So last month I got married in Hawaii. My wife’s family came from Spainland, and my family came from the even more exotic paradise that is Illinois, and we spent a week on Kauai. We kayaked, hiked through canyons, frolicked with sea turtles, failed miserably at bodyboarding, saw dolphins, and capped it all off with a ceremony and dinner and dancing beside the ocean. It was absolutely perfect.
Except that Hawaii decided to play host to two tropical storms the weekend we were supposed to arrive. Two of them, because apparently one hurricane just isn’t enough. Hawaii hasn’t had a hurricane hit for over 30 years; that’s why we made it a state, because it’s such a great and safe place to visit. Unless you’re planning a wedding, in which case Hawaii’s all like, “Hey guys, you know what you forgot to add to the wedding list? A sharknado. But don’t worry, I’ve got that covered. I’ll also try to impale you with some flying coconut trees too.”
Needless to say, sometimes things happen that you aren’t counting on. Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go awry (which is true enough even though I highly doubt that mice do very much planning). So the next time your plans decide to not go exactly according to plan, try keeping these ideas in mind:
Focus On What You Can Control
Sometimes paint colors don’t look the same on the wall as they do on the little swatch thingy. Sometimes your product design runs into an unexpectant snag. And sometimes your friends buy you an animal-print Speedo and make you wear it in public because they think it’ll make your bachelor party more enjoyable. (Not that that happened to me, mind you.) You can either focus on all the things beyond your immediate control, or you can concentrate on the part of the world you truly can influence. One path will make you stressed, frustrated, miserable, angry, bitter and really tedious to hang out with – and the other will, you know, do the opposite of that.
Remember What’s Really Important
During the planning of our wedding, my wife and I agonized over menu designs, napkin colors, chair sashes, and sippy cups. We seriously had sippy cups for the babies at our wedding, and you have no idea how much time and energy and money we spent to find the perfect sippy cups for babies who DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY’RE STARING AT and probably can’t appreciate our color scheme. And, oh yeah I love you and want to spend my life with you. I’m sure some of your plans are critical, and in those cases it makes sense to get upset when things don’t work out the way they need to. But more often than you might realize, most of our plans are what we’d like to happen, not what we need to happen. Concentrate on what’s necessary, and a lot of your stress will melt away.
Re-Imagine All Those Mistakes As Fun Stories To Tell Your Friends Later
I’m pretty sure the officiant for our wedding had no idea where he was. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t know his own name. But I’m absolutely certain that he didn’t know my name, because he screwed it up three times during the ceremony. Three times. Three. He kept confusing me with my best man, who is also my brother. The third time he did it he apologized by saying, “Well, Matt, you’re just so memorable,” which kinda-sorta implies that I personally am monumentally forgettable. “Do you, Laura, take…um…this completely nondescript person…um…” I could be mad about that, I suppose. Or I could remember that as the one thing for our wedding that went wrong that will be a fun story to tell for the next forever. “Hey, honey, remember that time when our wedding officiant had an acid flashback and tried to marry you to my brother?” Given enough time, many of the things that happen to us either end up being good experiences or good stories. When things go wrong, see if there’s any way to salvage a good story out of it. You’ll be surprised how often you can.
I hope that helps, and I hope you enjoy learning more about my wedding. I also hope you consider doing a trip to Kauai sometime soon. I’m sure the weather there will be absolutely perfect until my wife and I decide to renew our vows, but I’ll let you know when that’s going to happen so you can plan your vacation for any other time than that.