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From Her Fridays: Double Dutch

September 18, 2010
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Image: Corbis Images

Okay. It’s officially Saturday. My apologies.

This semester is going to be listed next to the definition of bananas soon. It’s my final semester in school and life is seeming more and more like double dutch every day.

I foolishly signed up for 18 credit hours to graduate in December. Two of those classes are the two upper-level public relations classes and are extremely project-intensive. I’m in another PR course that requires 36 hours of shadowing professionals throughout the semester, a.k.a. = bananas. My favorite class, by far, is magazine production…having a blast. My story is falling to pieces as the event I chose to write on is going down with it…and while it’s absorbing all of my time, I’m having a great time going down in flames. Lastly, environmental science, which is blowing my f*cking mind-hole and rubbing sandpaper all over my skin every day. Interestingly enough, this class doesn’t give you credit for all of the hours you spend feeling guilty over your environmental impact on the world.

I’m working three internships – all unpaid, and I’m PR director of my student organization. Hoping to take on a paying project in the next week or so, more on that later.

Isaiah and I are also trying to fit in something that resembles a normal relationship in that schedule and I like to see my family every once in a while.

My schedule is f*cking – * + u = bananas.

I am having a great semester, however, having a lot of fun and keeping busy. Maybe too much fun. I don’t want to drop any activities, but after graduation, where will I be? Joining the completely over-saturated PR market in Dallas, Texas?

I’ve always looked too far ahead. So far ahead – that sometimes I forget to enjoy the moment. I’m always planning and getting the next project rolling. I don’t want to spent the last semester of college thinking about the “next semester,” the next chapter…but, because of my unpaid intern status, graduation will be the double dutch act of focusing on school and continuously looking for a job this semester…preparing.

The wedding planning feels that way now. We don’t have jobs. We’re utterly unemployed and for far too long now. Our savings is starting to have that whole – “I’ll just take a sliver of pie and my mom won’t notice…Maybe just one more,” before-you-know-it-the-whole-pie-is-gone – effect. (Don’t pretend you haven’t done it).

We’re in that whole credit-cards-are-scouting-us and begging us to go into suicidal amounts of debt to “save us” from the impending doom of our financial woes phase. Should we be planning a wedding right now? How responsible is it to plan for a future while our present looks the way it does? It feels a little bit like putting money away religiously into savings when you have a huge credit card bill collecting interest.

Double dutch. Jumping in at the right time and being sure we don’t bust-face on the pavement from being too early, too late.

My mom is the ultimate voice of reason, urging us to wait until we have some options lined up to continue planning the wedding. Maybe I have too much faith in Isaiah and I, but we’re both young, able-bodied, intelligent and hard-working people. I am really not tooting our combined horns here, I just think it’s not ridiculous to think we could continue planning (a.k.a. start planning) on the basis that we will have jobs within the next year – our tentative date.

What do you think about the double dutch of life?

Were you in a great spot when you got engaged/started planning?

Any advice/consolation/ideas welcome…

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Alicia permalink
    September 18, 2010 1:12 am

    Oh man. Could I go on and on about this subject! For ever. Seriously. My fiance was in school when he proposed after 6 Looooong years! It never seemed like the right time until he got tired of my endless jokes/nags. During most of our planning stage we were unemployed. Now we are 4 months in to a brand new business, not making a ton of income. But still planning! I say go for it. Scale down if you need to. Readjust your expectations but get married, there is never a great time to spend thousands of dollars on a party in a downed economy. I believe in you! If that counts…

    • September 18, 2010 1:35 am

      alicia: this is warming my heart, you are so sweet. glad to hear we’re not the first pseudo-irresponsible/semi-impatient couple. what is your business?! if you revisit, i’m dying to know.
      i love your advice, and you are so sweet…it definitely counts. i’ll take the votes for yes anyway i can bribe ’em – i mean…get ’em.

  2. September 18, 2010 5:34 am

    lizzy- i’ve never felt much like a grown up or in any kind of responsible adult so far. we’ve never had a ton of money. we made it all work for under $10,000. as long as its you and isaiah it’ll be great. let me know anything you need. i am more than happy to send anything your way! things will get better but even when they do you’ll be happy with a scaled down wedding that you didn’t go into debt over. good luck with everything! you can always email me if you need anything too (orangeimpossible@yahoo.com)

    p.s. congrats for all your hard classwork right now! that will pay off!

    • September 18, 2010 2:34 pm

      lisa: thanks so much, we definitely do not want to go into debt over the wedding! i really appreciate your help and kindness! you are far too sweet!

  3. September 18, 2010 10:05 am

    Hey lizzie, I feel you, don’t put off your wedding planning because of those reasons, you never know what life will throw at you and a wedding is about your commitment to being together, not about whether there’s enough dollars to go around. A year before our wedding we were set, D was working, we had money in the bank, felt great about the future (at least we knew were were going to get through the next couple years) but then he lost his job, i was barely working with having just had baby L, and so we used that money to live on. Then took out a 5 grand credit line to pay for the wedding and instantly had to put 2,000 on it for car repairs for both of our cars! I cried cried cried, felt like a failure, didn’t know how we’d get through, etc, etc. In the end we had our wedding, we got some help from our families and made it. We did get behind a month on our mortgage the month after the wedding and we’re playing catch-up now.
    So, life goes on, things happen ~ enjoy wedding planning and celebrating and starting your new life together. Chin up lovey!

    • September 18, 2010 2:36 pm

      jasper: thanks so much for your sweet words! i completely agree – trying to rationalize the whole…we want to be together, no matter how much money we have thing against the other logic in my mind. i.e. my health insurance coverage stops the day i get married…we would love to be secure and what not because we’ve seen money problems rip apart couples in our families and everything…but maybe it’s crazy to think that isaiah and i are different than them, but i think it anyways.
      i’m really glad your wedding worked out marvelously despite all of the obstacles, and i really appreciate your advice!

  4. September 18, 2010 4:48 pm

    Life always seems to have something to throw your way. It may be positive, it may be negative. You really never know until it is upon you. I wouldn’t postpone your wedding plans. I would keep going forward and adjust as you need to along the way. Keep positive and believe that you both will have those paying jobs and be doing great when the time comes.

    • September 19, 2010 8:07 pm

      thanks so much, melissa…we’re figuring it out a step at a time…I really appreciate your perspective!

  5. September 19, 2010 4:50 pm

    Wow, that is huge load you’ve taken on. It makes my last semester look like a joke.

    I remember when I first got engaged, a number of ladies over at APW urged us that a court house wedding with a big five year reunion for friends might be the better way to go for us because we were so broke. Unfortunately that wouldn’t have worked for us, because family would have been mortally offended if we took that route. Instead we decided to make it a long engagement and hopefully save up enough to have a moderate wedding.

    You have to do what’s best for you guys though. Our plan is not “perfect” for us, but no plan ever was going to be (unless some generous benefactor came out of the woodwork with unlimited monies with no strings attached — ha!). So we choose what would work best for our circumstances.

    • September 19, 2010 8:09 pm

      definitely. everyone’s plan has gotta be different. isaiah and i have been through having great, salaried jobs together to neither of us being employed for a long time, and we’ve done well…we don’t need money to make a commitment or anything, just seems like that phrase your parents say all the time: “Setting yourself up for success” is kicking in now. you know? thanks for your side!

  6. September 22, 2010 2:52 pm

    Lizzie,

    Michael & I are in the same boat…this past year has been TOUGH for us (and we had too many wedding details finalized before they became tough, so we couldn’t push the date back). That pie metaphor is pretty accurate when you’re talking about our currently non-existent savings account…but I’m finding that there are always ways to fit things into your budget, and we’re all young, so we have tons of time to make money, right? I wouldn’t push back your date, I would just work to make sure you keep things within your current budget. At first, I wanted my huge, dream wedding, but lately I’m finding it easier to let myself cut things. After all, is anyone really going to remember the color of my linens? Probably not…

  7. September 30, 2010 11:16 am

    We’ve never been in a good position, financially speaking, but our wedding and honeymoon last month really tipped us over the edge.

    The big ticket wedding items – food and drink, venue, flowers and photography were very kindly taken care of by our parents, but it was all those little things that just wound up costing a fortune. No individual item was actually that indulgent, and we made whatever we could, but we had fallen into the ridiculous habit of mistaking good value for being able to afford something. Big lesson – it doesn’t matter if something worth £100 is reduced to £1 – if you don’t have £1, you can’t afford it. I know it sounds obvious, but we’ve been in a horrible world of credit card denial.

    Then there was the honeymoon. Wow. Road trips are not cheap, especially when every item on our honeymoon activity gift list came with an “oh by the way – it’s customary to tip me if you’re happy with the flight/tour/boat trip”. Seriously?

    Oh, and the fact that I got made redundant from my contract job a week before the wedding really sucked.

    So… I am in no way a source of wisdom. We’re living on a whole lot of noodles and beans at the moment, and next year’s holiday has been cancelled. But, we had the most amazing day, our families and friends all had fun, and I’m only planning to do it once. I feel a bit of a fool for it all, but given the chance, I’d probably do it all again.

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