Tomorrow marks 1 year that heaven gained this beautiful angel. Words can't express how much I miss her. I've been having a difficult time lately grasping onto a world where my Gram isn't in it. It's felt as if she's gone on a long vacation that she will come back from soon.
I'm starting to realize that she's never coming home from her vacation.
I know she wouldn't want me weeping at her grave tomorrow, because that's not where her spirit lives.
Her spirit lives in the spring tulips in full bloom.
Her spirit lives in the colors red, white, and blue.
Her spirit lives in the Forth of July fireworks.
Her spirit lives in the warm summer air.
Her spirit lives in my heart.
Tomorrow I am going to celebrate her life in the best way I know how: together with my family.
I love and miss you Gram. Although our time together on earth was cut short, I wouldn't trade that time spent for the world.
I know I'm 20 years old.
I know I have a full life ahead of me and a lot to learn.
I know I'm marrying young.
I know what I'm about to talk about doesn't apply to every couple.
I grew up in a community where marriage is HUGE. Everybody gets married, usually at a young age, and if you aren't married by a certain age there's usually "something wrong with you." Not only do you need to get married, but you need to have a perfect marriage, or at least the image of a perfect marriage. Everyone is comparing other's "highlight reels" to their own "behind the scenes." In the 20 years I've been alive and the good and bad relationships I've been surrounded with, I've learned one thing:
Find somebody you absolutely cannot live without.
So many people my age get sucked into relationships by what they believe is love, and later realize it was just infatuation. When things get hard and the real things that come with a relationship set in, it's time to bail out. When the person you were when you were first dating starts to disappear and the REAL you starts to slip out, it can make or break a couple. In the case of a marriage, they usually tolerate each other and try to make it work for the wrong reasons. Maybe for the image of having this happy, perfect marriage.
Or one of those reasons usually being a child.
Let me tell you one thing coming from a household where I don't ever remember my parents being married for they were divorced when I was so young:
It is so much easier on the child when the parents split up and find someone they can be happy with, than when the parents are stuck in an unhappy relationship. In turn, it always gets taken out on the child. Besides, is that really living life at the fullest? You are just existing in a relationship. I completely understand and agree the phrase "If it's broken, you fix it," but only fix something that is really worth fixing.
Why do we do this? Why is there so much pressure to have a successful relationship over being happy?
People will try to tell themselves that they are in this boat. They will try to tell themselves they are truly happy in their relationships when deep down they know they are not. Divorce or splitting up is messy. Staying with that person is safe. "What would people think if we split up?"
When I started dating Gage, it was as if we had been best friends our whole lives. There was this chemistry that was so different from the other relationships our age. We knew we were going to get married when we were 15. We tried breaking away and dating other people, sometimes for months at a time. At the end of the day we were suffocating without each other. We weren't just living without our relationship, but we were living without our best friend.
I was very fortunate to find a relationship like that at a very young age.
As Carrie Bradshaw said it best:
"I am someone who is looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't live without each other love."
So to those who feel like you are in the other boat, what on earth are you doing?
My advice to you:
Don't find somebody you can live with, find somebody you can't live without.
I'm starting off by asking you all a question and I want you to really think about your answer:
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
I want you to really be honest with yourself. This question can apply to many different areas in our lives. Whether it be in school, work, or just life in general, can you honestly remember?
When I sat down and thought about my answer, I was able to come up with a pretty good answer for my school life. I learn something new there every day, and am doing something for the first time at least once a week.
It dawned on me though, I honestly couldn't remember the last time I accomplished something for the first time on my own outside of school. That feeling you get from doing something for the first time isn't something a person should forget. Apparently it's been a while, and that's something I definitely want to change.
Adults tend to get into a habit of routine, whereas kids do this daily. They are always growing and learning by expanding their horizons, so why can't we?
Who wants to live a routine life?
I think a lot of us make excuses when we're young. "Oh we're just really busy," or "The budget is just really tight right now." These excuses may be true, but our priorities aren't straight either. Not everything you do for the first time takes a ton of time or money. If something you want to do takes time or money, make it a higher priority!
You know all those things you've always wanted to do? You should go do them. The only thing holding you back is fear. Take a risk. It might be scary, but "oh well's" are better than "what if's."
If you're having a hard time coming up with some new things, start small:
-Try a new restaurant
-Go on a drive with no destination, see what areas you find
-Find a store you've never been to
-Take a trip to a place you've never been to, even if it's for just a day
-Start a new hobby
-Bring your back burner thoughts to life ("One of these days I will do this...")
-Try a new class just for fun, such as cooking, sewing, yoga, ect.
Reading this quote reminded me that I need to be learning new things and experiencing new adventures, be it big or small. Every day should consist of a new experience to get me out of my habits, and to just make for a more interesting person. :) Make it a point to try something new today. What will you try this week?
I want to talk about why Gage and I chose to have a long engagement.
Some people's version of a long engagement are different than others. When I say a long engagement, I mean 15-20 months. I know there are pros and cons to both short and long engagements, but we decided to stick with 18 months.
Now the first thing people assume is that we're scared or hesitant to tie the knot. People are always asking why we're waiting so long. When we hear this, we usually give a short answer of: "We chose to have a long engagement. It's what we're comfortable with, and that's all that matters." They usually get the point. Believe it or not, we've known since we were 15 we were going to get married. It was just a matter of getting through school. Like I've said before anything worth having requires working towards it, and that includes our relationships. It hasn't always been easy to grow up together and not to grow apart, but 5 years later we are here and still as in love as we were when we were teenagers.
Being scared was never a reason for us to wait, but here's a few reasons we decided to:
1. Weddings are stressful:
There is no sugar coating how stressful planning a wedding can be, especially when you're in school 40 hours a week. I couldn't fathom having to do it in just a few short months. 18 month gives us time. Time to enjoy each other, and time to enjoy our engagement before all of the crazy planning. We aren't rushed into making decisions because of a shortage of time. I don't feel rushed at all.
2. We get the vendors we want, at the price we want:
As of April, we have our wedding planner, ceremony site, reception venue, photographer, florist, caterer, minister, DJ, and bartender all booked 11 months in advance. We got to take the time to shop around for places and vendors that would work for us. We made sure to get the best people for the price we budgeted for without feeling rushed. Having the luxury to get what we wanted instead of settling for second best has made the process so much easier.
3. Not many people can come up with that kind of money that quickly:
Weddings are EXPENSIVE, and that might be the understatement of the year! I don't know too many people who have that kind of money laying around to spend right away. I am lucky enough to have parents who are financially helping with the wedding, but not everybody has that luxury. It takes time to put that kind of money aside for a wedding, unless you take out a personal loan (which I would advise against). The longer you wait, the more you can save up, so the bigger the budget.
4. Our planning skills:
For some people, procrastination is a breeze. Planning a wedding in 3 months is a challenge some people are willing to take on. I'll be the first to say that we are not one of those couples! I am a person that likes to plan ahead, and know what's coming next. Planning the wedding of my dreams in such a short amount of time just sounds like a nightmare to me. I break under great amounts of pressure, so I definitely took that into consideration when picking our wedding date. I wanted to be able to plan at my own pace, while still being able to relax and focus on school.
Of course there are pros and cons to having both long and short engagements. Certainly long engagements aren't for everyone, but this might help those who can't decide weather to keep it long or short. You just have to decide which option makes the most sense for you and your hubby! Congrats to those who are recently engaged, and happy planning!