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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

23. All part of the adventure

In a former life, with the valour youth afforded me and a head over-brimming with mantras to lend me Dutch courage, I charged through life with total abandonment.  Determined to succeed because failing was not a viable option.  I chartered my strategy, where every waking moment was planned and had a reason – a purpose.   My blueprint was set: work, save; work, save.  Even when I ‘played’, I multi-tasked by working at the same time, never taking time off for a holiday or stopping to ‘smell the roses’.  I simply did not have time.  And I probably would have continued charging through life that way were it not for Matt and the girls.

Being as single-minded as I was, I never understood why people took the indirect ‘route’.  If I wanted to know something, I went directly to the source and asked point blank.  Want to get somewhere?  ALWAYS via the quickest and most direct route.  Yes.  I was like a bull in a china shop.  And then, I met Matt.  Never in a hurry, and though he had a strong a work ethic, to someone as uptight and anal as I was, he seemed just a little too ‘chillaxed’ (ie chilled + relaxed, so yes, REALLY relaxed!).  His ‘style’ made me feel uncomfortable because it challenged my ‘system’. And yet, we ended up together.

While I was painfully direct, Matt was good at keeping his own counsel.  My endless lists and goals often seemed at-odds with Matt’s carefree approach to life.  The difference in our attitudes was especially highlighted in car journeys where (pre-Sat Nat days) we would invariably get lost and as I stressed about running late, Matt’s response was always: “Its all part of the adventure”.  To which I would bite back an irritated response because a microscopic part of me realised I needed to learn to go with the flow. 

Interestingly, a few years later, we were hopelessly lost (again!) and Matt was not in his usual fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants mood.  The downpour that seemed to follow us did not help -- AND he had forgotten his driving glasses.  I tried to cheer him up by saying, “Don’t worry sweetie, its all part of the adventure”.  His response?  “F*&% the adventure!”  I had to bite on my lower lip to not burst out laughing as this was SO unlike Matt!  Anyhow, we eventually found our way relatively unscathed but Matt now no longer offers up that maxim as consolation when I get stressed when things go awry. 

And yet, Matt was right all along.  To borrow a saying: “As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses because you only get to play one round”.  Especially as the days seem to zoom by so quickly, more than ever with three children, I needed to make time to just stop and ‘be’.  With my daily routine slowing down some since our move and my decision to not start a new business or go back to work in order to be more ‘available’ for Matt and the girls, I feel a ‘lightening’ and am seeing things a little differently. After all, if I don't invest the time now, how else are we to forge traditions that we will all come together for when the girls grow up?

Rushing from meeting to meeting is now a distant memory;  I am no longer driven to fill up my diary with to-do’s or to-see’s.  Time has made me much better at not saying “yes” to every invitation or ‘opportunity’, leading to less rush and stress.  Aware of how lucky we are to be able to have this time due to our current circumstances,  I am also painfully aware that this period of ‘Om’ may not last forever.  And so, I am making the most of it.  Enjoying the quiet and the calm. Savoring the relative tranquility that has come from making Matt and the girls a priority because it has also meant rediscovering things that actually make me happy like writing and playing the piano.

Meanwhile, you’ll find that after 16-something years together, whenever things don’t go exactly to plan, I find myself quoting Matt’s classic expression to our girls: “Don’t worry everyone, its ALL part of the adventure.”  To which my husband, whenever he is within earshot, will turn to me and smile his beautiful smile.


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