Monday, May 30, 2011

Back to business

I’m back!

After quite an absence from spouting witticisms into the void, I have at last returned to my trusty AZERTY keyboard and am ready to pick up where I left off. I seem to recall a rant involving a giant bottle of olive oil. Geez, it has been a long time.

To sum up, I have just gotten married. In the US. Hence the long silence (I took a month of vacation ... kindly paid for by French employment law!). And while preparations for this Grand Event have kept me both highly occupied and highly on-edge for the greater part of the past 12 months, in the end it was a resounding success. In fact, it was such a success that I almost want to change career paths (again) and go into wedding planning. Yes it was totally stressful, but also quite a lot of fun. We did everything ourselves, meaning personal creativity + local suppliers + many pairs of helpful hands to bring it all together. And it really was the sweetest, most magical day I could ever have imagined.

And then suddenly it was over and we were heading to the Bahamas on our honeymoon. That’s how it generally works, no? For months and months you pour your whole heart into planning to marry, then all of a sudden the wedding comes and goes and before you have any time to process the whole thing you’re in another time zone. In the space of a few hours we passed from 4,000 feet in the mountains of San Diego to a sprawling white beach beneath nodding coconut palms in the middle of the Caribbean, feeling almost obligated to forget everything and RELAX! NOW! Which we did—in spectacular fashion—so I’m not complaining! I just find it psychologically bizarre that weddings work this way.

And now, a few weeks later, we are officially over our jet lag and more or less back to living our “normal” Parisian lives. I must say that so far I’m finding married life to be quite similar to fiancéed life, although something definitely does feel different. It’s a bit as though we’ve been initiated into a secret society, like we have a special wink-wink complicity that wasn’t there before. In the métro I find myself discreetly eyeing the left hands of my fellow passengers—and generally discovering precious few signs of membership in this particular secret society. Does no one get married around here anymore? (Answer: no.) So while I may no longer be “The Bride,” and thus no longer the center of attention (alas!), at least I AM part of this cool—and increasingly exclusive—married people’s club.

But that aside, G. and I are actually having a rather rough time of this post-wedding period. I especially am having a rough time of it. Which isn’t so surprising, really. I mean, for a full year this wedding constituted a real Project toward which I could direct nearly all my creative energy; an event brimming with symbolism and emotion, set in my hometown and uniting my loved ones from North America with my loved ones from Europe, my family with G.’s family, in the definitive fusion of the American me and the French-ish me.... In its wake, how could everyday life not seem somewhat pale? On the upside, I have total faith that these post-nuptial blues (that’s their official name—look it up) will disappear with time, much in the manner of the “day after Christmas” blues. But in all honesty, I hadn’t planned on how hard the adjustment would be; that’s the one thing I neglected to include in all those wedding lists, charts and spreadsheets.

And just to add insult to injury, since the Big Day has passed, the myriad wedding-related on-line newsletters to which I subscribed over the past year have spontaneously transformed themselves into newly-wed newsletters. So now when I sign in to my email account, I find it inundated with home decoration ideas, helpful hints on enjoying married life, and of course, everything related to maternity. While I find this unsolicited advice both invasive and anxiety-inducing (OMG am I supposed to have a POST-wedding to-do list? Quick! Where's my organizer?!?), I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I didn’t unsubscribe myself immediately. Would “my” newsletters just keep automatically evolving throughout my whole life? Would I receive pregnancy newsletters, then parenting newsletters, middle age newsletters, retirement newsletters...? “Personality quiz: what kind of mid-life crisis are you?” “Tips on planning the ultimate retirement party!” “Why drafting a will has never been easier!” The worst part is, this stuff probably really exists—or will someday. I think I’ll unsubscribe after all.

So to boil it all down, the wedding of the century (mine, obviously) is over and I’ve come to a big “NOW WHAT?” moment. I feel a bit as though I’m still sitting inside the movie theater after the credits have rolled. My colleagues like to joke that from here on out it’s giving foot massages, ironing shirts and whipping up complicated gourmet dinners that will be keeping me busy. But no, seriously—what is one supposed to do post-marriage and pre-pitter-patter-of-little-Franco-American-feet? I think I need a hobby. Or a dog. Or at least a new purse. Sigh.


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