“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.” ~Tony Robbins
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
The sound of my fiancé’s alarm went off at 5:00 in the morning. I had fallen asleep around 2am after scrolling for hours on Instagram and Pinterest.
Frustrated, I rolled into my pillow as he leaned over to give me a kiss on the forehead.
Why does he always have to kiss me every morning when I’m tired.
Resentment is an odd feeling.
“Here we go again,” I thought to myself, “another boring Monday morning.”
Is this seriously what it’s like to be newly engaged?
What about all those photos of smiling Instagram models holding up their shiny rings to the camera? What about the studly men looking at their wives-to-be with doe-eyes and lens flares?
Why didn’t I feel like them? Surely the bliss of being engaged lasts longer than a month…
Let’s go back in time.
You’ll have a better time seeing what lead to this superfluous but powerful feeling of disappointment and bitterness.
We’ve Been Driving for Hours…
My boyfriend and I had been together for three and a half years, and I had just turned twenty-nine. We were driving hours to a little Airbnb Lakehouse we had booked for the long weekend.
“Surely this was it,” I had told my best friend earlier that week. “He’s definitely going to propose.”
My hopes were higher than the mountain we had plans to climb the following morning.
This was going to be the perfect weekend. We had skewers ready to throw on the grill, watermelon, and corn on the cob (my favorites), and three uninterrupted days all to ourselves.
I was so ready for this to be the best weekend of my life.
What Goes Up Must Come Down
We had shared a bottle of wine, ate a BBQ dinner, and spent the evening laughing and playing Scrabble. No sign of a ring just yet, but we still had fun.
The next morning, we had woken up early to do a difficult and strenuous hike up a beautiful mountain.
As we got to closer to the top, he told me he wanted to take a little detour from the trail.
“There’s something really cool over here,” he told me.
This. was. It.
Happily, I followed. We went off the main pathway, trailblazing our way passed tall grass and overgrown bushes. In the near distance, I could hear the sound of a waterfall crashing over the rocks below it.
How utterly romantic. This really is just perfect.
As we turned the corner and ducked under another low hanging tree branch, there it was, right in front of me.
A beautiful, behemoth of a waterfall that was roaring as louder than thunder. The deafening sound and the misty breeze on my face felt like magnets pulling my smile from ear to ear.
“This is awesome!!” I screamed over the roaring sound of the falls.
“Yeah, I told you this was cool,” he said.
While I loved him more than I ever had at this moment, the next words out of his mouth felt like he’d punched me right in the stomach.
“So,” he said… “Shall we head back?”
The Slow Burn of Forever
After that, I wasn’t able to have as much fun on the trip.
We went kayaking in the afternoon, had two nights of delicious beverages and food, and watched a beautiful sunset over the lake.
But I really just wanted to go back home.
While we were driving back, I was in the car and looked down at my nails. The fresh manicure I had got in celebration for the big day had chipped, right on the ring finger.
Destiny was laughing in my face.
After that, I thought the proposal day might come on other occasions, but it didn’t.
I had made a nightly ritual of scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest, looking at the perfect rings and the nail colors that would go well with them.
My Facebook page was filled with friends my age getting engaged at the end of summer, at Christmas, and even on New Year’s Eve.
No proposal came for me.
If only he would just do this already.
We’d been dating for four years… my thirtieth birthday had come and gone, and still… nothing.
All the anticipation of waiting for the happiest day of my life was getting to me.
I was depressed… and looking forward to a time when it would all be better.
As soon as I get my proposal and we’re engaged, then I can be happy.
That Monday Morning
Eventually, the proposal did come.
Even though I’d been building up resentment (due to the lack of proposal) for months, when the day came, I was completely overjoyed.
I looked at my ring every day reminding myself of how lucky I was to be with someone who I loved so much.
But then, about a month later, that Monday morning had rolled around. I had spent the evening scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram. What was I looking at?
Now that I had the engagement, my brain was onto the next thing.
There’s nothing less satisfying than achieving what you’ve always wanted.
Love Is “Boring”
When I look back at the memories we made at the lake house, I can’t help but remember the feelings of anger, frustration, and resentment that colored that weekend the wrong way.
That weekend was filled with bliss. I laughed with my best friend until the wee hours of the morning.
He took me to see a beautiful waterfall and then made me lunch with all my favorite foods before he took me kayaking—one of my favorite activities and then made my favorite dinner that evening.
I failed to realize that he did this on a regular vacation.
He wasn’t planning to pop the question, so his weekend plans had nothing to do with trying to go over the top for a special occasion. He was just doing all of this because he loved me.
He didn’t take me to a beautiful waterfall because he was looking for a photo-op to propose.
He took me there because he wanted to show me how cool it was.
The day I realized how selfish I had been, I cried.
I couldn’t believe that in chasing the feeling (or the appearance of love) so badly, I was missing the fact that it was right in front of me.
Love is safe.
Love is consistent and predictable—and sometimes when you feel the same feeling of comfort every single day, you can mistake this for feeling bored.
The comfort can trick your brain into thinking that you need more, even when you have everything.
With this mentality, a spectacular weekend suddenly felt boring, only because I was expecting to feel the euphoria that Instagram models were feeling in their photos.
When my proposal didn’t come, I pushed aside a weekend that truly would have been euphoria had I been in a healthier mindset.
The next day, I deleted my Instagram account. There’s nothing wrong with planning a beautiful wedding, but the planning could wait. I needed time to enjoy just being engaged to the love of my life.
Now, every morning when I hear his alarm, beeping at 5am, I lie there, waiting for the predictable morning kiss that I’ll feel on my forehead.
I feel this every day, every morning, and yeah, sometimes it feels boring, but it’s everything I need—and I’m okay with that.