In the fall of 1996 I had an epiphany. It’s not surprising, to be quite honest. I had just turned 22 and I was brilliant. No, really. I was. I had a college degree, an apartment I was paying for all on my own and I was a few months into my Maser’s Degree program. If anyone was primed for brilliance, it was me.
While lying on the couch watching television (taking a small break from awesomeness, obviously) I came to the conclusion that I was not going to get married until I was in my mid-30’s to early-40’s. I had a career to build, a world to see and probably some growing up to do. I’m not sure about the last one, but it seems like the right thing to say. Marriage, I decided, could and should wait. It was a very logical plan and made perfect sense.
As soon as I stopped patting myself on the back and congratulating myself for my kickassness, I got on the phone with Mom. Since my new Life Plan effected her to a certain degree, I knew she needed to be “in the know.” Our conversation went a little something like this:
Brilliant Me: “Mom, I’ve decided I’m not going to get married until my mid-30’s to early-40’s. I thought you should know.”
Awesome Mom: “OK, honey. If you think that’s a good idea, then go for it.”
BM: “I do. I really do. I feel good about the plan. I think it’s for the best.”
AM: “Mmmmhmmm… So did you go out with your friends last night?”
BM: “Yeah. It was pretty lame. Guys are lame. I’m not going to just hook up in a parking lot or dry hump on the dance floor with a virtual stranger, ya know? I’m not in college anymore. Just kidding, Awesome Mom.”
AM: “Oh, well, that’s good to know. Your father will be happy to hear that. So did this new Life Plan evolve after last night’s adventures, or lack thereof?”
BM: “Yeah. Oh and I’m pretty sure when I do get married, the guy is going to be about 8-10 years older than me. I don’t have time for all this young guy bullshit, ya know? I need a guy with some ambition and who has matured both personally and professionally.”
AM: “I understand. So no one asked you last night, huh?
BM: “Nope. Not one. I’m so lame. No one is ever going to marry me.”
What immediately followed was one of those conversations that a girl can only have with her mom- loving and supportive, highlighting my best parts, filled with praise for my achievements, a little bit of snickering over my ever present drama and the reassurance that the “right” person will show up one day- I just have to be patient and focus on living my independent, empowered life.
What followed after that (approximately 2 months later) was an introduction to the man who later became my husband. Oh Life, why do you mock me so?
Unfortunately, when The Future Hubs and I started dating, Operation: Miss Independent was still in full effect. I was a card-carrying member of NOW, people. (Yes, I actually had a card. They give them to people who donate money.) I had a career I was building, a world I was seeing (not really, I never had any money but I planned on seeing it one day) and a teeny tiny bit of growing up to do. I was also not in my mid-30’s and he was a far cry from being 8 -10 years older. My Life Plan was falling apart in the arms of a man with beautiful brown eyes! I had to take control of the situation.
So as I fell in love with the man of my dreams, I was careful to make sure we had some rules in place to ensure Operation Miss Independent would not be thwarted!
1. You don’t need to open my door. I feel all sorts of awkward sitting there, waiting for you to come around and open it. I’ll take care of it.
2. We are equals. You carry your weight, I will carry mine. I’ll take care of it.
3. I’m like a crazy multitasking ninja. I can handle a lot. So I’ll take care of it.
4. I like lists. Lots and lots of lists. The things on the list? I’ll take care of it.
5. Oh, and I don’t like flowers. They are a waste of money- they die and make the water super stinky.
My life motto was: I’ll take care of it.
|Dude, I can complete 3 of these lists today!
I need an “I’ll Just Take Care Of It” notepad.
And so, take care of it, I did. Hubs was in Law School when we got our first apartment and were married. I don’t know if you’ve ever known anyone in Law School, but they aren’t really “available” much. Their schedules are pretty packed and there isn’t much room for flexibility. So if there were groceries to be purchased- I took care of it. If there was a bathroom to be scrubbed- I took care of it. Birthday gift for a family member- I took care of it. Money to pay the bills- Yup, you guessed it.
Let’s be clear, though. The Hubs wasn’t sitting around stuffing Bonbons in his face while I took care of it. The guy was acing Law School, participating in professional networking groups, mentoring underclassmen and working his way towards graduating with Honor’s. One might say he was the Law School Ninja to my Life Ninja. He was taking care of it. Besides, he married a capable woman, right? I told him I could take care of it. In fact, I’m pretty sure I put it on a list somewhere.
Those early years were insane- we both worked our tails off and were taking care of a lot. But here we are 16+ years later- happy, successful and taking care of the business of life: kids, jobs and a house. And then this week I had another epiphany. I’m finally in my late-30’s, my career’s been built and rebuilt, I’ve seen some of the world and I’ve grown up a bit. I’m older, wiser and more experienced- more or less…
And here’s what I realized: I was pretty dumb when we met (as is reflected by my Rules), but I should have been dumber-er. I should have found the vacuum confusing and bill paying overwhelming. If I had been dumber-er, I would have shown him I could only handle one, maybe two things at a time. I would have had no multitasking skills to save my life. I should have failed at cleaning, scheduling and organizing. And I definitely would have helped him realize I couldn’t hold down a job.
My life motto should have been: I can’t take care of it.
Of course, had I done any of those things The Hubs would have dropped me like a hot rock and never asked me to be The Wife and I’d be one of the most annoying people on the planet. I’d also live in a pigsty and have no money. But I think I could work within those parameters… Just kidding.
If I was dumber-er, I would have devised a plan that ensured other people just took care of it- cleaned up after me, took care of my needs and prepared my meals. Hey wait, wouldn’t that make me one of my kids?
Being dumber-er would have been the smartest thing to do.
That’s just my normal.