Tuesday, August 07, 2012

How to throw the perfect wedding

STEP 1:  Have the groom be an absolute mensch with a wide circle of friends from all the various times of his life - college, business school, life in various cities.  A stand-up guy who on his worst day would be described as loyal, kind, generous, funny, intelligent, hard-working, honorable, cool.  A guy who, wherever he is, is the social chair, the cruise director, the one that everyone knows and loves and the glue that holds the group together.

STEP 2:  Have him get married for the first time relatively late in life, when he's in his early 40s.  Maybe he's had a series of relationships that didn't work out.  In other words, it's been a long time coming, and he's been looking his whole life for that elusive One.  And he's finally found her.

STEP 3:  Have the One be an extraordinarily smart, independent, elegant, stylish, wonderful woman.  Perhaps she's got her own story of living through and overcoming unspeakable tragedy, so that in marrying this incredible groom, they've found a happiness together that makes their union achingly poignant and perfect.  Throw in a couple of gorgeous kids who now can point to a complete, delightful family unit, and there isn't a dry eye in the house.  Hearts are bursting with joy for the four of them.

STEP 4:  Have people willing and eager to come from all over the country (and hell, all over the world), to celebrate the occasion.  This will be accomplished via Steps 1 and 3, by virtue of the bride and groom being such amazing people that their tribes will be thrilled to take part in the event, no matter how far they have to come.

STEP 5:  Make the setting for the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, and the reception, all be stunning.  Beautiful architecture, beautiful flowers, beautiful trees, beautiful weather.  Delicious food and drink. 

STEP 6: In the midst of all of this elegance and finery, include unique touches that point to the couple's sense of humor and whimsy. 
  • Like an Alice in Wonderland-themed rehearsal dinner, the "Mad Hatter" portion of which includes having the guests stand up at various points in the evening and move three spaces to the left, so that they're now sitting in front of new people and making new friends. 
  • Like having your wedding cake topper be custom-made bobblehead dolls of the couple and their gorgeous kids in their wedding clothes. 
  • Like 1) surprising the guests with a live band that wears gold lame` suits and novelty afro wigs and specializes in 80s covers, AND 2) providing novelty wigs and glo-stick necklaces for the wedding goers.  So that the result is a bunch of Silicon Valley millionaires and Virginia horse country blue-bloods, mostly in their 40s and 50s, rocking out with blue or pink hair and generally acting like teenagers at a rave.
  • Like having your party favors be engraved shot glasses, including providing the tequila, salt and limes for everyone to do shots with.
These factors are virtually impossible to combine.  It takes rare individuals, rare circumstances, and a little bit of luck to pull it all off. 

But when it happens, it's magical.

Congratulations, Bob, Christine, Christian and Chloe - I wish you every happiness.  You deserve it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Thoreau had the right idea

We took our big annual family trip to the beach a few weeks ago.  It was the usual craziness that comes with 10 or so people who love each other but aren't used to being around each other, all sharing a house.  And it was also fun and relaxing and fully of beach-y vacation-y activites.

Like playing with the kids on the beach.

And taking them in the water.

And reading on the porch.

And searching for crabs among the rocks.

And, of course, surfing.

Watching the children play on the sand and in the water was eye-opening.  They were so full of joy, running and jumping and swimming for hours and hours -- fully enjoying their youthful energy and health.  At one point I looked over at Zeke and he was just rolling in the sand, like a fillet being breaded, and he couldn't have been happier.

It caused J and me to start talking about how we want to live our lives.

For J, it's an easy choice.  He grew up by the beach and loves it like no other place.  It feeds his soul.  Colorado is beautiful and there are plenty of things to do for people that love physical activity in the outdoors, but there's a part of him that wilts a little bit every day that he wakes up so far away from the ocean.

I can be happy pretty much anywhere, as long as I have something to read and people around me that I love.  And, an internet connection, of course.

So if it means so much to the people that I love, I'd be happy to live near the beach again.  After all, there were plenty of things about Hawaii that I disliked, but being by the water and enjoying the surf was certainly not one of them.

And we like the New England setting - good weather with four seasons, nice people, access to sports and universities and good schools.  And family close by.  It would be awesome for the kids to grow up near the cousins, whom they adore.

The question is, how to accomplish it.

When I look over my blog posts of the last couple of years, the theme that emerges is that of busyness and exhaustion.  Of not having enough time.  Time alone, time with J, time with the kids, time unencumbered by obligations.  It makes me weary and exacerbates my depression.  I'm good at handling it, but I wish I didn't have to.

So that's where my Beachbody business comes in.

It started off as a lark.  I had been doing this company's workouts and using its products for so long that I signed up to be a coach largely for the discount, and maybe to make some beer money in recommending it to my friends, since I was recommending it to my friends anyway.

Then I figured I could use it as a vacation/rainy day fund.

Then I realized that I'm actually pretty good at the coaching part, and getting better at the networking/business part.  And if I work and apply myself, I can use it to get my time back.

I don't care about being rich or having fancy things.  I just want time. I want to feel like I'm living deliberately and thoughtfully, as opposed to just careening from obligation to obligation and then collapsing in an exhausted heap at the end of every day.  And if I continue to apply myself and work, to connect with people and help them get the bodies and the lives they want, I can create a life for myself and my family by the beach.  A life of health and activity and family and helping people.

So we've put together a plan, and we're implementing it, and we're going to get there.