Eight Weeks to Wed: An Update

Last weekend I went to Las Vegas for my hen party with six close friends. It was predictably fabulous. We crammed an enormous amount of fun into a short space of time and did ourselves – and Vegas – proud. Wild, unbridled hedonism like that is harder to come by as you march inexorably further into adulthood, which is why it’s so important to appreciate it when you have it. The same applies to friendships. Whilst they should be nurtured throughout life, opportunities to  celebrate them become fewer and farther between as the myriad demands of life creep into our daily existence. And so the memories of last weekend and all the laughs we shared will stay with me forever. I am truly grateful.

And now it’s time to look ahead. Eight weeks ahead, in fact, to my wedding day. As a child I always dreamed of this occasion, wondering who I would marry (or, more specifically, who would want to marry me!) Now it’s nearly here it feels surreal, like a dream. The organisation has been a  challenge, but I know it will be worth it when we look around at the hundred or so loved ones who are so generously travelling to Austria to share it with us. I feel so blessed not only to have met the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, and to be so utterly confident in that statement, but also to have such wonderful and supportive people in my life.

Getting married feels like such a grown up thing to do. I feel ready for it, yet at the same time the little girl in me is tugging at my sleeve, chewing her nails down to the stub with worry. Will I be a good wife? A good mother? Am I actually mature enough to take this step? I have always felt a dichotomy within me. On the one hand there is the dreamer, the thinker, the artist; the one who likes to party and who yearns to travel, to explore, to be free. And on the other is the planner, the matriarch-in-waiting who wants nothing more than to care for others, to have a family and thrive on being responsible for others, instead of being concerned only with myself.

In some respects I suppose I’ve always felt that having a family would save me from myself, and stop me from pursuing the relentless search for meaning that drives my every waking moment. But now I’m on the cusp of that I’m filled with fear; of all that I ‘should’ have done up to this point in my life, and of all I will not be able to do if and when I take that next step. I suppose these worries are normal, and that everyone has them at some point in the run up to making such a big commitment to another person.

I don’t expect for one moment that getting married will mean a life free of worry and drama; far from it. But what it will do is cement our partnership in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of God, in whom I do believe, at least in some form. It is a statement of intent on both our parts that we are prepared to put each other first, to work through all our issues together, and to co-create a stable and loving environment for our future children. The divorce rates reported so gleefully in the news don’t bother me at all. Marriage has always been important to me, and I am entering into it with my eyes and heart wide open.

The fun-loving, free-spirited party girl will always be a part of me, I have no intention of shunning her or locking her away. But despite my fears what is becoming ever clearer to me is that I owe it to myself to explore the other side of who I am, to get to know the girl who wants so desperately to help, to make a difference, to put love above all else.

This is a new chapter in the story of my life. And I am ready to turn the page.

storeBookDoubleHeartOutline-1

Advertisements

Good Moining New Joisey!

I have woken to bright sunlight streaming through the window; something that’s been all too scarce of late in the UK, and which reminded me instantly (as if I needed reminding) of yesterday’s transatlantic journey.

Thus far it feels very much like Belle 1 – Jetlag 0, as I took the advice of my Twitter friends and managed to stay awake for the duration of the flight and for three hours afterwards before hitting the sack for a respectable (if somewhat punctuated by excitable jolts of consciousness) eight hours’ rest.

So, after months of planning (well, I booked it months ago, can’t say I’ve actually done a lot of planning given all the other stuff I’ve had to contend with lately) I’m here in New Jersey, ready to explore all that it – and New York, naturally – have to offer. My friend Jen’s managed to wangle a couple of days off work so will be joining me in typical tourist pursuits and I cannot wait to get going. We have the whole City at our fingertips and it’s a wonderful feeling – there’s nothing quite like being a tourist in New York!

Now let the bagels, pastrami and pancakes commence…

Image

My temporary neighbourhood in New Jersey

Restoration

Apologies to anyone who is hoping for the next instalment of the story I’ve been writing over the past few days, but today I thought I’d mix things up a little and return to blogging. I am, after all, sitting in an ex-brothel in the centre of historic Prague, and it seems wrong not to acknowledge the effect this place has had on me over the past few days.

I’ve written a full feature on my experience of Prague which I will be posting tomorrow on the Bea blog, but what I would just like to say in this post is that coming here has reminded me how wonderful it is to step out of your life from time to time and experience another culture. As an aspiring writer I always feel particularly moved when I explore another part of the world, as it reminds me how much more there is to know and understand.

I defy anyone who is suffering from writer’s block not to find inspiration here, where every twist and turn in the maze of back streets brings a new surprise – whether architectural delights, performance artists, odd little museums or delightfully quaint restaurants serving traditional Czech fare such as goulash and dumplings (just like grandma used to make – yum).

Breaking out of normal life for a couple of days can be really beneficial – not least when ‘normal life’ is proving troublesome, as in my case with recent redundancy news and subsequent job searching and interviews. I arrived here feeling drained and stressed, but after three nights in my (free upgrade!) palatial suite in the Mamaison Pachtuv Palace hotel and time spent wandering by the river, drinking local beer and eating hearty traditional fare I’m leaving feeling inspired, rested and ready to resume my job search with renewed enthusiasm.

God bless Prague and all who sail in her.

Image

I took this last night whilst strolling around the old town square. It sums up just how wonderfully atmospheric this city is. I don’t want to leave!