Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Great Desert Inspiration

So many amazing big-life events have happened in the last few years— and while it's been hectic and overwhelming at times, I thought I'd reflect on some of the great moments that were packed into the short and crazy summer of 2011. 

What a better place to start than the great adventure that Britta and I took during a record breaking Southern California heat wave. We fought heat & exhaustion of driving, explored the gorgeous boulders and sunsets of Joshua Tree, hid-out in a campground all by ourselves for one very sleepless night, explored the insanity of Salvation Mountain, and then took a detour and spent the day riding roller-coasters at Six Flags. It was a beautiful adventure with so many perfect little moments.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wedding planning part 2...and a FAT RANT about what's been bothering me

What's interesting about planning a wedding for yourself, your family, and friends is that it forces you to think about what's important and what's not at all... After a few stumbles here and there, I've finally been able to put into words what I've been feeling about it all.

I kept asking myself before this started why does a wedding have to cause so much drama? Well, I think I can answer that at the moment. You have to draw up a list of who to include, and sadly who to exclude, from the "party". Ask yourself, "Who do I want to be around on such an important and momentous day?", "Who are my real friends?"

The first question is the easy one to answer:
-It starts with family--and I don't mean the ones you haven't seen in 10 years, I mean the ones that have made an effort to be in your life--the ones that have stuck it out through all of the ups & downs.
-Then you move to your "closest friends": Who are these people again? I guess my answer would be the people you'd spend time with no matter how much their little flaws can annoy you. Granted, they probably don't always annoy you, but maybe sometimes they say things to you that are careless, and at times hurtful. I guess you have to realize and accept that NO ONE is perfect.
-Then you have a list of those friends you just plain old haven't seen in years. Can you even invite them? Well in our case, we really don't have much of a budget to invite a whole bunch of people. Though that would be fun! We simply can't invite 100+ folks to get down at the party... So we had to make the tough call on that one. Make the quick decision to rule out anyone that hasn't called us in the last few years. The people that really aren't a huge part of our lives at the moment. Of course we would love to include those folks, but when it comes down to it, they probably don't expect an invite, so why even go there? Plus, the money is a problem. Am I going to be able to afford $70+/head and invite all of my Facebook friends to a party? Probably not.

So now we come to the second question: Who are my real friends
Honestly, I really don't know how to answer that most of the time. People come and go, but I can't say I've ever had a close friend that wasn't worth my time. I've been lucky to have a lot of really awesome people in my life over the last 20+ years.. Do they mean any less to me because they wont be at my wedding? No. Maybe they just don't belong there. Maybe it would be weird for them anyway.

I sat down today and wrote about what I am looking for in an officiant and what the scary marriage word means to me:

I have to trust that my officiant knows just as much (or hopefully more) about life & relationships than I do. Now that may seem obvious, but it's actually not that easy. I am kind of a "know it all" type of person (which I am sure can be really annoying). I don't believe in any "God" so to speak. I have a lot of beliefs, but many of them cannot be put into words (hence the reason I choose to carry a camera around most of the time).

Religion scares the crap out of me, and I find really religious folks to almost be even scarier (no offense to anyone). I consider myself a devout Atheist, not because I "hate religion" or "hate god" or "worship the devil", but because if someone were to ask me "What's out there in the world", my answer would be "I don't know, and I find comfort in the unknown". Sometimes I fantasize about ghosts existing. Sometimes I wonder if it's all too much of a coincidence that so many religions are so simliar (see Religulous if you don't get that reference). But at the end of the day, I know that this moment, this thought is real--that tomorrow when I wake up and Charley brings me coffee in bed, we will be happy to sit there, pet our cats, and wonder about what's happening next. If I don't have this moment, I don't have anything. I know that. Maybe that is God, you know, the fellow that everyone keeps referring to. But I prefer to not put a label on it. I tried to read through the bible once, and I thought it was a pretty boring piece of literature. I've read and studied a lot about eastern religions, Buddha, Shiva, and the many gods that represent the many things that occur in the natural world. Perhaps those are all just words for what people needed words to explain. The sunrise, the push and pull of the tide in the ocean. The feeling you get when you finally get to come home after a horribly exhausting work trip, and you want to pull you hair out. You know, all of those things that are consistant, that will always be there in your life. Everything else is variable, everything else changes, inconsistently, and that will always be the case.

2. So what are we going to say--what are our vows going to represent, what does our officiant need to say? Wow, I wish I could answer that EVER. I don't know that I will be able to succinctly put into words what Charley means to me and my life. Not to mention I probably shouldn't publicize it on the web where he will be able to read and spoil the surprise. I guess what I can say is that I've never met anyone that gets me more, cares about me more, then he does. (Excluding my parents and family of course, but that's just a given). Why is marriage scary? Well, it puts an ultimatum on things. Either we work or we don't. I give you this ring, I promise myself to you FOREVER. Or you don't. That probably doesn't make any sense. But it also sort of does...
What I mean is that you are asking your partner to take part in a social ideal--the happily ever after. And most likely there wont always be the "happily" all the time--probably only sometimes. And when shit hits the fan, what are you going to do? You've promised to stay. To stick it out. To fight for one another, the collective us. You've made the promise that you will try. I guess maybe many people go into a marriage before they've decided that they believe that. Maybe they haven't consulted one another on the What happens when...I shit my pants and wet the bed and you have to clean it up? 
Are you going to be there to stick it out? Fuck, I hope so. Otherwise, get the fuck out. That's my answer anyway. LIFE is not easy. Most the time it lives you, you don't live it. Hmmm... now I don't remember where I was going with that.

My sister (& Charley) made a comment the other day that I thought was interesting--"You're taking care of a lot of these wedding plans very quickly..." I guess that may seem weird to people that are indecisive. I made up my mind a long time ago that I don't want to live with regrets. FUCK REGRETS. What is the point? Coulda/woulda/shoulda. Nothing could be more obnoxious & less productive. I WISH I didn't have to work to pay my bills. BOO FUCKING WHO. Everyone does. And if you don't, there might be something wrong with what you've done and what you're doing. Working hard for things is what makes you appreciate what you actually have. Might sound simple, but it's only the truth.

Anyway, that turned into much more of a rant that I was going for. I don't know if anyone will read this, but I'd love to hear thoughts if you do. I think that talking about these confusing and complicated ideas only helps crystalize our beliefs.