So it is the day after my last day working. For a year. A whole freaking year of not working. And I am having a moment – a rather extended one I might add. I have worked since I was 14 years old in some capacity or another. Everything from food services to medicine to giving out food samples in grocery stores. Yes, I was one of THOSE ladies that you alternately stalk for samples and pity because they are there handing out the samples in the first place. It is the day after my new chapter is supposed to begin. I don’t remember signing up to write a book.
I am assured by those that love me that I am doing the right thing. I am assured by those that don’t love me but at least harbor some form of affection that I am doing the right thing. Deep down in the cavernous recesses of my soul, I know I am doing the right thing. However, that frontal lobe is doing a good job of jumping in to high gear and reminding me that we will need to eat and pay bills for the rest of the year. My husband ? Not worried in the slightest. My kids ? Also not worried. Me ? Little bit of panicking going on. But as I write that I wonder if that is so. Is it panic or excitement ? It reminds me of another day after.
It took a whole year to plan. The flowers, the meal, the venue, the invitations. I was putting everything in place to marry the man who supports me now. We had decided to do the deed and proclaim our love for friends and family to witness. I think we both just enjoyed the idea of a really BIG party just for us even though we would be footing the bill. Who doesn’t like the idea of having great food, wonderful people and dancing ?? Sounded good to us. So with much anticipation and what appeared to be excitement we set the date and got moving.
I was also doing this during my last foray in to college. This was when I was a mature student at 24. I believe that makes me a geriatric student now at 41 but I digress. I’m sure there will be plenty fodder for the mature student standpoint once I meet my “peer” mentor. Let’s just say I have shoes that are older than she sounded when she called to invite me to the “mature student orientation”. Anyway – graduation and getting married were all going to happen pretty close to each other. My then fiancée and I were going through these pretty big changes together and building the foundation upon which our future would rest. 19 years later we are still doing the supporting thing so I guess we have been successful so far.
The year passes in a blur. I graduate college and get a job right away which is fantastic ! A newly minted Medical Office Administrator and working for a cardiologist with a Napoleonic complex and a potty mouth to boot. It was baptism by fire at this job but I was wearing asbestos gitch and up for the task. The wedding planning was for all intents and purposes going well. Then someone wanted to invite another guest at the last-minute. And we still had to finish the bridesmaids dresses. And then we had to find a place for Michael to sleep because even after a year of living together apparently those around me thought he still hadn’t seen me naked and we had to preserve my none-existent virgin status. The panic started to creep in. More like it leapt at me like some kind of ninja octopus and took hold of my brain. The excitement was hard to feel in between gasping breaths in an attempt to stave off a visit to the mental health ward at the local hospital.
Then, as now, I had tons of support. I had my amazing maid of honor Tracy who threw me a lovely bridal shower and got drunk with me at the Stag and Doe (for which she was also hostess with the mostess). There was my tower of intimidation and creativity Tammy who made me laugh and helped me put together decorations. My mother, in her ever-present way, kept me on track and more than once steered me in the right direction with a “Really dear ? Do you think that’s necessary?”. And in the mix of it all was Michael. Little did I realize how I would come to depend on his level head and “don’t sweat it” attitude during the course of our chaotic marriage.
We had solved one of the previously mentioned stresses by having Michael stay at our house the night before the wedding. I stood my ground and made it very clear that if anyone or anything was going to keep me calm, it was him. Stand my ground might be a bit polite for what I actually did. I believe it rhymed with truck and I said it a few times ending with off. My memory is a little vague on the details but it sounds like something I’d say so we’ll go with it. Needless to say, waking up in the morning with my future husband beside me did wonders. We kissed goodbye and said see you later. No big fanfare. No big deal. Just see you later. Perfect.
The day came and my panic / excitement was at a fever pitch. Being an extreme Type A can have it’s benefits and privileges but membership to the “Calm is King” club isn’t one of them. I am more of a whirling dervish / take no prisoners, type of person. Like a “force of nature” as I was recently called, though I’m still not sure if this was a euphemism for bitch, but it does sound nicer and I love flowers so I’ll take it. I was worried about the food. I was worried about the dress. I was worried about people showing up. I was a ball of worry, wrapped in panic and tied up with anxiety bow. It wasn’t pretty.
The day went beautifully. I looked fabulous. My bridesmaids looked amazing. Michael showed up. The church didn’t burn down. And despite some emotional moments at the reception which only added to the charm later, things went well. We threw a great party that everyone seemed to enjoy. Got to see family from Quebec, Connecticut and British Columbia. Got to dance and shake off the worry to great music. All in all – the day was great. Everything we had planned. And it was over in a blink. Half a blink even.
The next day when we finally made our way home and caught our breath, we went and sat outside on the front step. We had a little debriefing with each other to see how we both thought it went, etc. Our universal remark ? “That was it ? All that and it’s over already ?”. Suddenly it became really clear that all the panic and worry and sleepless nights hadn’t really been worth it. I had worked myself up in to such a lather for a whole year and the day was over in a moment. We had lots of pictures. Everyone said they had a good time. And most importantly we were married. But it was the day after, and we felt a bit let down. A bit deflated. A bit meh if you will.
The point of all this ? My hope is that today is my day after. That the rest of the year will pass in a worry-free blink. That my concerns today about money and handling the work load and being a mature student will be for nothing and only last for today. That I won’t spend precious time worrying and stressing and having panic attacks for something that is going to be successful anyway. I plan to enjoy this year. I plan to learn and become a better person. I plan to keep the worry to a minimum so that my day after stays exactly that. One day. After all, what’s in a day ? Tomorrow is a new day and so is the day after.