I haven’t written my blog in quite some time. I am far from retired.
I’ve just been really busy.
Between adjusting to a “new normal” and planning a wedding during a pandemic, I really haven’t had time for much more.
Yes, you heard right.
I got married during a pandemic.
A little over four weeks ago my fiancé and I got married in our backyard in a 30-person, family-only wedding with every precaution taken to keep everyone COVID safe.
And while the wedding was certainly different from what we had originally planned, it actually turned out to be the perfect night and the best wedding I could ever ask for.
When I envisioned my wedding years earlier, I was so busy daydreaming about the dress and the flowers and all the decorations that it never dawned on me to think about what the world around us would look like.
It’s no secret that this micro wedding took place during a time of such discord in our world, in our country— during civil unrest, racism at an all-time high, political division, climate changes, hatred uprise, sickness and death.
During a time when mental health issues have skyrocketed, children are socially starved, political debates are more like dogfights and financial downfalls are happening all around us.
One might even ask, who are we to find joy during these bleakest of times — much less get married and actually be happy?
I was recently asked if I feel guilty having found such joy during this time.
My answer is no.
And the reason is …
We NEED to find joy — now more than ever.
Even if that joy is found within our own four walls under our own roofs, with our own families.
When in late May I received a call from the hotel I originally booked telling me that my wedding would have to be postponed until “possibly” the summer of ’21 or ‘22 (yes, they really said “possibly”) it became increasingly clear that postponing a joyful occasion with the man I love was not the answer for us.
After all, let’s face it. I’m not 25 years old and this isn’t my first wedding.
And the real question became not, “Why aren’t you waiting?” but more, “What are you waiting for?”
And that answer came rather quickly.
Quite frankly, there was nothing really making us wait except a virus that has forced everyone into a new way of life. But a new way of life doesn’t mean stopping the progression of life. It simply means finding a new way to live, find joy and celebrate during a very difficult time.
It started to dawn on me how easily joy is found during times of prosperity — but during hardships … well, that’s the real hard part and the factor that determines why some thrive and some don’t.
Suddenly, I’ve become very reflective of my past and all that it has taught me. And instead of pushing it away in order to just move forward, I’m starting to really embrace it and assess how I got to where I am today.
Fourteen years ago when I got divorced with three kids under 9, I thought my life had ended. With the panic of starting over, my thoughts were clouded with unspoken fears.
But I never fell to pieces. In fact, I became stronger with time.
I watched my friends and their “unbroken” families enjoy life as I struggled emotionally to keep mine together.
But I never felt broken, just temporarily wounded.
As a divorced woman, life became very different and it was clear early on that I needed to create my own happiness.
I started my Buddha Barbie blog as a means of creating a business for myself. But after amassing half a million readers, I was forced to sell the domain name after someone alerted a giant toy company of a possible trademark issue (which wasn’t true but nonetheless not worth the financial fight).
I was definitely bruised but stood up, dusted myself off and pivoted, winding up eventually with this, A Sample of Love.
In the years being divorced I learned some painful lessons about some “friends,” untruthful gossip and cinched my circle even tighter and went about my life.
Through all my ups and downs, I learned many years ago that I can’t live life based on how I feel.
I had to live life on how I think.
And even more powerful is that I learned I can’t live my life based on what others think about me, but about how I think of myself.
So, you might ask, how are all these things connected?
They are connected by the coping mechanism that I have never been scarce on: resilience. Resilience is this silent little friend that comes out when sh*t is going bad. It’s my greatest strength and it has taught me that when the chips are down to rise even higher.
And believe me, I have had more chips down than a supermarket shelf of Lay’s fallen to the ground.
That’s okay, because that’s what got me to where and who I am today. I am sure many of you can say the same thing about your own travails and disappointments.
So, getting married during this pandemic was not just poetic justice but more of a show of how a concentrated effort to find happiness through the toughest of times has really helped me through life.
That ability to find joy hasn’t always kept me from falling but it’s sure helped to soften my landings.
It would have been disastrous to end up at age 75 realizing that I could have been much more content throughout my life if I’d just decided to be happy all along, despite my circumstances, despite the challenges, despite the lies and betrayals, despite all of it.
When we choose happiness, we are choosing life. Be happy today, right now.
Then, on a cloudy day when the sun finally comes out, you’ll already be shining.
Until next time,
Born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Karin has a BA in sociology, with a minor in psychology earning honors at Michigan State University. Along with certification in relationship coaching, Karin is an international blogger, past columnist and current contributing writer for SEEN Magazine. She is can be reached @[email protected].