love

A Shout Out To My Parents – 30 Years of Love

My parents recently celebrated their 30 year wedding anniversary. While divorce rates may be dropping, 30 years is still pretty impressive. The thing that makes my parents’ anniversary even more impressive is that not only have they gotten through 30 years of marriage, they’ve done it with a whole lotta love and happiness.

mum and dad wedding
After 30 years together, they still can’t go a night without talking to each other. They still have date nights. They are still very much in love.

Their relationship is one that makes me believe that ‘till death do us part’ does exist. Their relationship has also taught me a thing or two about what it takes to make a marriage work, because as much as you might love someone, there’s a lot more to it than that.

So, here’s what I’ve learnt from my parent’s shining example of 30 years together;

  1. Marry someone who amazes you
    My dad genuinely believes that my mum is the smartest women he’s ever met. If you asked him, he would gloat about her intelligence in a heart-warming way that only someone who is truly amazed by their partner could gloat. Whether it’s their intelligence, humour, skills, kind-heartedness, or something else entirely, being amazed by your partner seems to make you a lot happier to be around them, day in, day out, for the rest of your lives.
  2. You need to plan time together
    After 30 years, 3 kids and both of them working, my parents prove it’s not only important but very possible to still make time for each other. They exercise together every week, go for beach walks, have movie nights, head out dinner or even out dancing and I believe that making time just for each other has been an important part of their long lasting marriage.
  3. You need to plan time apart
    On the other hand, they also plan separate holidays – my mum goes on girls’ weekend getaways, my dad goes on boys’ golf trips and they each have their own, separate hobbies. This has also taught me that keeping your own identity and giving your partner space means you’re likely to be even happier to see one another when you come back together.
  4. Sometimes love means agreeing to do it their way
    During any relationship there will be times you disagree with your partner’s way of doing things. Sometimes these are big things (raising children) and sometimes they are little things (how to cook chicken). If you know your partner really cares about how to cook chicken and you only kind of care, bow down and tell them you think their way is a good idea. From what I’ve seen, it makes everyone’s lives easier.
  5. It’s all about offering to make a cup of coffee
    Big romantic gestures are nice, but my parents prove that it’s the small gestures that really count. Every morning my mum offers to make my dad a cup of coffee and every night he offers to make her a cup of tea. These ridiculously simple gestures show you are thinking about the other person and offering to do something that will make their lives that little bit sweeter.

Finally, I’d just like to give a big shout out to my parents, for they are the reason I continue to believe in love.

The Good in Goodbye

Today I’m driving my bestfriend to the airport and out of my everyday life. I can’t begin to imagine how I’m meant to get through life without her. She has been one of the very few constant things keeping me sane & incredibly happy over the last 10 years. To wake up tomorrow knowing her beautiful face isn’t just around the corner is going to be a harsh reality. I’ve never particularly felt like I’ve had my heart broken, but at the moment I feel like I’ve lost part of it. Of course she will always be there, a phone call away, as that is what true friendship is. But it still feels like I’m losing a limb. The great thing about a true bestfriend, someone you love unconditionally, is that their happiness is often key to your happiness. With that in mind, I couldn’t be happier that she is moving away to look after herself and put her happiness first. I hope more than anything in the entire world that she finds it. Because if her world is happy, my world is happy. And then our worlds are one step closer together. Distance is nothing in the face of true love. And while I don’t believe in soulmates, if I had to choose one, I’d choose her.

You Had Me At Goodbye

There are some people you meet in life who are different from the rest, they are special, worth holding on to. We pluck them out of the 7 billion other people on the planet and call them friends. Some are better than others, some are the best. If you are true friends, then one of the most important things to you becomes their happiness.

That’s not to say it won’t absolutely suck if their happiness involves moving away from you.

I’ve recently had a friend move to the other side of the country. Another one, who has been the best friend for over 10 years, is mere months from moving to the other side of the world. I am incredibly proud and happy for them to be taking control of their lives, not worrying what anyone else thinks but doing exactly what they want and putting their happiness first. That said, I’d also like to take a moment to be selfish because, for me, it also absolutely sucks. I am losing two of the best girls I know from my everyday life. While it’s easier than ever to keep in touch across countries these days, there is only so far a message, skype or phone call can go before you realise that nothing can replace a real life hug, chats over dinner or girls night antics.

There are some people you meet in life who you know are going to stay in it, regardless of distance or timezone. They say real friendships aren’t about seeing each other every day, but not seeing each other and nothing changes. I am going to miss these girls so much it’s going to hurt. When I stop and think about it, I’m not sure how I’m going to live without them. But I know, no matter where we are, they will always mean just as much to me, we will always have this friendship and their happiness will always be one of the most important things to me. I love them both, and love knows no boundaries.

winnie the pooh

Great Girls and Mean Men

There is a lady in my life I’ve always had a bit of a crush on (okay, there’s more than one but I’m only here to talk about one for now). She started off as the friend of a friend. She was one of those girls I instantly liked, before I even knew her. One of those girls I Facebook stalked constantly, thinking how gorgeous she looked in all her photos. As it turns out, she’s a total babe in real life, too.

Now that I’m actually friends with her (it’s so much easier to stalk someone once they’ve accepted your friend request) I’ve learnt that even people you think are amazing will have doubts about themselves. Hearing truly amazing girls doubt themselves is always disheartening. Knowing it’s because someone else has made them think that way is sickening.

You see, my friend is struggling to let go of a relationship, something almost everyone can relate to. The problem? This is a relationship that has done nothing for her confidence except bring it down. This is a girl who is worth so much more than she is being told. And the worst part is that the longer someone tells you that you aren’t good enough, eventually you start to believe it.

The irony is that my friend is painfully aware of how bad this boy (not worthy of the title ‘man’) is. She knows he is deceitful, rude, selfish. Unfortunately, it is easy to overlook the bad parts once you’ve fallen in love with someone and it is hard to let them go. It is hard to get out of the habit of talking to them every day. It is hard letting go of a relationship when it feels like giving up, when it feels like failing.

But sometimes, giving up on someone doesn’t mean you are failing and it certainly doesn’t mean you have failed as a girlfriend. It simply means you are giving up on being disappointed, frustrated, upset or annoyed.  You’re giving up the part of your life that was bringing you down.

So to her, or anyone struggling to let go of a relationship that you know isn’t good for you, the self doubt has to go. You are stunning, smart and talented. You have achieved great things (in her case, among others, raising 2 beautiful little girls) and will continue to do so. You are a total babe and ‘total babe’ is a trait everyone loves. Anytime you doubt this, just come back here and remind yourself of how truly awesome you are. After all, if you don’t love yourself, how will anyone else? The key to future happiness in relationships is to start by being happy with yourself. The key to being happy with yourself is to let go of all the things that are making you unhappy – ungrateful, no good ex boyfriends included.

Yes, it can feel close to impossible to get over someone you dedicated your life to for some length of time. But when that person is lowering your self-worth, stressing you out and making you cry more than they make you smile, it’s time to kick them to curb and never look back. And if that’s too hard to do on your own? Gather your friends and ask them to skip with you along that footpath, smiling and laughing and yelling at you if your head even slightly turns to look around, until you’re able to do it on your own. And remember; don’t be afraid that you won’t find someone to settle down with one day, be afraid that thoughts like that might lead you to settle for less than you’re worth – because that would be the real tragedy.

Soul. Mate.

The idea that there is one person out there who will love you more, love you better, and love you longer than anyone else. The idea that this one person will complete you. A nice idea, in theory. In reality? That’s one person out of the 6,973,738,433 people in the world you’re meant to find to become your ‘other half’. As if, without them, you are not a whole person. If you chose to believe that sort of thing, of course.

I don’t.

I don’t believe that there is one person who was made for you. I concede that, naturally, there are people who are better suited to you. Everyone has experienced this, when you meet someone and find yourself comfortable around them from the beginning. These are generally the people you call bestfriends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives. But to be made for someone is pre-determined. As if, from birth, you were meant to become attached to this person and this person only. If there’s only one person who’s right for you, that leaves a lot who are wrong.

So, if you fall in love and it ends, then you fall in love again and it lasts, does this mean that the first time it wasn’t ‘real’? Perhaps, or perhaps it was just different. I believe we are meant to fall in love over and over again. In every way possible. Just because the relationship doesn’t last, doesn’t mean it wasn’t love. Many factors come in to tear apart a relationship, but that doesn’t make them any less full of love.

I also believe that, given time, you can fall in love with anyone. If you stay with someone long enough then there are good things there, things you like about them, otherwise why else would you stay? And the more time you spend together the more you will care about them. Those things you like about them will turn into things you love about them. Those feelings will turn into love.

The problem with ‘soulmates’ is that it makes the concept of living with one person for the rest of your life seem like it should be easy. If they are your soulmate, you will agree on things, you will understand each other all the time, there won’t be any upsets. People worry that if this isn’t the case, maybe you weren’t meant to be. Maybe you weren’t. But maybe, just maybe, loving someone for the rest of your life actually takes a bit of work. Maybe you need to put in effort, take time to listen and learn that people see things in different ways, no matter how compatible you are.

The idea of a soulmate can set you up with false expectations and great disappointment. Love can be hard to find sometimes, without this added pressure. If you really need to find one to feel as though your life is complete, look to your bestfriend instead. If that person is also your lover, work hard to hold onto them forever.