May 8th, 2010 was, by far, the best day of my entire life. For many reasons – most importantly and obviously because I made it official with my beautiful wife Lierin. But May 8th meant so much to me and us because of the love that was shared by everyone. 150 of our closest family and friends gathered together and in short, partied like it was 1999. We laughed, we cried, hugs were in abundance, and even though the day was gone in the blink of an eye, time seemed to stand still, there were so many “little moments” that will stay with me forever – that day put my entire life into perspective – everything I had done up until that point couldn’t hold a candle to that moment in time…
And then my wife and I packed our bags and enjoyed an amazing week of rest and relaxation, good food, plenty of drinks, and for the first time since graduating college, we didn’t think about ANYTHING except being with each other – no work, no blogs, no Twitter, no responsibility other than enjoying every moment with one another. I tried to tell myself I was glad to be home, but who am I kidding? I would’ve loved to run away and travel the world together.
But the bottom line is, here I am today, Monday morning, back to reality, but feeling great about where I am and what the future holds. They say moments like these define who you are and who you will become, so with that in mind, here are a few important things I’ve learned or re-learned to appreciate and put into action…
Make (much more) time for family
Looking out over the crowd at our wedding and seeing so many smiling faces was an incredible sight to see (whether it was because of us or the Jack Daniels remains to be determined). What it made me realize is just how important family is – through all the bullshit and drama, after your work-day is done, when you’re feeling alone and that no one cares about you, family is the one constant that will always be there for you. In short, make time for the people in your life who truly matter, it doesn’t take much effort to show that you really care.
On your wedding day, relax
I had heard horror stories about how insane the wedding day could be (or maybe we just watched too many episodes of Bridezillas). But our wedding day couldn’t have been any better. I woke up at 5am, finished my wedding vows, went to breakfast with my Mom, met up with my Best Man, ran a few errands, relaxed with my Groomsmen while we ate Fruit Rollups and played NBA Jam (true story), got ready, got married, and enjoyed every single moment along the way. There was no stress, no worries, everything was perfect. That’s not to say there wasn’t a heck of a lot of stress planning everything, but at some point you have to let all of that fade away. For me, it was Thursday before the wedding, sitting on the train drinking a PBR with my best man and good friend, gearing up for the Bachelor Party. From that point on, I just let everything happen and enjoyed every second of it. It happens SO fast, don’t waste your time with stress and worry.
Say “Yes” to fun
Sitting at my apartment yesterday with my wife and in-laws, we asked ourselves “what’s next”? For the past couple years, everything has been absolutely insane, moving, job hopping, getting engaged, starting a business, getting married – there’s always been something on the horizon, with very little time to sit back and enjoy. Now, finally, for the first time in a long time, at least for the foreseeable future, we are in a great place. Of course, there is still a lot of unknown, neither of us know where we’ll be in a year, or what we’ll be doing, heck, even where we’ll be living, but I finally feel like I can settle in and relax. I’m focused on work and some exciting things in the near future, but most importantly, focused on LIVING.
Part of this is saying “yes” to fun and good opportunities and taking a lot more time out of each day to enjoy myself and make more time for “me” and now…”we”. Work will no longer consume me as it has over the past couple years – I love the work I’m doing but finally I’m at a place where I can develop a rhythm and not feel overwhelmed and scatter-brained. This means more weekday golf outings, more happy hours with friends, more midday coffee dates, more weekend vacations with my wife, more cooking dinner together, and in short, more doing – less talking about doing.
Focus on the good, eliminate the bad
This one’s easy – focus on the people who matter most, on your friends who truly care about you, family who loves you unconditionally, and those who make your life better. All of the negative stuff? Throw it away. Get rid of it. Life is good…no, make that great, and it’s too damn short to worry about all the negativity out there.
Unplug, unplug, unplug
I’ve written about it in the past (as have many of you) – on the importance of “unplugging” and getting away from the Internet. Today’s society puts a lot of emphasis on being connected and engaged online – but what many of us who are caught up in the blogging, Social Media, “tech” world forget is, we make up a microcosm of society out there. The popularity contests online are pointless, you’re not going to miss much if you don’t go on Twitter for a few days, and your close friendships will (or at least should) extend far beyond the online world. There are still plenty of ‘old school’ ways to keep in touch with those who matter to you.
I’ll always be a huge advocate of Social Media and the Internet as an extremely valuable tool from a business perspective – and with my clients, I’ll continue to train and consult businesses and individuals in online marketing, but I also appreciate, now more than ever, that you HAVE to get away from this world – you HAVE to get out there and do a lot more living – you HAVE to stop running circles and talking about the same things over and over and go do something. Instead of writing a blog post, maybe I’ll take my dog for a walk, instead of working all weekend, Lierin and I will go boating in Lake Geneva with her family. When I die, I don’t care if people say I was a good ‘tweeter’, I care if people say I was a good husband, a great dad, a best friend and…ok, maybe a decent author.
You may see less of me on Twitter – blog posts here may be less frequent – but those of you who know me, and know me well, know how easy it is to get in touch with me – and I will of course make an effort to stay in touch with you.
I don’t know how else to say it – but getting married was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. I highly recommend everyone go through this someday. I wish I could repeat May 8th over and over again – there are no words to describe how I felt waiting for Lierin to walk down the aisle and the first time I saw her in her wedding dress – the stories of dancing with our parents and grandparents to Lil’ Jon and doing the Stanky Leg will never get old, the love that was shared by everyone will never (ever) be forgotten.
Being a husband is the most important responsibility in my life – somethings different now – in a very very good way (as I’m sure those of you married out there reading can attest to). I imagine becoming a parent is pretty incredible as well, but we’ve got a little while before we get to that point. Until then, I’m going to enjoy every single moment of my new life as a husband and cannot wait to see where the future takes both of us.
Lastly, thank you so much to everyone for your support – your @ replies on Twitter, e-mails, text messages, and phone-calls. I feel so incredibly blessed to have so many amazing people in my life – those I’ve known since I was little and those I’ve met right here through my blog. All of you (and you know who you are) mean the world to me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without your love and support. Cheers!