The above are my words to live by for the next year. Just as life tends to throw its worst at you all at once, it also sometimes heaps so many simultaneous blessings on you that you’re not sure what to do with yourself. As anyone who reads this blog likely knows, I have my debut novel coming out next year and as of a couple of weeks ago, I now have another large, joyful occasion to plan in 2016: a wedding.
As my Facebook page helpfully reminded me, I got my dog, Oliver, almost exactly three years ago. The beginning of my life with Oliver was a marker of sorts for me, the moment I began to emerge from a time when my life was at its worst: with an all-encompassing family tragedy, a stalled career, and a train wreck of a love life. Of course the latter two things were influenced by the first, but it certainly felt like nothing could go my way circa 2011/ 2012. Things slowly got better and then, over the last year and change, took a turn for the awesome. I met my now fiancé, Derek, I got a new agent, and then a book deal. Work started going like gangbusters. Suddenly I was batting a thousand.
I’m not naïve enough to think that good times are here to stay forever and always—that’s not how life is. But as far as game-changing happy events go, true love and a book deal are two pretty big ones.
Anyone who has planned a wedding or a book launch can tell you that they can be as crazy-making as they are joyful. There are so many details, and if you let it, the pressure to do it all perfectly can rob you of the joy of the moment. Hence the mantra.
I never had a particular fantasy around what my wedding day would look like. I’ve had thoughts about what I liked and didn’t like about other people’s special days during the dozen or so that I’ve attended over the last few years. Since Derek and I started talking in earnest about getting married, we’ve discussed some of the details, like where (his parents’ house) and when (next summer). But I suppose I’ve always felt more strongly about the things I didn’t want at my own wedding: no ball gown, no bouquet toss, nothing that says “princess”.
On the other hand, I’ve thought a great deal about what life as a published author might be like: spent nights awake writing my acknowledgements, fantasizing about being interviewed by Terry Gross, or just imagining the simple moment when I walk into one of my favorite bookstores and behold my own work.
Planning can be fun, it can fill your days with dreamy anticipation, but it can also transport you out of the present moment: the one in which, miraculously, your lifelong dream is in the process of coming true, and the man you love is your fiancé. And after all the books have been signed and the canapes have been eaten and the pictures taken, there will be the man and the book: the things that matter most. The things that are here to stay.