Five and a half years ago, I was in the throes of wedding planning. I am a planner and organizer at heart, plus a crafter and doer and an “I can do it all myself-er.” That makes for a bit of a stressful time when putting everything together for your big day.
In one of the hundreds of blogs I visited during those planning days, I came across a bit of advice I have not yet forgotten. It’s changed my perspective and the way I handle new situations. It’s short, simple, easy to remember, and something I keep in my back pocket as a mantra that I’ve used handfuls of times since I first read it.
“You are not the first person to ______.”
In the particular blog I read, it was “You are the not the first person to get married.”
Bam. It hit me like cold water in the face. I generally am not a self-centered person, but when it comes to wedding planning, something happens to you. Something takes control of you and says “Everyone needs to do what I want, how I want it, when I want it, and if it’s not right, they must not love me.” Or something to that drastic nature. It’s what bridezillas are made of. And while I was no where near a bridezilla (not just by my own account, I swear), in my own head I had some feelings that a nice person just shouldn’t have.
But once I got that earworm inside my head, it changed the way I thought about things.
They were right. I wasn’t the first person to ever get married. And once I thought about that, I thought about the thousands of other weddings happening the same day as ours. I thought about the thousands of other weddings that my vendors had worked on before ours. I thought of the thousands of other weddings that our friends and family had attended before ours. Boy, does that give you something to think about.
It helped me relax. People weren’t going to expect everything to be perfect. One of the key points to know when planning a wedding is that something will ALWAYS go wrong. It’s just how it is. But the important thing is how you react to it. So as long as our guests had a good time (which they did), and as long as we were married once the day was over (which we were), that’s all that mattered.
Because this piece of advice was so useful to me, I’ve carried it with me during other extremely stressful times, like during my first pregnancy. And, mind you, that pregnancy was easy. So easy. Like almost text book normal. (Almost. Because like weddings, something always is a little different from what you expect during pregnancy.) But it was so new to me that it freaked me out. Remembering how many millions of women before me have given birth kept me grounded and sane.
And now, on pregnancy number two, when we’ve now learned we are having a son after having a daughter, I have been anxious and paranoid and nervous for the last week about how to raise a son, or rather how to raise him “properly,” and I keep thinking about how we’ve raised our daughter rather successfully over the last two years but about how different a boy will be. I have to remember my handfuls of friends who had a daughter first and then a son, and somehow they’ve managed. Somehow the world keeps turning. And somehow we, too, will make it through with a new understanding of a beautiful tiny little human because we are not the first to have two children of different genders.
I am not the first.
It’s comforting in a way. I’m not forging any new pathways. I’m following deep entrenched roadways. In my own way, but still following. There are still those before me who can give me advice and love and support. And they will. No doubt about that.
I am not the first.