What was the best day of your life so far? If you can answer that question, then I prescribe a sabbatical immediately.
Go, take a year off and do something interesting. Date an Italian waiter. Skydive from a plane with questionable safety standards. Learn to surf in Bali. Take a year to travel, explore, party, dance and drink till the sun comes up on the vibrant streets of Barcelona.
Why? Because here's a little truth for you: If you can immediately say what the best day of your life was, you haven't lived enough.
It's not your fault. As a society, we're conditioned to pile a heap of pressure upon certain key days and label them as “the best” ones of our life.
They generally fall into the following categories, depending on your stage of life and level of maturity: graduation; your wedding day; the day you met your partner; the day you got promoted and; becoming a parent.
They tend not to stray from these categories because people feel guilty if they don't serve up one of these expected answers. But you know what? The average American lives for 78.8 years. That's 28,713 days. Don't you think that's rather a lot to have to filter, assess and pick just one?
Sipping margaritas in a hammock in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. That was a pretty good day. Swimming naked under the stars in Punta del Diablo, that was another. Catching my first wave surfing in a small village in Northern Peru.
I could go on, but you get the point. Good days? I've had a fair few. Best days? Too many to mention. And here's the thing you're not supposed to say – my wedding day was not one of them. So, if you're pinning all your hopes on the big day, here's a little word of warning:
1. You don't have time to plan it.
Maybe you're lucky enough to have an overbearing mom and a well-healed dad. Maybe you have six best friends to rally around you as bridesmaids, who will actually take time out of their busy schedules to help with critical tasks -- like tasting cake.
But probably, unless your life is like a bad romance movie, you and your friends are busy doing other things. It takes a hell of a lot of time to plan a wedding. And a huge wad of cash to hire a wedding planner.
So, if you're stretched for budget and short on time, that's a whole heap of pressure to pile upon yourself. And don't expect your bestie to miss a weekend away with her partner or an important meeting at work to help you choose flower and tablecloth combinations. Not gonna happen, tbh.
2. You don't care about flowers anyway.
Nothing like a wedding to give a girl a lobotomy. Okay, so you may be a closet horticulturalist or a girly girl who loves chattering about color combinations and hairstyles. But, if you're a normal person who's busy working, studying, or otherwise engaged, you probably know nothing about flowers -- and you probably don't really care, either.
But as the big day approaches, expect to get calls at inconvenient times asking for answers to insanely banal questions. What color shoes are your ring bearers wearing? Do you want matching napkins or a contrasting theme? Do you want lilies, peonies or hydrangeas? Um, help!
3. You won't have everyone there you care about.
Having spent my life as a roaming nomad, I was pretty clear that I'd never have all the people I wanted at my wedding. That's why I fantasized about getting married on a beach at sunset. No fuss, no pressure, just a couple of close friends, maybe the parents.
But I married into a large Italian family with a lot of expectations and a million-and-one demands. Not only did I not get my beach wedding, but all my inseparable buddies I had picked up along the way couldn't make it on that date. Watch as the definite “yeses” and most gung-ho of your wedding invites drop off the list like flies.
4. It might rain on your parade.
Chosen a beautiful outdoor setting, with a picturesque white painted bridge and stream trickling beneath? Maybe with the backdrop of a lake and an elegant gazebo? Lovely. But what happens if it rains?
Already coerced into getting married in a way I didn't want to in a land far away, my wedding day was so bad it was almost comical. Or biblical. Maybe both. As the black clouds gathered overhead and hurricane-grade winds swept the gazebo into the sky like a paper bag, my outdoor wedding plans quickly dissipated.
As the guests ran for cover escaping the falling debris and hailstones, hairdos ruined and clothes drenched, that was the moment I noticed the indoor salon resembled a public gymnasium. Sparsely decorated and desperately in need of a facelift, it suddenly hit that flowers have an important function after all.
5. You might get pregnant.
All the excitement building up to the wedding (or rather nerves and stress) may cause you to get forgetful about taking pills or tracking dates. Maybe you always wanted to have a baby, perhaps that's your plan anyway. But, trust me, try to avoid getting married while you're pregnant.
When the priest shows up an hour late, your hair gets dismantled by inclement weather and you're moping over the absences of certain people, a drink or two would come in handy.
6. The expense overshadows the event.
Whether it's your dad raising his eyebrows every time he gets a bill, or the wedding list that keeps growing in size, while your savings account shrinks, you may start worrying about how to pay for it all.
You'll also start resenting the accumulation of extra guests and people you've never even seen. They have a habit of coming out of the woodwork like lice. Remember that it should be about the marriage and not the wedding. Don't spend so much that your next few years are spent eating ramen. If you're not sure whether you need jugglers/flame throwers/opera singing waiters, you probably don't.
7. You resent people you don't know stealing the spotlight.
If it wasn't bad enough having to pay for people you don't know, now you have to put up with them stealing the spotlight. Who turns up to a wedding wearing a white dress anyway? Whose cousin is that? If you're not the bride, you're not in white. Least of all, tight-fitted white that perfectly hugs your curves.
And who the hell is that singing raucously and falling over on the dance floor? Guests invited by anyone other than the bride or groom should be seen and not heard. And bring nice thank you gifts.
8. You might not look your best.
Every bride is beautiful on her wedding day (or some crap like that). But, if you're a little over-demanding, you might not like the end result. In fact, you'll almost certainly be disappointed with what you see in the mirror.
Bags under the eyes, zits, a hairdo that looks like a Disney princess's poodle has made a home in your head. And what on Earth were you thinking during those multiple dress fittings when you should have noticed how ugly the fabric was?
Ignore me, you're going to be radiant, right? Maybe your boss will give you time off to prepare, take a spa day and go on a bachelorette vacation.
Oh wait, you live in the real world. You'll probably be working right up until the last minute. Nothing like a healthy dose of stress and poor diet to do wonders for a girl's skin.
9. You realize that sipping margaritas in Mexico was better.
Hopefully, you're a smart cookie and marry the guy you want in the way you want and everything will be perfect. But even if it all goes according to plan, it's okay if your wedding day isn't the best one of your life. You can keep your secret safe with me.
You may just realize that getting buzzed in the tropics was actually more fun. The good news? You've still got thousands of days left to build better memories upon. Make it a promise to yourself to make each one count. In fact, don't count them at all. Buck the trend. It's a pretty sad tale if you can only highlight one in nearly 30,000 days.