I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, July 24, 2009

21 Up

Firstly, some housekeeping ... since I've not blogged in a while I'd better get that out of the way. My lack of blogging is mostly lack of good ideas, so if you want to hear about something specific, speak now by commenting below.

The Neighbour's Wife and The Baker's Wife have both returned to blogging. Go and give them some of your reading love.

Remember the whole mynah bird incident? I was sitting in our home office the other day when I heard a awful racket from the back of the house. Turns out one of the kamikaze birds came back for some more bubble wrap action! So first I ran around freaking out and screaming like a girl, and then I got a broom and shoo'ed his sorry ass out of the door. Seriously? What's with the bloody birds?!

And now back to our regularly scheduled (okay, getting BACK to regularly) blogging:

21 Up

This past week DH and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. Since I make a big ol' deal out of my birthday, you clever types should realise that I was married aged twenty one. Who the heck DOES that anymore? Surely only chicks who appear on Maury Povich, or several of the Duggars, or people for whom the condom snapped in two. Among my friends I was the first to get married - and more frighteninglyI am still one of the only ones married. At the time my friends were supportive but secretly I think they were wondering if I'd lost my cotton pickin' mind.

At the time, it seemed like a pretty logical (and totally fabulous) plan. After all- I knew I'd met the right person. What would be the point of hanging around just dating? It was the obvious choice, the right next step for me and DH's relationship. Part of this decision making was of course driven by DH's age, and by his insistence on living in Australia. I can't imagine my parents letting me move across the globe for just any old boyfriend. That said, marrying DH was so simple, so obvious, so totally RIGHT ... that even on my wedding day I wasn't nervous. I had no cold feet, no doubts, no second thoughts, no nothing other than, "Can we get a move on with this ceremony? I've got some dancing to do!"

12 years later I look back at my 21 year old self and I think, HOLY CRAP. How the heck was she so self-assured? How did she make such a life-altering decision? I find it truly hard to believe that I had the wherewithal to make that choice - but then here I am, 12 years later, and I still adore him and he adores me and we are sickeningly lovey dovey.

Originally I was going to post a list of advice I'd give my 21 year old self - things I wish I knew then, things which might (or might not) have helped shape my life choices. Instead, as my neices (who both read this blog) are heading in that teenage/young adults direction, I'm going to write a list of stuff I think THEY should know. Granted, being teenagers, they will roll their eyes and think I am dorky and ignore me... but hey, this is my blog and they can eye-roll in their own time.

So, A and H, this one's for you. Here's all (okay, ten things) of the stuff I wish I knew then:

1. When it comes to boys, trust your instincts. Sure, it's a lot easier when your family all love the guy and your friends think he's cool. Neither of those are reasons to stay with him if somewhere in the back of your mind is a little niggle of doubt.

2. When it comes to boys, trust your friends and family. They all hate him? Maybe wonder WHY that is before committing to anything.

3. Knowing how to put on make-up properly (and not look like a circus clown or someone who is trying too hard) is an essential skill even for fashion-backwards people like myself. Knowing how to do it while driving a car is stupid and foolish, but nonetheless totally useful (esp lipstick and mascara.)

4. Independence is a fabulous thing, but it doesn't magically appear. Take the time to learn some "boy" stuff - change a tire, change a fuse, inflate tires, shovel snow, kill spiders, construct stuff from IKEA.

5. Independence is a fabulous thing, but there is something really wonderful about having another person in your life with whom you do not need to appear independant. Sometimes having a stiff upper lip isn't all it's cracked up to be. It's totally fine to let someone know the real you.

6. Cultivate the friendships which are about giving and receiving. Learn early how to "cull" the friends who only suck the life blood out of you. Friends who are always negative, friends who are always needy, friends who only want your friendship because of what it gives THEM - turf them.

7. Make sure you put energy into friendships and not just 'relationships' - because girl friends are by far your best ally in the trials and tribulations of life. Even now I regularly go out with girl friends - either one on one or in a group, just for dinner or a girly laugh or a movie or whatever. I WORK at maintaining friendships. It's worth it. I know SO many women whose lives are "lost" to their husbands/partners...and outside of their home they have nobody left. Sometimes it's lonely as hell being a wife and a mother, and your friends are who will save you from that.

8. Learn to be financially aware. Know how to balance a check book, how to write a budget and live within your means, how to save effectively, and how to pay bills. Yes, we all hope you marry one of Bill Gates's kids - but in the event that doesn't happen (and anyway he's not Jewish so what would your grandparents say?) you need to learn to handle money. Don't be afraid of it, because it's the thing which will allow you a pair of Prada sunglasses when you need them most.

9. Learn to cook and bake - even if all you learn is a handful of basic dishes and a decent birthday cake recipe. Knowing how to cook opens up innumerable doors. You can impress potential boyfriends (and his parents), you can look after yourself properly if you're living alone, you can make friends and influence people. Knowing something about food and how to make it is an essential skill. (Hint: It's all about the salt, okay? Salt = flavour.)

10. Have a plan, but be prepared to change it. I think it's important that everyone have some sort of life plan on which to base their future choices. For some it will be specific: "By the time I am 25 I want to be living in Paris and working as a runway model for Karl Lagerfeld." for others it will be generic "By the time I'm 25 I'd like to be working in a job, married and with 2 kids." Either way, have some sort of idea of the direction you would like your life to take. Live a mindful life with that plan in the back of your mind, and make choices based on that plan or the pursuit of the goals within the plan. Then suppose life takes an unexpected turn. Learn to revise the plan. Point is, a life based solely in spontenaity will eventually result in the feeling that you didn't achieve a bunch of stuff you wanted to, mostly because you failed to plan for it. I'm not going to go all "The Secret" on you - but I will say that most things in life are possible when you have a clear idea on how to get them. You won't ever be a Parisian model if you're eating chips and sitting on the couch.

So there you have it, girls. Advice from a cake-baking, tree-hugging, ex-hippie, totally loud-mouthed and occasionally totally insane Aunt. Do with it what you will.

...and while I'm sure this isn't the anniversary post which DH had in mind, I remind him (almost daily) how lucky he is that I was clever enough to marry him. Not bad for a 21 year old.


DH said...

Amen to that!

Claire - Matching Pegs said...

Mr Matching Pegs and I got married when he was 21 and I was 23!

I do believe (in fact I remember) that I had a baby just before you - so he would have been the same age as you when we bought our offspring home.

We were the first (bar one) of our friends to get married and have kids - the friends that beat us now have 6!

I will never regret marrying "young", best decision ever. Like you guys, we were sure and we knew that life is short. I am also glad to have my kids a bit younger than most, and now we are done with the baby stage, while lots of our friends are starting.

The way I see it, we have just done things the way that was pretty standard for our parents generation.

As usual, great post Em

emzeegee & the hungry three said...


You're older than Mr? Woo Hoo, cradle robber (okay, maybe 2 years doesn't qualify you for cradle robbing...) You make a great point that we are doing what was right for the generation before ours. I must admit that while IVF sucked, it's one great thing was helping me to have my family young. I love being a young mum, love that when they are 18 I'll still be young (and stupid enough) to whisk DH away for a few months (years??) :)


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