Rule No. 1
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Rule No. 1

Engaged

I thought being engaged would be really romantic. Sure, there are plans to arrange, decisions to be made, but I thought that mostly, it would just feel like a fairytale. Then, I got engaged.

Before my fiancé proposed, I spent weeks and months — honestly, years — picturing how it would happen. Where would we be? What would he say? Would I be wearing a good outfit? Would it feel like the movies? And now, I know the answers to those questions. And because I don’t want to leave you hanging, I’ll tell you — we were on a rooftop on the Upper West Side, I have no idea what he said, I was wearing a good outfit, and I guess it sorta kinda felt like I was in a movie.

The bottom line is that my months of wondering and dreaming all culminated in three minutes and a bend of the knee — a great three minutes, but three minutes nonetheless.

Those feelings of shock, excitement, the floating that I had anticipated — lasted a week. Maybe two. So in total, the engagement bliss was two weeks and three minutes. Generously speaking.

And then things shifted. I had to think about venues, colors, bridesmaids, bands, you name it. The to-do-list was long enough to scare Martha Stewart herself and I was quickly overwhelmed. I found myself wishing I could fast forward through the next seven months, to simply arrive, all clad in white, to the perfect wedding. And sometimes, I secretly wished I could fast forward to the day after, when all the fuss was over and I could get back to real life.

I’m not saying I’m not happy — of course I am. I’m extremely happy. But I’m saying that my happiness is too often overshadowed by the mundane realities and stresses of every day. I lose sight of the big picture and allow myself to be consumed by details I won’t remember two years from now.

And I realized how sad that is. It hit me that I was treating my engagement period like an obstacle. Like an interruption between the actually important moments — the proposal and the marriage itself. Like this time has no inherent value.

And then I realized how often I treat the present like it’s just a conduit to the future rather than relishing the moment I’m in. I don’t think it’s just me, I think this is a general human thing. We’re always focusing on what’s coming next, what will be better, how we’ll be happier, smarter, richer in some way when the right moment finally arrives. And it’s really only in retrospect that we appreciate the times we’ve had and the memories we’ve made. We rob ourselves of feeling joyful and grateful because we let happy moments fly by unacknowledged — or at least underappreciated.

I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to feel lucky and happy every single day — especially during this time in my life when I have so much to feel lucky and happy about. So when I’m agonizing about the May weather forecast or frantically scouring the web for dining tables that are between 65 and 70 inches long, I try to take a breath.

When that doesn’t work, I call my fiancé. Because he really doesn’t care about the subtle difference between blush and pink. And he definitely doesn’t care if our apartment aesthetic is more mid-century modern or minimalist.

He reminds me that it doesn’t matter. And he reminds me of those great three minutes — and all the other great minutes to come.

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