Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Power of Two

Planning our wedding wasn't just about putting together an awesome party with our nearest and dearest. It wasn't just about commemorating and celebrating our lifetime commitment to one another. At an even more profound level, it was about proving to ourselves that we could come up with our own authentic vision for our lives and make that vision happen for ourselves.

That process of digging deep and unearthing what is most authentic to who we are is at the core of living a meaningful life. The art of collaborating with another person to align your authentic visions into a coherent life path is at the core of maximizing the fullest potential of marriage.

Matt and I recently moved our family to Austin because we're taking steps toward making our vision a reality. We wanted to live in a place that had more nature. Now we take advantage of weekend hikes with our son Henry and our bloodhound Hoss. We also wanted to live in a place where I could work toward starting a public Montessori school. And so I'm doing it! I'm working to create Austin's first public Montessori school.

And now we're working on the next piece of our trajectory: figuring out where we want to settle and build community. Initially, I had big dreams of building a little pocket neighborhood on two acres of land, but that vision is shifting, partly because I'm realizing that certain priorities matter more (such as feeling safe and living closer to the city center) and because our timeline is more urgent. We want to buy or build a home sooner rather than later.

I find that the process of identifying your most authentic path is a difficult one. Sometimes I think I want something but really it's just something that the ideal version of myself would want. Does that make sense? It's a difficult concept to explain. I think I'm less at risk for doing what others think I should do and more at risk for doing something because I think it's what I want to do (but it's really not). For example, I could totally see myself buying a farm because the ideal version of myself would love to live on a farm and take care of it. But in reality, that's not who I am. I would rather spend my free time on the computer or at the sewing machine. So I have to separate out who I really am versus who I wish I were.

One strategy I've been using to identify my authentic path with regard to building a community and a home has been to take baby steps in a certain direction and see how they feel. I'm looking for something that we can get really excited about.

We may have found it. We found a 1/2 acre that backs up to a creek bed in a pretty safe neighborhood near where I want to start the school. I'm partly sad that we won't be surrounding ourselves with people who intentionally want community, but I'm pretty convinced that we can seek out connection within the neighborhood. We could use the front area for a small garden (with small being the operative word, if I'm being honest with myself). But do you know what I really want? A pool! I hate to say it, but it's true. I think pools are hugely irresponsible (environmentally and financially), but I can't get over the fact that I think it would greatly contribute to our quality of life while we raise a family in a place that is swim-ready six months out of twelve. I just have visions of Henry and his friends swimming in our pool all summer long. We can sit out there and read/work on the computer, or we can watch from inside the house. That's pretty much how I spent every summer visiting my grandparents and aunt in Florida as a child, and I would love to provide the same opportunity for Henry.

A small garden. A light-filled house. Windows that open to trees. A pool. A large fenced-in area for our chickens and Hoss. A cul-de-sac for Henry to learn how to ride a bike. A neighborhood association to join. Solar panels to work toward net zero. Composting. Walks to the park. Working nearby.

I think it's a vision we could get really excited about creating together.

Today on Feeding the Soil: Updates about Henry's Montessori floor bed.

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Shawn said...

Thank you so much for this post. It is a wonderful reminder of what really matters. I have been in a place of great transition in my life for many months now, and literally every sort of different vision of my future has flashed before my eyes, been imagined, longed for, rejected, etc. It has been hard on me and hard on my partner. So, thank you for this reminder. I am so happy that as you transition, you are figuring out what works for you. Know that you have readers that are cheering for you!

Stephanie said...

I totally hear you about finding your authentic self. I've been in a funk for a while and trying to figure out what I want. It wasn't until I saw it there in what you wrote in black and white, that it's starting to make sense. It's this line here : "So I have to separate out who I really am versus who I wish I were."

I really have to do this! Thanks for giving me something to ponder :)

Jen said...

Oh MAN. Found your blog via a link to this post and really loved the message. Thanks for the great thoughts!

Emily said...

Thank you for this. It ks exactly how i have been feeling. I am on a second marriage after a seriously abusive first marriage. My future husband is wonderful. The problem is that there are a hu dred different voices in my head telling me what i want for my wedding...but not just my wedding the future. I have learned to take a few minites and remember that Matt and i will be married at the end of the day and as long as certain aspects are there that is what is important. Then we will have much less chatter in our loves. Besides of course ourselves. Thanks again.

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