It was a sunny day at the end of May, 2015. The water glinted in the sunlight behind the arbor and rows of white chairs as the piano and string notes of Sleeping At Last’s, “Turning Page,” floated on the light breeze that spun the aqua and periwinkle pinwheels lining the aisle. Smiling bridesmaids descended the stairs from the upper deck down to the crisp clipped grass below. The song crescendoed into the lyrics of the chorus, expertly spliced together with the instrumental verses and chosen for their language…
Your love is my turning page
Where only the sweetest words remain
Every kiss is a cursive line
Every touch is a redefining phrase…
As they began, I took the first step forward into a future with my husband. Before our friends and family, we exchanged the vows we wrote ourselves.
My husband’s: Because of you, Christine, I smile and laugh more than I ever have before. We’ve built up relationships with friends – old and new. We’ve thrown some (what I can only assume were) great parties. We’ve traveled coast-to-coast, met some strange characters (some are here), made good and sometimes questionable choices, and had some fantastic beers along the way. You’ve turned my house into our home and filled it with happiness I could have never imagined. I can no longer fathom my life without you in it, without our little adventures, or the general silliness that is our typical day.
I promise to love you always, to make time for us no matter how crazy our schedules get, to always lift you up when you’re feeling down, to work hard for the things we both want, to keep an open mind and not miss chances to try new things, and to always look forward while making the most of every day we have together for the rest of our lives.
And mine: Babe, The past three and a half years have been mostly amazing with our share of bumps in between. But if I didn’t honestly believe with all of me that you loved me completely, we wouldn’t be here today. And I love you completely, too. I love the way you hold me tucked into your side at night and in the mornings when we can sneak a few minutes. I love how that few minutes often turns into a couple of hours on weekends before we finally climb out of bed. I love your silly dances around the kitchen when I am the only one watching and your warm skin against my cold toes and fingers in the winter. I’ve even grown to love our scenic drives resulting from your absent-mindedly missing the exit.
Because I love you, I promise to swiggle you at night and kiss you goodbye every morning. I promise to fill our lives with silliness and adventure, to communicate with you fully and fearlessly, and to share the quest for the perfect craft beer or the next great song. I promise to support our dreams for ourselves and our future together, to wear my sassy-pants when the mood calls for it, and to keep the spark sparking and the zing zinging.
I believe in you and in us – that we are better together than apart. I believe we have found our one great love in this lifetime, and I know that I only want to share that lifetime with you. And your Fiero. I super hot lava you.
I loved how real, and unique, and specific our vows were. I felt thoroughly impressed by my husband who is not a writer by trade nor practice but who has a creative soul, and I gladly joined my life to him that day and every day since.
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But just as we make vows to others, it is equally important to make vows to ourselves. And, more importantly, to keep them.
Recently, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, where she writes about taking vows to be a writer when she was 16, and I felt inspired by the idea. As part of my journey to nurture self-love and acceptance this year, I’ve decided to write my own vows to myself. These take into account that journey and encompass both my strengths, such as my love for writing, creativity, and passion, and my weaknesses, like my tendencies to allow weather to define and confine my days during semester breaks or binge-watching too much Netflix.
My vows are these:
I vow to step outside every day, whether it be just for a breath or an hour or an afternoon.
I vow to be myself truly and fully, not worrying about what others think of me.
I vow to end each year a better, fuller person than I was when I started it.
I vow to make more time in my life for writing and reading, and to follow those passions where they lead me.
I vow to live my life more creatively, perceptively, and with more compassion.
I vow to listen to my body, my heart, and my intuition and to act upon where they guide me.
I vow to cultivate the relationships in my life more fully and spend more of it in Kairos time.
I vow to spend less time on the couch and more time taking risks and reaching for dreams.
Finally, I vow to be a more active participant in the world around me, making it better one opportunity at a time.
These vows are specific and personal, as they should be, but I hope they create a spark of inspiration in others, too, just as the ones in Big Magic did for me. It is important to take stock of our lives, renew our relationships with ourselves, and hold ourselves accountable to be more authentically us. #ThisYearThisMe
Tell me, what do you vow to do?