When my sister-in-law got engaged, she asked me if she should register for a stand mixer. I was baffled because she really isn’t a big fan of cooking anything, much less anything from scratch. When I asked her why she wanted one, she said that it was on every registry starter checklist that she had seen. Plus her best friend had registered for one.
I told her that I thought the mixer was just going to take up valuable real estate in her small kitchen and that, if she ever got the baking bug, she could save for one then. Or everybody could pitch in and get her one for her birthday or for Christmas. So, she decided to leave it off her registry, and she hasn’t regretted the decision once. And those springform pans she decided to leave on her registry are still collecting dust in her cabinets.
I think my sister-in-law was tempted to add the stand mixer because, in the midst of all the many decisions she was making in preparation of her wedding day, it was so much easier to simply follow a registry checklist than to think about what she and her fiancé truly wanted.
But I also think that sometimes people register for items because they have these fantasy versions of themselves. Maybe you never bake now, but the fantasy version of yourself would have freshly baked cookies for your family every night after dinner. Or you register for fine china because your fantasy self is going to host elegant dinner parties every weekend once you’re married…even though you’ve never hosted anything other than a take-out pizza party.
And I don’t mean to imply that stretching to create a fantasy self is a bad idea. But the key is knowing whether the fantasy self you have in mind would actually make you happier. On their podcast Happier, Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, often talk about how they have to stop themselves and try to discern whether they want something because they actually want it or whether they just wish they were the type of person who wanted such a thing.
So, for example, Liz declared one year that this was the year that she was going to learn how to make soups. She was going to make soup all the time for herself and for her family. She went on about it so much that one of her friends got her a big soup cookbook as a gift. And, as soon as she had it in her hands, she realized that she didn’t really want to make soup. She just wished she were the kind of person who enjoyed making a pot of homemade soup.
Through her happiness research and projects, Gretchen has come to the conclusion that the first happiness commandment is to be yourself. So when she wishes that she liked music more, she reminds herself to “Be Gretchen” and pursue the interests that she actually likes. Being Liz means that, rather than spend time reading recipes and chopping vegetables, she really should spend her time eating out, writing, and catching up with reality television.
So go ahead and create the registry that will launch your fantasy life. But make sure that it’s the fantasy life that would make you and your partner happy…not the fantasy life laid out by a standard registry checklist or by your best friend or by the advertising companies.
Unlike other registries, SoKind is totally customizable, so you can be as quirky and authentic as you would like. Amanda and Asher, for example, love learning together, so, on their SoKind Registry, they’ve requested glass blowing, cooking, surfing, singing, piano, pottery, and welding lessons. Mark and Lorelei, both parents being intentional about smoothly blending their families together, registered for a “Movie night for us + the kid of our choice.” Adrienne added a “Get Adrienne out of the Doghouse” request on her wedding registry. Her fiancé was a professional chef, and she had ruined one of his pots. So she requested a replacement (new or used). They had a lot of fun waiting to see who would take pity on Adrienne.
Rather than another item that needs to be checked off your long to-do list, creating a registry can be a fun opportunity to dream together about the kind of life you actually want to create together. Take the time to think about what matters most to you and your partner. If it’s music, register for concert tickets, lessons, or iTunes gift cards. If you want to spend more time with friends, register for double dates. And, if you actually love to bake and have always dreamed of a stand mixer, go ahead and put it on there as well. Someone who has a secondhand mixer that they received as a wedding gift would probably be very happy to pass it on to you!
For more information and/or if you’d like to sign-up for your So Kind Registry today, visit their site HERE.