3200 words on marriage. Let’s go.
I didn’t exactly go into this which any expectations. I mean, Dan and I had been together just shy of six years when we said our vows. I figured we had this relationship thing down and not much would change. Of course, things did change, and not just my hair color. Things about us as individuals shifted and our relationship grew stronger. As it turns out things are quite different from the way they were one year ago.
This was me one year and one day ago. Slightly anxious, a little nervous. We went through a lot from the moment we got engaged through this day. We had a two year engagement and while the first year was euphoric, during the second year things changed as the wedding date came closer. We faced two major problems leading up to our wedding, the first was my transition from full time student to an adult in the real world with a full time career and the second was family drama (which is putting it VERY lightly). The May before our September wedding I completed graduate school; it was bittersweet. Towards the end of my time spent earning my masters degree in applied psychology I realized that I did not want to spend my life doing the very thing I had just been trained to do. All the while I had been working in fitness, in various roles. Although Dan had encouraged me to pursue a career in fitness, I was apprehensive. I was terrified that I had just wasted an unthinkable amount of time and money only to do something I had been doing since I was 19. Little did I realize at the time how valuable an education is, even if your field of study does not pertain to your career. I now see how much I utilize all that I gained in school every day. However, that was not the case a year ago. I was so nervous about settling into a career, mostly because I didn’t want to SETTLE. Was psychology really the path for me? Was I just scared to take the plunge at a new-to-me job? Was I simply nervous that I wouldn’t be a good counselor so I ran from it? Would I be happy in the role of a counselor, no matter where I was placed? No. I realized, as I applied to numerous jobs in psychology that I wouldn’t be happy. I thought, “I want to do this, but not here. Not at this hospital, not at this center, etc.” Meanwhile, I had already worked at various gyms, studios and privately doing the same type of work and was happy as a clam no matter my surroundings. I decided that after I got back from my honeymoon I would take some time off from any work and find what I really wanted to do.
Half this month was spent in Hawaii on our honeymoon and the other half was spent overcoming jet lag and unpacking from our honeymoon. Two weeks off from life in the middle of paradise threw me completely off my routine. For about a week my sleeping was off and I was all over the place. Luckily for Dan, he had a job and a daily routine to go back to, but I had just entered in to my new state of limbo. I had no job, no classes to go to, no wedding to plan….literally nothing on my horizon. I spent the rest of October drinking too much and eating whatever I wanted and generally feeling sluggish and unmotivated.
As the holiday season rolled in I picked back up a bit. Granted, I was still drinking too much and eating too much junk, but I was enjoying it. I was going out with my friends and letting loose. I was also applying to different fitness studios and picking up more classes at the two studios I had been with previously. I was happy with work and things were looking up. I still had quite the handful of free time, which was why I started this blog.
The holidays were a whirlwind. Around this time my family and I started to mend our relationship after the strain the wedding had put on it. It was still somewhat awkward and brought back harsh memories. The holidays helped lighten the mood, I baked like crazy and continued to work on this little blog.
January was a tough month for me. It was the first time since the wedding that I put on one of my favorite pairs of jeans…only to find that they didn’t even come close to buttoning. It was extremely disheartening. The end of the holiday season and harshness of this passed winter took its toll on me. On top of that, the studios I was at weren’t doing that well and work left me feeling consistently anxious. The bulk of my classes were on Saturdays and Sundays so during the week I was home alone with little motivation and not much to do considering how brutally cold it was out. In all honesty, I spent much of January sitting on the couch watching YouTube videos and binge eating. Not exactly the life you picture when you think of a newlywed who is a full time fitness instructor. Despite the fact that my clothes barely fit I had no motivation to watch what I ate or even work out. My classes took up the bulk of my energy and the last thing I wanted to do was leave my apartment and go work out. Dan was starting to freak out that my job had zero security. I had no benefits, no 401k, nothing.
Valentine’s Day was the only highlight of this month. I continued the same behavior I had in January. I remembered the February a year prior and it made me sad. February 2013 I had my set routine from school, work and interning. I spent the weekend after Valentine’s Day in Newport RI with my sister, mother and mother-in-law at the Newport Bridal Expo. I was a bride to be full of excitement and my family and Dan’s got along and everyone was happy. Things just seemed so dark and sad now. I was becoming more depressed and Dan noticed. He tried to help by telling me that I had become complacent in this lethargy and needed to find a career. He pointed out that I had numerous jobs but nothing that offered security or longevity, or even routine. I needed something solid and he was right. I went back to the drawing board and sent my application out to every hospital, community center and government counseling and social work position. I missed being a student so I applied at every nearby college and university counseling center. I also applied to a variety of coaching positions thinking I could combine my love and experience in both psychology and fitness. Only one place bit back and it was part time cross country coaching position at a university about 20 minutes away from where we live. I was hesitant at first because it was only part time but I took the job hoping it would turn into something full time or that I could network my way into a counseling position there.
At this point things had gone pretty much completely back to normal with my family. Dan’s relationship with them still hasn’t recovered but at least I have them back. I was starting to feel better as the weather warmed up. However, my job situation was more tiring than ever. Even with the addition of coaching, I wasn’t making nearly enough to afford my bills and still did not have medical coverage. I started working as a promotional model for a liquor company which was another thing to add to my weekends. I had hoped coaching would fill in the week but being that it was part time it only filled in two days, plus in season meets would be on Saturdays. The driving was the worst. Every job I had was in the opposite direction from each other, scattered across the county and nowhere close to my apartment. I spent more time sitting in my car than I actually spent working. I spent my Saturday mornings and afternoons teaching back to back spinning classes. Then, I’d come home, shower, change and do a promotion. I’d come home have a quick dinner and drink with Dan and we’d go to sleep. Sunday morning I woke up early to teach until 11 or 12 and once again, showered, changed and worked a promotion for the afternoon. Dan works Monday-Friday and my weekends were consumed with work. We rarely spent time together. To top it off, I didn’t have much to show for it as I still wasn’t making enough and still didn’t have any benefits. Majority of what I made ended up paying for the gas I needed to drive everywhere.
In April we took a trip to Miami. It was the first time I tried on any of my summer clothes…which only led to another breakdown. Denim shorts that were once so baggy on me that a belt didn’t even help now couldn’t fit over my hips. Absolutely nothing fit me. I wasn’t about to buy a whole new wardrobe for one trip so I washed all my shorts and instead of drying them in the dryer I stretched them out by putting them on my dining room chairs and stretching the fabric over them. I let them air dry in the stretched out state. After that, they just barely fit and were quite snug. I have competed in various fitness competitions and dieted like crazy before my wedding. Despite the fact that I was devastated over nothing fitting me, I still had no motivation to diet. I know that sounds crazy. For my own sanity though, I needed a year to just let loose in a way I had never done before. Of course, I thought I would let loose in a “balanced” way, and simply give into cravings when I had them, but I pretty much just binged every other day. I didn’t want to go back to some crazy diet but I did promise myself I would stop binging. Easier said than done. However, it was hard to have any kind of routine in my diet when my life was so chaotic. Between coaching, subbing classes and doing promotions my schedule was vastly different every week. It was impossible to settle into any routine. One night after we returned from Miami I was desperately sending out my resume when I came across an article about a new studio opening in Manhattan. It boasted “multiple studios in one” as well as personal training and offered full time positions and medical benefits to instructors. It was also backed by a large corporation I had previously worked for. I immediately submitted my resume but didn’t think much about it after that. Scoring that job seemed about as likely as winning the lotto.
This was the month where things started to look up. Dan and I joined a new gym which kickstarted my work-out mojo. I was back into my regular workout routine and even lost some weight. I still wasn’t where I wanted to be but I did feel better about my body. I was still eating whatever I wanted but I was working out hard and noticed I was putting on some serious muscle, even if it was covered by a brand new layer of fat. One day this month I got a shocking e-mail from the director of the Spinning program at the studio in the city I had applied to. I had a phone interview with him and another director and they arranged to take one of my classes. I was absolutely elated to sign on to this company. I knew things would change but I was hopeful that it would be for the best. I was incredibly nervous about working in the city. I was used to teaching in the suburbs which has a much different clientele than lower Manhattan. Would they like me? Would my classes be good enough? Would I be good enough? Luckily, this studio gave us all plenty of training which boosted my confidence. At first I was apprehensive about the commute but it turned out to be a breath of fresh air. It was SO nice to not feel like I was living in my car!
In June I finally started to feel that balance I had been craving. I quit all my jobs in Westchester and decided I wanted to focus all of my energy into this new studio. I was insanely nervous about putting all my eggs into one basket but I knew I could only give it my absolute best if I gave it 100% my all. I was determined to become full time and commit myself to a company that I could build a career in, I didn’t want to have any distraction. I enjoyed the commute and finally being out of my car so much that I even started working out in the city instead of my local gym. I was walking a lot more and felt my mood lifting. Dan noticed the difference as well. I also finally had the weekends off for the first time since before we got married. He and I were finally spending some much needed time together and it was wonderful. I can honestly say that this summer together was one of the best. We had such a rough winter but we soaked up every minute of summer sun and enjoyed spending quality time together. We even started to see each other during the week more since we were both working in the city. We would meet for lunch or even just a quick coffee. Of course, my eating was still all over the place but I felt more balanced. Sometimes it was indulging in a cold glass of white wine by the pool while getting lost in a novel. The passed three summers I was on a strict diet, it was nice to have a summer to completely let loose.
During July our weekends together were golden. I had started to settle into my new routine and the weather was perfection. It was rarely humid or overbearingly hot. We spent most Saturday nights dining outside along the Hudson and lingering over coffee and brunch on Sunday mornings. I got back into running now that I wasn’t overbooking myself with teaching classes on the weekends.
This summer seemed never ending. Throughout August we continued to enjoy our weekend date nights and lazy days in the sun. I was enjoying my job and really taking in everything the city had to offer. When I went to school in the city I never tried any of the restaurants or food places because I was ALWAYS dieting for something. In between classes or on my way home I would take the time to pop into a new restaurant or bakery and try all the things that were on my mental “must-try-in-nyc” list. I was still working out pretty hard and reading like CRAZY! I would read on the train during my commute and all day long on the days we went to the beach or pool. I was blowing through books like never before and loved it.
At the start of September, I thought I would go back to my healthy eating habits and balance out with a routine diet. Then, I remembered that I promised myself a YEAR of not worrying about it. This month has been RELAXING. One year ago it was crazy, emotional and ALL about the wedding. This year I wanted the exact opposite. I wanted to relax and enjoy the fall with my husband. We’ve spent the weekends doing all the typical fall things and enjoying each other’s company. We’ve also spent some time reflecting on this passed year. Yesterday was our one year anniversary. Saturday we lazed around during the day and at night we went out to dinner at Salinas and celebrated our first year. We’re having a ton of work done on our apartment so unfortunately our plans were a bit skewed. We had planned on going out Saturday to a nice restaurant and on Sunday, our actual anniversary, we were going to open our wine (we did the Wine Box tradition at our ceremony), read our letters to each other from a year ago and enjoy a nice dinner at home. However, we have no access to our kitchen and everything from our bathroom and kitchen is piled up in our living room and taking up all the space on our dining room table. So, Saturday night we opened our wine box and read our letters on our mid-construction kitchen floor. Sunday we sat on our living room floor and drank our one year old expensive bottle of wine out of a plastic mini shaker (left over from when I did liquor promotions) because all our good glasses are sealed off in our kitchen cabinets. Then, we walked to one of our favorite neighborhood spots and shared a dinner of mediterannean tapas while listening to a great band play. Then, we came home and ate our [still completely frozen, because we forgot to take it out and thaw it on Saturday] wedding cake STRAIGHT out of the foil it was wrapped in, with a plastic fork we literally took out of our garbage that was leftover from a takeout lunch because all our utensils are also locked up. Oh, and it wasn’t even our wedding cake from our actual wedding. We forgot to bring that home. It was the cake his parents bought us after our church ceremony, two weeks before the wedding. I’m glad I didn’t have any expectations for this first year because I couldn’t have expected any of this. All I know is that we’ve grown together so much over this passed year and although some of it was rough, we made it.
Before we got married I read this article called “Why my Wedding WASN’T the Best Day of My Life”. It was all about how we plan so much for this day and have all these expectations and anticipations. It was about how the wedding industry pumps this fairytale idea about how all brides are princesses and our wedding is the DAY of our life! Her argument was that the wedding isn’t the best day, but simply the first. What comes after the wedding is what’s truly the best: starting a life together, buying your first house, starting a family, all the little nuances that come along with a life shared with another. THOSE are the best days, and when you love someone and commit to them, the best is always yet to come.