“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

I realized the other night that I’ve become rather carried away with the idea of making plans…I wear a ring when I am not working that is supposed to be a symbol for something…it screams “a boy asked me to marry him” but it quietly utters the question, “now what?”  Since the day of my engagement  I’ve had a nearly nightly affair with Pinterest; looking at wedding dresses, flower girl hair halos, lighted arched willow branches, perfectly arranged table settings, fonts for modern embossed invitations, and drooling over ridiculously ornate wedding cakes, and recently noticed with a bit of sadness and mild unease that I’ve been looking at the screen of my phone and ipad more than I’ve been looking at my boyfriend’s face.  I realize it is time for me to take a break from thinking about the future.

This man I love has little to no interest in a formal wedding or reception, and I thought I didn’t either, until the question was asked and I said, ‘yes,” and then my imagination and a lifetime of dreaming  sort of possessed me.  I can’t say that I wasn’t warned…shortly after we started dating and had fallen inexplicably fast in love, he said to me one morning, “if I had the money we’d fly to Vegas and get married tomorrow.”   He had told me enough of his past and his regrets, that I was well aware and forewarned that he was not going to have a fancy formal wedding with all the bells, whistles, and expenses, if ever he was again to get married.  I knew this, and yet over these last several weeks could not seem to help myself from buying overpriced thick glossy magazines with names like ‘ The Knot, Modern Bride, Bridal Ideas, and New Jersey Wedding Guide.’  You see, I was married, a mother, and divorced, all before my 20th birthday…my first wedding, shortly before Labor Day weekend in the summer of 1985, was in retrospect, the saddest day of my life and I knew nothing good was going to happen for me as a result of it, and nothing did.  So to write that I’ve been dreaming of a wedding full of joy, excitement, love, and promises to be good to each other, is something of an understatement…it’s been much more than a dream for all this time, it’s been this strange unattainable “goal” in my brain.

I have always wanted to be a wife, despite a minor in Women’s Studies and Feminist Theory, and numerous research papers, regarding a woman’s worth, & the history of women’s rights and status, that would indeed indicate otherwise.  A few of my girlfriends have told me over the years that they are sure it is due to my father’s unwavering adoration of my mother, and I am well aware that I do not ‘need’ a husband, nor do I need a piece of paper joining me to any man, but it is something that has mattered to me, a lot, for all the years of my adult life.  Now that there is a man in my life who says he wants to marry me, I realize I’ve been far more interested in the plans associated with the whole “future event” than with the life we are presently living.

A few nights ago in an effort to make myself drowsy, I was scrolling through my past years of Facebook posts and happened upon one from September 25th 2010; the night of my 25th high school reunion.  I had a very fun time at my reunion, reconnecting with many women from my past.  The man I now love was there, a stranger to me then; we were acquainted with many of the same people, people we both talked with for hours, and he was in the band, the drummer, at this reunion, and despite knowing so many of the same people and mingling in the same room, our paths did not cross, not even once…but here we are now, engaged.  We were in the very same room for hours that night, and he got introduced to and  fixed up with some other girl that very night, and I went home alone to my empty house, and now we sometimes wonder, how many other times over the years of our lives were we near each other and didn’t know…Perhaps I was not mindful of my surroundings that night, perhaps I was not present…I don’t know of any other explanation for me not noticing the most beautiful boy in the room…

From the moment we did meet, and he smiled at me, I felt like I never wanted to look at another face…but for these past many weeks I’ve not really looked at him at all…I look at my glimmery-shimmery ring, I look at pictures of flower arrangements, and web sites for all-inclusive honeymoon destinations, I’ve been busy making playlists of love songs and playlists of dance songs… I’ve got all these ideas for a party he doesn’t even want  to have…I’ve not been present…I’ve been busy making plans, focused on what might be, not what is…John Lennon wrote in Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”  It’s time for me to get back to life, back to reality…if he changes his mind and wants to have a party, I’m sure he’ll let me know.  If he decides on a wedding date, I’m pretty sure I’m the first one he’s going to tell.  I got myself caught up in thoughts of the future and need to pause, and just be right here, right now…for now…

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