Last year I wrote a post titled Nine Years, Nine Lessons, in which I shared nine lessons I learned during Jon and my nine years of marriage; those lessons still resonate a year later. Today is our tenth anniversary, which alternately feels like a huge amount of time and no time at all (despite milestones such as three stints of grad school, four moves, and a baby). I feel enormously grateful to have a supportive, thoughtful partner who continues to grow and evolve with me. Today, in honor of our ten years, instead of looking back on lessons, I am setting intentions for the future. I hope these intentions will resonate with you as you reflect on your relationships.
1. Never stop talking. Or laughing. Though I appreciate moments of silence as much as the next person, I must admit that I feel sad when I see couples dining together in complete silence, looking rather grim (or worse, once I saw a couple dining together where the woman was just sitting there while the man read a magazine). I wish for Jon and my lives to continue to be rich with conversation and laughter.
2. Get away from time to time. Jon and I have a pretty poor track record when it comes to getting away. But I am setting an intention for us to do this from time to time; it's not only great for our relationship, but it offers Laurel a chance to spread her wings with alternate caregivers. I took my first steps on this one by booking us an overnight spa getaway.
3. Make more time for pointless fun. By nature, Jon and I are get stuff done type people. And it feels good (for me especially) to attack the household to-do list with a vengeance and cross things off the list. But I want us to make more time for goofing off as a family. A few months ago we rearranged our living room/entry area into two distinct spaces; the entry area (that has two chairs and a rug) was so much more cozy but didn't get much action. So we recently popped open our card table and have started doing big (1000 piece) puzzles there as a family. It's so fun and relaxing and blissfully purposeless from a to-do list standpoint.
4. Let go more. One of the challenges about my "flexible" (is it possible to put that term in quadruple quotes?) work schedule is that I depend on the evening hours after Laurel goes to bed to catch up on work. Which of course is the very time I would otherwise catch up with Jon. Most of the time I hunker down in my studio and just go go go, but some days I am able to let go of work during that time and trust that I will get things done and that things can wait. And so far, it has always worked out; I have never missed a deadline. I want to set an intention to let go more and not neglect time with Jon for work that undoubtedly will always be there.
5. Take more pictures. And be in more pictures. I am the classic mom in that I take a lot of pictures at major family events and am not often in them given that I'm snapping away. However, I find that between major events, I tend to forget about taking pictures. I'd like to get in a rhythm of snapping a few family photos around the first of the month, and also make sure I hop in a few. These days, months, and years are so precious; I don't want to forget them.
6. Strive for less. I think a lot about less. I actually have drafted the outline of a book on the topic (if you know of a publisher who'd like to chat with me, have them e-mail me!). I love pretty, quality things but I want to continue enjoying more from less.
7. Share with others. In relation to the above, one of the things I have been working on, and am setting an intention for us to continue, is to take a hard look at what we have and share with others -- not just the stuff we have outgrown and don't need any more, but also the things that still retain current or potential value for us. It's very, very powerful to share with others in this way.
8. Expand our family. In April, I went public about the fact that I have been struggling with fertility. Remarkably, after writing that post -- probably partly due to the act of writing and partly due to the outpouring of love from my community -- I felt a huge weight lifted. So while I am setting an intention for us to expand our family, I mean that not necessarily in the traditional sense. At present, I am holding an intention for one or two (or more!) families with girls Laurel's age to move onto our street so she can find sisters in close striking distance.
9. Always be supportive. One of the things that has sustained Jon and me is our support for one another, even when the details are hazy or we just don't completely understand exactly what it is the other person is up to. In those moments where we don't understand, we trust and support. I want to continue to do that.
10. Keep leaping. In the last four years, Jon and I have made big leaps, most notably in that we both left traditional career trajectories to pursue completely different paths. We both put a lot of faith in the universe and each other to do this and it is one of the things in the world for which I am extremely grateful. I hope we will continue to think outside the box and keep leaping throughout our lives together.