Music Monday: Imperfect Choices

Nothing in life is perfect. Not our children. Not our jobs. Not even our “perfect moments.” At 50 years old, I found myself single and searching for something more in life. Something perfect. And, 8 years ago, I met him. 5 years ago, I became engaged to him. And, 3 years ago on May 24th, I married him. But, it’s not been perfect. We’ve made mistakes and we’ve learned. We’ve experienced joys and triumphs as well as defeats and solid disagreements.

Looking back over photos of our wedding day, I remember that even my most perfect day was not perfect. The caterer forgot my beautiful handmade cake stand. The live butterflies that were supposed to be fully awake and poetically fluttering out of the box carried by Tom’s granddaughter down the aisle ahead of me… were somehow still sleepy and decidedly not cooperative. Much of the carefully selected music I had chosen for every moment was never played because (I found out later) our MC couldn’t make the playlists work on my laptop and so he improvised and played what he could from memory. My hairdo didn’t last the night, and we weren’t allowed to use our firework sparklers because of the fire restriction at the resort.

As I gazed at the memories of that beautiful day, I contemplated the people we were then as well as who we have become together and as individuals through this experience and the choice we made. I know we have much yet to learn, but some important and useful lessons have already made us better.

I’ve learned that when we choose anything in life… a job, a home, or a partner… we choose it with all its parts. Good and bad, easy and hard. Embedded in every choice is an opportunity to get to know yourself better in relation to that choice. I realize now that every choice I’ve made on my journey so far has brought me immeasurable gifts, even if I didn’t experience them quite like that at the time. I’ve discovered that I don’t make any important choices- work, friendships, love-just once. We continue to make that choice over time. Every day, in fact. We choose again and again. Or not.

I’ve realized that we can’t possibly know what twists and turns are coming or what new information or knowledge will reveal itself, but if we did know in advance, we’d avoid the hardships and consequently lose the learning that comes with it. So, choosing and growing is better than not choosing and just playing it safe.

Thankfully, our love has deepened and been well-earned. My choice to marry Tom three years ago has brought more fun than pain, more joy than despair, more discovery than stagnation, and more laughter than tears… though all of it has been there. So far, my choice has been a pretty good bargain indeed. And so today, on this Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month), I selected our wedding song sung by Sara Bareilles, I Choose You. My favorite lyrics say what I knew then and what I know now…

“We are not perfect, we’ll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes, I will prove my love to you.
I am not scared of the elements, I am underprepared,
But I am willing, and even better,
I get to be the other half of you.”

This week, my encouragement for all of you is to be brave and make those choices that have the potential to move your life forward. Choose wisely but choose. Trust yourself to keep making the choices you’ll need to make in the future but don’t stay on the shore for fear of the storms that may or may not come. As John Burroughs said, “Leap, and the net will appear.”

Choose YOU.

“Let the bough break, let it come down crashing
Let the sun fade out to a dark sky
I can’t say I’d even notice it was absent
cause I could live by the light in your eyes
I’ll unfold before you
what I’ve strung together
The very first words of a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you

There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me that you could not come true
Just love’s illusion
But then you found me
And everything changed
And I believe in something again
My whole heart
Will be yours forever
This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you

We are not perfect we’ll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes, I will prove my love to you
I am not scared of the elements, I am underprepared,
But I am willing, and even better
I get to be the other half of you

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you,
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you
I choose you”