4 Lessons From an Unexpected Source

Everyday Adventures

Ever wonder what happened to an entire week?

I have that feeling right now, but I know where it went.

Last Monday night I had that familiar feeling in my right ear (a more-common-than-I’d-like occurrence for the past 2 years), so in the drops went. By Wednesday morning not only could I only “sleep” (read as: flit in and out of wakefulness) sitting up, the swelling was so bad it was not only visible along the side of my face, but interfered with my jaw. Major antibiotics and pain pills and several days spent holding down the couch and I’m now almost back to normal (ear is still a little muffled, but the pain and swelling are gone).

There went my week and most of my weekend.

The funny thing is, I had already decided last week was going to be an improptu blog-cation after an incident Sunday night that still had me a bit rattled come Monday morning. But in my version of events I was going to spend the weeknights tidying up my office, working on personal projects that always seem to get pushed to the bottom of the list, and Saturday catching up with an old friend.

None of that happened.

In hindsight (wonderful thing) I learned a few things from that chain of events that forced me to slow way down. And those realizations have something to do with creativity.

1. We need to trust in the good.

My meltdown Sunday night happened because not only could I not get out of my own head long enough to fall asleep, I was convinced–on some level–that things were going so well, lately, that catastrophe was due to strike any moment. Usually I operate on the pendulum theory: that, while extremes to the good or bad can happen from time to time, we spend most of our time hanging around the middle, or neutral zone. If we trust that to good comes to us in its own time, no strings attached (except for maybe all that hard work we put in, in the middle), we don’t have to be so scared about what’s around the corner, keeping us from moving forward. From creating more good stuff.

2. Having a safety net is a good thing.

While I was trying to keep my freak-out to myself, Todd woke up and stayed present with me, talked to me, and heard me out until I managed to eventually settle and fall asleep. Whether it’s someone who’ll listen to your rants, your incredible ideas, bring you ice cream or coffee, depending on the need, or run to the store when you run out of something but can’t break your momentum, having an extra pair of eyes, ears, hands, or shoulders is invaluable. Even if it’s phoning a friend, know where (and who) your net is.

3. Sometimes we need to step back from a situation and regroup.

Enter my blog-cation. I thought that if I could just scale down my to-do list for a week, I could refocus and regroup, coming back stronger the following week. Truth is, when we get so deep into what we’re doing–be it blogging or creating art or planning our next big event–we can lose sight of the little things and not see when we’re heading for a creative crash. Of course, sometimes you need more than a step, which brings us to…

4. Our bodies will force us to stop if we don’t stop soon enough.

How often have you worked or worried yourself into the sickbed? I don’t for a moment doubt that the ear infection was at least in part the result of my worries from the night before compounding the break-neck pace I’ve been moving at. While I don’t regret any of my actions over the last month, or what’s coming up over the next 2 weeks (or the holidays after that), I needed the reminder. And I’m grateful it happened on the one week where it only messed up personal plans (not professional ones).


Planning Through Advertsity

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
Stormy sky with a flash of lightning cutting across it

image via stock.xchng | photography by hummel_12

While many people ascribe to the hills-and-valleys notion of life, I prefer to think of life as a swinging pendulum. Most of them time we’re swinging through the center with those outlying side-to-side swings taking their turn (though not always politely).

Around this time last year I don’t think anyone in my circle made it through spring without some sort of crisis. Family troubles, work troubles, money troubles, illness, car, computer and every other trouble under the sun. This year hasn’t been quite as rough, but there were some definite brier patches out there.

It’s bad enough on the usual day-to-day when the stress-level amps up, but add in wedding planning and that stress level easily goes to 11.

Let’s look at a few worst-case-scenarios and see what our options are.

Loss of a Job

One the one hand, if you were to lose your job mid-plan it might sound like a god-send in that you now have SO much more time for that list of DIY projects you’ve been meaning to get to. On the other hand, if you’re the one paying for the wedding and you’re counting on that steady income as part of your saving plan, your budget just took a major hit.

The first thing you do, of course, is to start looking for a new job and pronto! Maybe you can leverage your wedding passion into a job with a wedding pro and, in the process, make a connection that will benefit you down the road.

Might as well find that silver lining, right?

Illness (or worse) of a Loved One

In some cultures, mourning is serious business. The death of a family member can prohibit celebrations for a year after the event, which can mean postponing the wedding a year or more.

Whether for that reason or just to make sure your nearest and dearest are with you on your wedding day, some people push up their wedding plans the moment a parent or grandparent’s health starts to fail. And I can certainly understand it.  If, for whatever reason, that isn’t possible or plausible, it’s tough to keep planning a happy occasion in the face of potential tragedy, but even in the face of that, your marriage deserves a happy start, so keep planning as you can.

Situations like this are when you’re very lucky to have wedding insurance! Last time I checked you can purchase it at any point in the process, so if there’s a known situation that could mean postponing your wedding for a while, get the insurance at the first sign of trouble and you might be able to recoup the deposits, etc. for the vendors that aren’t able to accommodate the necessary changes. (It might sound mercenary, but it’ll be one less thing to worry about in the middle of everything else.)

It’s the End of Your World as You Know It

Sometimes, though, something happens that rocks your world to the core and you just wonder how you’re going to pull off this wedding.

Sometimes you don’t. At least not right now.

Last year I faced one of those make or break situations at work. It was beyond what I’d ever experienced before and after a particularly surprising and unsettling alteraction I spent the entire day trying to get a grip and failing miserably. The weekend was shot; I had to cancel some commitments because I just couldn’t face leaving the house. The next week was spent in a state of nervousness that is best described by the irregular heart beat I experienced every time I thought about the situation for too long.

And then all of my websites went down thanks to a hacker. Like I needed that?!

Like anyone needs that.

After a couple of numb weeks and a lot of hard discussions, things have leveled out (thank goodness). But it was close for a while, and I just couldn’t think about the wedding for a solid month or two. How can you when the world has gone completely pear-shaped? So I put everything on hold, left the stack of work where it was, knowing that it would be there when I came back to it.

As usual, the pendulum swung back to the middle and, thankfully, stayed there for quite some time. Eventually I found my groove again and thinking about the wedding became fun again instead of daunting. Like the song says ‘If you’re going through hell, keep on going’–sometimes that’s all you can do!

Have you faced any adversity during your planning process?
How did you handle it?