30-something

Today is my wedding anniversary. Today I celebrate 7 years of putting-up with my husband. No, I actually mean that.

Our marriage is a strange beast. The other day we were talking about options that Jon has for his current course of study and where that may take him. I commented that even though we’ve been married for 7 years, nothing much seems to have changed. I’m still the one supporting us. We don’t have many of the things our friends have; careers, houses, children. We’re still taking each day as it comes and seeing what we can make of it.

He disagreed. He feels as if he’s changed, and the more I reflect on it the more I see how he’s right. He initially left the US unfulfilled. Didn’t finish his associated degree, worked a lousy job, moved to a strange country and, because of the visa requirements, was married 3 months later. Lived with his in-laws for 3 years, then lived in a house owned by his in-laws, worked more lousy jobs, all whilst still being unfulfilled. Now we’re back in the US and he’s mixing the filler and not only closing the hole but building on top of it too. Now he has a direction and he’s starting to take responsibility.

That’s affecting me too. I’m taking a step back, giving him that chance to take control and thinking more about me. Sometimes it feels stupid; why, when one of you is at school would you suddenly quit your job and also try to make it in a creative industry? Who knows…but for the first time ever we’re balanced. It used to be that I’d be working full time and he wouldn’t have a job, or I’d be studying and he’d work part time. I was not surprised that, not long after I quit my job he got one.

Now we’re both in a creative struggle, trying to see where our passions take us, working minimal hours but in environments we actually want to be in; he in the school library and me stage managing a play in Santa Monica. It’s not going to pay the rent, but then you can’t see the view while you’re still climbing the hill.

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Hitting 30 wasn’t a big deal to me, as it can be for some people. It’s taught me a lot about life. There’s this massive expectation that you have to have everything figured out in your 20s…go to uni, get the job, make a family, settle. It’s not how it is. This is my impression… you will either muddle through your twenties doing everything that everyone else expects of you, before realizing none of it matters and doing what you really want. Or, you will do what you think you really want and do it so well that it isn’t exciting anymore and look for other things to fulfill you. Age and experience give us that drive to realise what’s really important.

Yes, it would be nice to own a house and a nice car and see those as a measure of success. Yes, I’d like to think a child would be part of our lives in the nearish future. Yes, I’d love a stable job and steady income for us both. I don’t feel like I’m missing out though, or that we’ve lived our lives wrong. I’m sure there’s many people out there thinking ‘what the hell is she going on about, she’s free’. I am, and I acknowledge that, I’m grateful for that, yet everyone’s going to feel like they’re missing out on something.

So what did I get for my 7th anniversary? I got to spend it with my husband. When trying times could (and have) split other people apart, we’ve seen them through. We’re not exchanging cards or gifts, we can’t afford to. I won’t get a diamond ring or the latest iPhone or a trip to Hawaii. Hell, we haven’t even had a honeymoon yet. We’ll just drive to the coast, together, and eat some food, together (and, as it happened, see some dolphins too).

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In the meantime I’ll continue with the stage play I’ve started. It only took another job rejection and a panic attack to get me going again, but there you have it.

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