Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Go the Distance...kind of like Hercules.

My first and only (minor) issue with my own choice of title is that it *ought* to have been Heracles since every other character in that movie was given their original Greek names. However, that aside aside, the real point is that the next few months are most definitely a marathon and not a sprint.

Being back in classes after Christmas break is nice. It's never nice to start off with just because - at least for me - it's quite a pain to get back into a routine that's been so long left behind. However, once the painful breaking-in period has passed, it's nice to have a reason to get up and out of bed before 10.30 again. Of course, even without school, I'm sure I could be prompted to become an early riser just because of the jackhammering construction workers in the art gallery next door. These guys have been ripping out and widening door frames, adding stairs, and generally being a confounded nuisance for the past week now. I admit that 8.30 in the morning is nowhere near being considered an unholy hour at which to rise, but who *really* needs to be jackhammering at 8.30 in the morning? Aren't there quieter things you could be doing that don't involve the violent, motor-enhanced pounding of concrete into dust just outside of my single-pane windows? And whilst on the subject, isn't it possible that the security alarm *does't* need to sound for a full hour in the morning when I'm leaving for class? Just maybe?

Aside from the papers and projects all looming ominously ahead, there is another monster grappling for my time and attention like my niece when she realised I could play her favourite TV shows on my computer. (How many times have *you* listened to the Backyardigans theme song in a row?) Yet, this monster doesn't lurk under a bed or in a darkened closet. Instead of an awesome maw of jagged fangs it smiles at you perkily with straight, even, white teeth...like a Stepford Wife. It plies you with sundry distractions from work like a stranger with candy, promising a few hours of self-centred release. What is this monster? Wedding Planning.

My first disclaimer is that I really do enjoy a lot of the process of planning my wedding. That said, it is indeed a mythical monster - like the Hydra, to return to my Heracles parallel - from whence, each time a head is severed, or a task completed, another 3 heads or tasks spring up in its place. No sooner has the photographer been booked then a menu must be decided on, invitations must be constructed, and bridesmaids' dresses must be found. That last has proved a continual thorn in the side, but perhaps some real progress is on the horizon. It is because of this phenomenon that all of our New Year's goals are really only 6-month goals. The wedding is a big enough milestone that requires so much prior work that aside from finding a place to live and buying furniture, (oh yeah, and choosing a dissertation topic!) it's not really worth trying to plan beyond that at this point.

The real key is to have a plan of attack (known under its other name of a wedding planning timeline) drawn up in advance. Know when which tasks must be done, and when they have to be started. Figure out how much time they realistically take and how much time can be devoted to them around your normal schedule. It seems like quite a common-sense thing to say, but it's so easy to let it slip. The other common-sense suggestion is to delegate. If you can regain your sanity long enough to sift through the hundreds of repeats of the question, "Is there anything I can help with?", it's worth making a list. That way, when people who can't be specific proffer their time and talents, you can unequivocally say what there is that you simply can't do yourself.

All of this said, it should be no surprise that to my mind, the best part about wedding planning is *not* planning the wedding. Paradoxically, it's doing the planning for everything else that's enjoyable. Part of wedding planning has to be married-life-planning. Choosing a place to live, buying furniture, putting said furniture together (since you're 20-something newlyweds and IKEA offers the best value for your very little money), getting and using new dishes and kitchen appliances, merging finances, combining DVD collections, and doing all the things that mean your life will now always have company. It's absolutely brilliant. Even when those lists of things involve having conversations about building giant hamster balls for your as-yet-unborn children to wheel around the house in - thus avoiding the necessity for baby gates on the stairs. And yes - that example was taken from life. :-) All that is left now is to master the Hydra of Wedding Planning so that the rest of the 12 Labours can commence. Appropriately, Heracles had help defeating that Hydra from Iolaos. As in my metaphor, this is definitely a two-person job...with all the benefits of two-person rewards.


  1. Feels like *ages* since I've seen that movie in it's entirety.

  2. Once upon a time I knew every word of every song in that film. No, I'm not ashamed...

  3. Yeah we'll actually have to sit down and watch the whole thing sometime to correct that.

    And Rachel: no worries, I still know *all* the words to Aladdin...not just the songs. :-)