried to express in this post, and I am probably making up a new term with “perspective moments”. But frankly, I like my term. I don’t love it though. We have all had these moments in our lives. We have all attended in some form or another a wedding, a graduation, an award ceremony where these moments are likely to occur. I suppose I am an idealist when I say: wouldn’t it be nice if we could live in a constant perspective moment? What if we could all look at everything objectively all the time? That might actually be a terrible idea. Who knows? But to tie it all back to exploring again: my cross country drive gave me a prolonged perspective moment, and I needed it.
I also don’t mean to have an ego about it (speaking of psychology) since I am talking about myself a lot. However I am also excited and I feel like bragging a little about my wedding. So without further adieu:
OK so I appreciate if you were able to make it through that. The next post will be back to the “normal” blog stuff. Thanks for reading.