Monday, October 23, 2006

Greener pastures, not acres...

There has been a mass exodus in effect at work during the past month.

Lately, I feel like I've done nothing but go to "good-bye" parties, and it has left me feeling a bit anxious. No, not anxious; antsy.

One recent departee accepted a much higher paying job in a completely different career field.

Another is leaving overpriced housing in Naples to explore overpriced housing in Washington D.C. with her fiance. A definite adventure in the making.

My brave friend, Shannon, recently took off for a 2-year work experience as a professor in China -- a place where she has never been that uses a language she doesn't speak. Crazy cool.

Another is taking a massive leap of faith, traveling overseas to Spain to find herself, a degree and, hopefully, work. But before she embarks on that completely cool journey, she'll spend time in South America volunteering and brushing up on her already impeccable Spanish.

I am unbelievably jealous.
These people who boldly travel outside their comfort zones amaze me. They will truly reap some of the greatest experiences life has to offer.

I know I have no room to be jealous. I've had tons of adventures, including a crazy internship at Disney World, a study abroad program in Europe and frequent travels all over the country.
But I'm kind of a rare breed. The idea of setting sail for new adventures excites me beyond measure, but the prospect of leaving behind friends and family saddens me to no end.

I guess I just want it all. I want to be married and settled, but only because I've found the right man. If not for Jeremy, I would already have one foot out the door of wherever I happened to be.

It occurred to me, though, marriage isn't the end of adventure. It's really a solution to my seemingly unfixable problem.

I can travel anywhere I want. I can change careers, change homes, change my life if I want to. But now, I won't be afraid to change, to leave my family behind, because my family will be traveling right alongside me.
I can have it all.

Compromise and balance will be important, but Jeremy is the yin to my yang. When I want to run wild and he wants to stand still, we meet somewhere in the middle, and somehow, everything works out.

No matter where we wind up, be it down the road or out of the country, I know any place we travel together will be an adventure. Everything is as good or as bad as you make it out to be.
The choice between adventure and monotony is yours alone. I've already made my decision.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The shame, the debauchery, the memories...

I am one hugely important step closer to getting married.

One bachelorette party (to be followed by at least one more) is under my belt, and what a party it was!

Friends from all over flew down, and groups of friends and family from all different stages of my life blended in Key West, the drinking capital of the southeast. I don't know if it was all the beer or the embarrassing games my maid of horror (I mean, honor) made us play, but my buds seemed to bond instantly, despite their only link being me.

I tried to imagine who would hit it off before we even set off for the Keys, and the combinations were endless. Personalities ranged abundantly, and included:
  • The single party girls in their early-30s, who still throw down better than any college student I've ever known, and are totally up for anything
  • The married and engaged family members, who, despite having settled into monogamy and having toned down their partying significantly, have an obvious wild streak that rears its crazy head each time the occassion calls
  • The local friend, who doesn't know anyone, but makes friends easily and goes with the flow
  • The reformed party girls, who, when they knew each other well, would go nuts every night, but now lead sensible lives and can drink without puke-n-rally (puking, then resuming the party, for those who didn't follow that)

And then there's me -- a combination of all of these personalities, and many more, rolled into one neutral friend, who identifies with everyone.

The pairings suprised me.

  • One family member and one 30-something bonded over their love of Dane Cook and *ahem* substances
  • Two former friends reunited, and spent the majority of the trip bouncing off each other
  • Another reformed partier joined a 30-something, a family member and a new-comer wherever the party took them

The truly amazing thing, however, was the way everyone managed to stay together. We ventured to one drag show, a sunset street party, five bars and one clothing-optional rooftop club throughout the course of one night. We began the night together, and we ended it the same way.

Four days later, I am sitting here reflecting on my favorite moments from the trip. My e-mail inbox is flooded with funny one-liners from one former stranger to another, reminders of the fun we all had during our brief, and probably only, encounter as a group.

Chances are, we'll never have that again. There won't be another opportunity for the nine of us to say "we're all together."

In just two days, we learned each others' secrets, quirks and personalities. We heard stories we could have lived a lifetime without hearing (or telling, Mara), made comments we would never make to strangers and did and saw things that need not be published.

It only took one weekend -- 48 hours -- to freeze ourselves in each others' minds forever.

It must have been the booze.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Red wedding dresses and other nighttime horrors...

If you come across me these days and wonder why there are dark circles under my eyes, blame my impending wedding.

We’re less than six months out. My conscious brain is impatient, counting the days, hours, seconds until my friends and family gather to watch my fiancĂ© become my husband.

My subconscious has other plans, apparently.

My peaceful slumber has been interrupted regularly by nightmares about wedding plans gone awry. I wake up completely confused about what month it is, what I have and haven’t done and in a state of panic. Lately, the nightmares have become more frequent.

At this point, I should mention to my parents who have already written several checks to Signature Grand, and are probably hyperventilating into a brown paper bag, thinking I have cold feet, that my dreams have nothing to do with my fiancé.

At no point in my slumber or my conscious living have I questioned the fact that I’m getting married or the man I’ve chosen. As it often is, the devil is in the details.

What’s funny (not funny ha-ha... more ironic, humorless funny) is that I am totally organized. I have multiple tasks jostling around in my head, and all of them are getting done ahead of schedule. In my conscious state of being, I am totally calm and on top of things.

But here's what's going on in my subconscious:

  • Someone has replaced my wedding dress with a red one.
  • My bridesmaids have decided that royal blue is a better color for my wedding, and have replaced their black dresses accordingly.
  • I have yet to find a hairdresser.
  • The DJ is messing up the ceremony music, because I've forgotten to rehearse it with him.
  • My step-mother is crying, because I'm doing too many non-traditional things (No idea where that came from, Mindy!)
  • My dad is missing when it comes time to walk me down the aisle.
  • Jeremy sees me before the wedding.
  • We have forgotten to tell Jeremy's parents when the wedding is, and we can't find them.
  • (A common, recurring theme) I'm running unbelievably late, and we're losing valuable party time.

Added up, it's enough to make me wake up in a cold sweat.

I know myself well enough to know what is causing these nightmares. The event planner in me always feels the need to be ahead of the curb. The things I'm dreaming about are things that I haven't done yet, because it's not time for them yet. But each time I cross a to-do item off my mental list, the dreams surrounding those ragged edges stop.

The truth of the matter is, none of the pesky details are all that important to me. (Note: parents not showing up is not a pesky detail) Consciously, I am totally together, because I know that all that really matters is that Jeremy and I are married, and our friends and family are with us to celebrate.

Consciously, I am a normal bride, with normal concerns and a workable to-do list.

Subconsciously, I'm a loon.