The passing of a year always leaves me a little sad. It has taken me years to fully understand just why it saddens me. I’m the type of person that needs to know the ‘why’ even when that means I have to dissect my own psyche.
Twenty years ago, the passage meant that I didn’t have anywhere to party on that night. I have never been much of a partygoer to start with and the added pressure of NYE was too much. Yes, I am aware at how terrible those two sentences are. As the years past, I realized that the end of the year signified what I didn’t do with my time on Earth. Then, the period between Christmas and New Year’s became one of existential searching which ultimately ended in regret and disappointment.
This does not even take into account the resolutions that we make. How many times have we started something just to end it and add to the stress we are already dealing with? Though, I did quit smoking cigarettes as part of a New Year’s resolution and have been happily smoke free ever since, but I digress.
I started to like this time of year by accident. It happened a few years ago, when I was once again dreading the night and the ball drop. I began to make a list of all the things I did during the year. I started the exercise being angry. I think I did it to show myself that another year had passed and I did nothing and I should be ashamed. Again, I am aware at how terrible that sentence is. I slowly realized instead that when I stopped putting so much stress on myself and became happy with my accomplishments in general, my year was pretty alright.
So now, that’s what I do. I know it sounds cheesy as hell but it works. I make sure that I go through the year and make mental notes of the accomplishments I’m proud of. And you know what? If you think you don’t have any accomplishments, then find them. Did you come home each night to a family that was happy to see you? Accomplishment! Were you nicer to the checkout girl than she was to you? Accomplishment! They don’t have to be big to be effective.
I’m not stating that my holiday depression is cured. But, it has made me try a little harder during the year to make sure my future self has a good list to compile on December 31st.
I recently spoke with a woman losing her boyfriend to cancer. Well, I talked, she sobbed. I would have liked to tell her that I understood her pain. That I was in her shoes before. I couldn’t. I haven’t lost anyone I love, yet. I have lost people in my life that I didn’t love or really even like. This brings me to my next blog post.
It's ok to not care or even to be happy when someone dies. It just depends on what they meant to you.
If you know me, you know I had terrible parents. I am a survivor of their alcoholic behaviors. I was abused both emotionally and verbally. So, when my parents died last year, I was fine with it. I was happy that that part of my life was finally gone. I’m not saying that I didn’t have a flood of memories come back to me. I’m not saying I didn’t cry. But it wasn’t because I was sad for what just happened. I understood why I was crying and allowed myself to feel it. I know I’m a good person filled with love for others.
If you have people in your life that are toxic or abusive, in any form, and they leave your life forever, it’s ok to not care. Know that you are a good person and this lack of what people deem ‘proper emotion’ is acceptable, natural and true to the situation.
For your wedding, you have chosen: the clothes, the music, the food, the venue, the audience and even the invitations. So, why would you choose to have your vows come from a template? These are your vows after all. This is what you are promising to your partner, your lover, your life.
The bad news is, writing your own vows is tough. The good news is, you’re not getting graded on it. In fact, you can’t go wrong. I mentioned in one of my posts that your feelings are not wrong. What you write to your soon-to-be spouse will be perfect because it comes from you...and you are both about to become one.
That being said, there are a few things that you can DO that would be wrong. Making your vows 15 minutes long, for example, would be considered wrong. Telling nothing but inside jokes is something else you should steer clear of. Peppering them into a speech is fun, though, but that’s another post.
Here are a few items that will help you on your vow writing journey:
First and foremost, breathe. This is a beautiful time in your life and it should not be stressful.
Speak from the heart. I know this sounds cliché but where else are you going to speak from during this time?
Give yourself plenty of time. You should write, edit, rewrite, read, and repeat a few times. Unless you are good at off-the-cuff speeches, give yourself time to prepare.
Sure there are tips and templates and so called rules to vow writing. You don’t have to mind those. You have to say what you mean and of course mean what you say. Bring a verbal piece of yourself into your special day. Everything is so visual during a wedding. It will be a nice contrast to have the other senses engaged as well. And if all else fails, call or email me. We’ll get though it together.
So, my first blog post is about public speaking and special occasions. Everyone has to speak publicly at some point. It’s a fact of life these days. Everyone gets nervous, maybe forgets what to say and maybe cries openly. We all deal with it differently.
Some of us get graded on it. Some of us have been promoted or even fired because of it. Other times, well, other times, people pay tribute, express love, share important experiences or make the world a little better. That is what I want to focus on; making the world better even if it’s just one person’s world.
I did a little research for this blog post. I read other posts about how public speaking can be scarier than death. That it’s all in our heads. You should picture the audience naked! We’ve heard that and probably have tried it. Yeah, until you realize that your father-in-law’s mother is in the audience and now you have to cover up the fact that you just threw up a little in your mouth. After my research was done, I realized that I didn’t need to do any of it. All I really needed to do was share my advice and hopefully some wisdom. So, here goes…..wish me luck.
There are many special occasions in our life: weddings, funerals, and holidays to name a few. Sometimes during these occasions you are asked to speak. This honor may fall to a best man at a wedding, a friend at a funeral or a co-worker at a retirement party. I call it an honor because it is. You have been chosen to honor a person by speaking on their behalf. What a beautiful gift!
You don’t have to be instructed on how to say what you feel. I’ve always said that whatever you’re feeling isn’t wrong. If you are sad, happy, angry or indifferent over something that happened it’s alright. Just write it down. Feel it. Read it. If it moves you, it will move your audience. Be proud of what you’re about to say. It will radiate to the listeners. Recently I was asked to write something for my friend’s mother’s memorial service. I didn’t know her mother well but I adore my friend. I took that love for her and put it into my writing for her mom. The speech turned out to be a lovely tribute.
That’s it. That is my advice and wisdom. It’s not a lot because it’s not complicated. To sum it up: feel it, write it, say it. If you’re still nervous and don’t know what to say, remember this old adage: Those that matter do not mind and those that mind do not matter.