|9th May, 1992|
|9th May, 1992|
|Not exactly May 9th, 2012 but not all that long ago.|
On Wednesday May 9th, Andrew and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary. We let it slide past because we were in the middle of moving house. We did have a sit down breakfast at McDonalds and then took loads of old no-goods to the dump. That was our anniversary but I spent a bit of time reflecting on the twenty years that have passed since 1992. I don't feel old enough to have been married for twenty years until I remember that our oldest child is seventeen.
So I took a quiet moment or two to reflect on what I have done in this time. Basically, I had three children and wrote seven novels. Then I think back to how it might have been. We could have had a lot more money than we do. I'd started a GradDip in Education that year and sort of expected to be a High School English teacher. Andrew was the accountant at the Stirling District Hospital. His boss was nearing retirement age and mentioned that Andrew might have a good chance of being in line for his job as CEO if he was willing to do a part time Uni course to give him all the necessary skills.
Imagine if I'd been an English teacher and Andrew had been the Stirling Hospital CEO. We'd never run out of money. No days waiting for centrelink payments which tend to be just under what we need to get by. We'd be able to make impulse buys and go to interesting, exotic places for holidays. We might have had a house paid off by now. That's what might have been.
Instead of that scenario, neither of us enjoyed our courses and both decided to quit. I became a homeschooling mum and author of novels and he's been many things, the latest of which is a music student at Adelaide University. I was trying to figure out whether I ought to have regrets, and although there is room for a few, there are not many. A book with some great common-sense chapters I read recently reminded me that every decision we make has consequences which we need to accept.
If we're not willing to accept the effects brought about by our choices, we need to re-examine our options and try some other alternatives. If we find we don't want to choose different options, then we need to accept our circumstances. Am I happy renting, not being able to buy the kids great things whenever they fancy them and being unable to holiday in America or Europe? Well, I guess the answer is yes, if I get to keep on homeschooling and writing. Would I have been happy as an English teacher? I'm sure the answer is a definite "NO"
The book told me, "Many people feel secretly comfortable stuck at a dead end and stepping outside your comfort zone can be quite overwhelming. If you find yourself feeling this way, remind yourself that it's your life. You don't have to change it if you don't want to. But if you do decide to leave things as they are, then you must choose to accept your current situation. If you can say, 'I've considered other options and I'm going to accept this situation,' then your sense of contentment will increase."
So I sat back after twenty years of marriage taking this advice and found that it does work. I wouldn't have imagined this for myself back in 1992 when I was 22, but I've been happy with it. We've stayed true to our values and it seems those values have been focused around creativity and living each moment to the full rather than postponing desire gratification, working 9 to 5 days, paying off mortgages and marching to the beat of drums set by others.
Yes, it's been a good twenty years.