They say marriage is a lifetime of getting used to someone. Without a doubt, any long term relationship is a rollercoaster. You get the good, the bad, the ugly. Sometimes you can get all of that in the space of an hour!
You’ve probably noticed your slightly (or very!) different, depending on who your with. Some people are quiet and industrious at work, but put them in a grandstand at the football and they are boisterous and uncouth! Some people are relaxed everywhere, except behind the wheel of a car. You probably have variations on who you are, depending on the context of the situation.
Another way of looking at this is do you give your partner what’s right, or what’s left. For example, do you find yourself planning your life on how you can invest in your partner, or, do you find yourself giving them the scraps of your energy after everyone else has had a piece of you?
There’s an interesting dynamic though, in marriage. It’s the dynamic, or tension between being your real self, and being your best self. It’s the tension between doing what’s real to you, and doing what’s best for your relationship. It’s an interesting, and difficult tension.
It’s the tension that you get after you and your partner have had really huge weeks, and you want to sit quietly and they want to talk through the week. Do you be your true self, or your best self for your partner?
It’s the tension in silly things – leaving the toilet seat up because you don’t care what way it goes, and putting it down because your partner likes it down and you want to be your best for them.
It’s the tension between just wanting to go to sleep, because that’s what you want, or choosing to open up physically to your partner because you want to give your best to your partner.
It’s the tension between listening enough to hear the key points, or giving your whole attention to your partner.
I think this tension manifests itself in many things.
So what is the answer? I used the picture above because I’ve met some people who seem to think that love is a licence for bad behavior. They seem to use the ‘if you can’t love me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best’ mentality to really just be selfish. Inversely, I’ve met other people who do literally everything they can to support their partner. It might be in the way they put their life on hold to support their partners career, or family, a project or lifestyle.
Is there a point where you give up being your real self, and give your best self, for the sake of the relationship? What about vice versa?
You can only every control yourself, your actions and emotions, so this isn’t about changing your partner. What I’m asking is how have you managed that tension between giving your best self to your partner, and being your real self? Can the two ‘selves’ exist? Can you be real, but still give the best of yourself to your partner? I’m curious, let me know.
In the mid 80’s, my dad, along with many other men were laid off from work in the coal mines. The ‘recession we had to have’ was in full swing and many families in Wollongong were looking down the barrel of financial ruin.
Needing to support his wife and children, my dad needed to find work – and quickly. At the time, a hotel was being built on the beach in town. My dad contacted the developer and asked him who was doing the landscaping for the project, and if not, he is ready to do the job.
The developer asked my dad what landscaping work he had done before, to which my dad drove him to my grandmothers house and showed the developer the garden.
Unsure if he was being played, the developer asked my dad what the story was – to which he told him that he’d been retrenched from the mines and he needed to support his wife and three children.
Well, my dad got the contract for the gardens at the new hotel.
From there, he went to lots of other business in town, telling them he was ready to do their landscaping and gardens. When the business owners asked my dad for his credentials, he simply told them ‘put it this way, I’ve just got the contract to do the gardens at the new hotel in town!’.
I tell you this story because it has given me much inspiration in my life – certainly in recent months. Those who know me (and of course, you the reader!) have picked up that I quite enjoy writing. At work about six months ago I thought there has to be a dollar in this writing gig. I checked out seek and found a freelance writing position. Thinking of my dad, I wrote one of the most off-beat (and honest!) job applications of my life.
I got that job.
Since then, I’ve applied for other freelance writing jobs.
I’ve gone from writing articles for $15 a pop to ghost writing for many hundreds of dollars, all in the space of about six months.
I don’t say this to brag – to the contrary.
Behind any ‘lucky break’ is a stack of hard, hard, unseen work.
I would of written for free (and still do on this, and other blogs) just because I enjoy it.
Since getting these freelance positions, I’ve worked pretty freaking hard. Every article I write, I get feedback on. I read incessantly on how other people write. I study their style, how they put words together, how they use tone and so on. Sometimes I labour on every word, wanting it to look right on the page. I can do three or four drafts on something and still not love it. I can write a whole blog and not post it because there is one word I just can’t nail, or one sentence that just does not look right.
After my dad started landscape gardening, he started studying horticulture at night. To put this into context, here was a Berkeley boy, with parents from a non-English speaking background, who dropped out of school now learning Latin names of plants at night, after working a full day in the sun, coming home to spend time with his wife and three young boys, and trying to build up a landscaping business in the middle of a recession. My mum showed me his workbooks once – pages and pages of Latin plant names, written out in columns in pencil.
I don’t know your story. I don’t know your dreams, your talents or what you live for. Your dream could be staying home with your family, travelling the world, being the leader in your field, playing a musical instrument – who knows. Here’s what I do know – to achieve your dreams you need a couple of things. You need a bit of mongrel in you.
You need to want it, to be able to grab hold of something by the teeth, give it a shake and grab a bit of flesh. You’re not going to get a lucky break if you don’t ask for it. Do you want to be in a band? Start playing. Lots. Want to be a professional sportsperson? Get training. Want to climb that corporate ladder? Actually I’ve got no advice for that one.
You need to know what you want. Some people say it’s selfish to get the things you want – I disagree. Sure, there’s selfish things, but wanting to achieve your potential in life aint one of them. If you’ve got a dream, name it. Write it down. Put it on your fridge, next to your alarm clock, on your car dashboard. Remind yourself of your dream, on what you’re striving for. It will get you through the times when things aren’t going your way (and they won’t, when you’re trying to reach your dreams).
Be prepared to do a stack of hard work. A heap of it. I don’t know what my dad’s dream was when he asked that developer to do his landscaping. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because my dad had a dream of working for the man, digging holes and mowing lawns. Some might say he had a lucky break to get the landscaping gig but I bet your bottom dollar – if he didn’t meet the expectations of the developer, there were a stack of other unemployed miners calling themselves landscape gardeners who would of done that work, and probably for less money.
Finally, have fun with your dreams . Don’t be limited by them. That might sound strange, I know. I’ve found that when you’re doing what you love, you simultaneously feel terrified and confident at the same time. Live your own dreams. I’m not going to lie to you – I’ve had to write some REALLY BORING articles and content, but you know what – someone has trusted me to do it, so I’m going to do it the best I can. I’m going to make an otherwise boring heading or title an exciting, interesting article and someone is going to pay me good coin to do it. Make your dreams your own. Put your own unique stamp on them, have fun with them!
In all reality, if you want to do the things you love, do the things you love. I’m not saying discard your responsibility – not at all. What I’m saying, and to quote the Shawshank Redemption:
“ Get busy living, or get busy dying”.
What are you doing about living today?
And before you ask, I really had no idea what I should name this blog. The pic of Hemmingway also has little relevance to the content, but liked the picture and fancy myself sitting outside in the sun, writing.
I love photographs. I love instagram. I love seeing pictures of beautiful cities, sunsets, my family and new additions to the family.
Not too long ago, the family would have a camera. Usually an easy to use point-and-click device that had film in it. Some families were a bit lardy-da with a SLR and took nice looking photos. A family might take a role or two of film on holidays. A single photograph might be taken at a family picnic or a first day of school. Once the 24 shots had been taken, the film would be taken to the local camera store, where the photos would be developed. You’d excitedly open the packet of photos and eagerly relive the memories. It was an exciting moment, seeing the photos for the first time. Sometimes, the camera shop would put a sticker on one of the photographs, saying something like ‘I’d look great enlarged!’ if the photo was particularly beautiful or memorable.
The packet of 24 photographs would be taken home. A photo might go on the fridge. One might go with dad to work, to put on his desk. You might send grandma and grandpa a beautiful picture of the kids on the beach. Mum might make a page in the family photo album of the families recent Gold Coast holiday.
Only a select few people would see your family photographs. There was an intimacy to them. A specialness. A romance. When a son or daughter would bring home a significant other, looking at their baby photographs was a right of passage – it signified the significant other was being let into the family, into their intimate moments, into their story.
I just can’t help compare that with how different it is with photos these days. I recently went down south for my brother-in-laws 30th birthday. Even before the party started and the children were playing, I had taken over 100 photos on my iPhone! Can you believe it? Of those 100 or so, I culled them down to perhaps 60. I put maybe three or four onto my instagram.
These days, the trend seems to be that we generally take photos of everything and anything. Our morning coffee. The sunset. A funny face our children pull. A beautiful ocean vista. A family scene. Something arty. Multiple pictures of ourselves. We willingly submit these pictures to a corporation to manage. To hold. To own. To display. For others to ‘like’, for others to see.
Why do we do it? Is it just society telling us to? Do we need validation that our child is particularly special in eating baked beans in a highchair? Do we need to prove the view from our family holiday is amazing? Do we need to show the world that we can eat at some unique gin-joint? Have we all just become narcissists? Perhaps it’s much simpler than that. We want to share these special moments with others on a much grander scale.
I can’t help think that we have lost the intimacy of the photograph. The anticipation of taking a photograph on a camera and having your memories printed out on paper, just for you to see.
I’d love to know your thoughts. Have we taken photographs and social media too far? I’ve read about the hashtag #aftersex has become popular with the young and pretty. Now that’s definitely oversharing an intimate moment! Have we gone too far, or has photo-sharing been a good thing?
The phone was out of range.
There was no internet reception.
We only had each other.
We couldn’t instagram the bush tukka.
We couldn’t log into Facebook at check in with friends.
We couldn’t tweet about how amazing this place was.
Many people scoff when I tell them that I don’t have a phone. Well, I do have one. I share one with my wife. She has it Monday to Friday, I have it on Saturday while she’s at work. She uses it, I pay for it!
It seems that we’ve been so accustomed to sharing the ‘best bits’ of our life on social media. I’m not saying that’s good, bad or ugly. It’s just how we’ve become narcissistic in this social media age.
I truly believe that being disconnected is one of the best states we can be. When it’s just you and perhaps those around you that you love. When there’s no distractions. When you’re not tied to an electronic device that ejaculates inane crap 24/7. Don’t get me wrong – I’m quite partial to a bit of facebooking and my instagram addiction is well documented. What I’m saying is there is just something fantastic about being ‘off the radar’.
It’s hard to be disconnected in this day and age. When we are, it’s usually by technological malfunction rather than choice.
I want to know how you get ‘off the radar’, if you do. I’d love to know what you think about when you’ve got no facebook feed to check out or thought to post on twitter. When all you see is purely nature, and not a filtered photo on a small screen. Do you get scared about being disconnected? Do you relish in no one being able to contact you? No boss to ask about that project. No report to turn in. No phone calls to return. Nothing required of you, except to enjoy the moment.
How do you ‘disconnect’?
(yeah, I’m totally aware of the irony of asking about disconnection on social media, too!!)
Photo totally ripped from http://titaniumrunner.net/2011/09/disconnected/
Checking in before you check out. A guide to retirement villages.
Harvey Bay. Heaven’s Waiting Room.
Last call for drinks – a hospital food service attendant tells all
1950’s. When ‘Darkie’ was an observation, not a criticism.
Open hand or wooden spoon? Your guide to modern parenting.
Spoonning. What do you do with that awkward boner?
Twitter, because there’s bound to be someone out there who’s interested in your inane, boring thoughts.
‘Cool post’ and other lies you write on Facebook
‘Hide relationship status’ – Zukerberg’s gift to cheaters.
You look 34 seconds older in this selfie, compared to the last selfie
I’m interested in all the blogs that you haven’t written, but really want to.
Like most citizens of the world, I have a Facebook. Yes, I voluntarily hand over personal information and pictures to a private organisation who can use and mis-use my personal information essentially however they want! Privacy concerns aside, I’ve noticed a number of partnered / married friends and associates that have a ‘joint’ facebook account. They squash both their first names in, followed by the family name.
Now don’t get me wrong – I think every relationship needs transparency, openness and honestly. Most couples I know have joint bank accounts, joint mortgages or rental agreements, obviously share the same bed etc etc. But are there things that need to keep uniquely ‘individual’?
I can understand that there are some relationships where fidelity, especially ‘electronic fidelity’ has been an issue and where couples want to protect their relationship by having a joint Facebook account. I’m sure there are a stack of other reasons where couples may want to have a joint Facebook account.
To me, having a joint Facebook account almost says ‘we’ are one homogenous unit. We like the same things, have one ‘united’ comment on everything Facebook related, have the same musical tastes etc etc. I’ve noticed on joint Facebook accounts that the guy usually has a ‘lesser’ presence on the joint Facebook account, compared to the gal. The ‘likes’ are noticeably more feminine, the photos are more noticeably ‘girl’ oriented and the posts are more, well, they are just girlie.
I know for me, I don’t have exactly the same likes as Sarah. Far from it. Musically, we are poles apart. We enjoy the same movies but like very different Facebook posts. She enjoys spending a stack more time on Facebook than I do. For her, it’s an extension to her already organised life. For me, I use it randomly to put up annoying posts and secretly judge others (jokes!). I certainly don’t know how I’d go with a joint Facebook account! I’m sure Sarah’s friends would find it strange if she liked a page about mens razors, and my mates would find it peculiar if I liked a page about Brisbane Mothers or a nappy service!
I’d love to know your thoughts on the joint Facebook account – a necessity for marital honesty? A homogenisation of a relationship? A time-saver?
How good is it to watch those you love do what they love? My nanny just comes alive when you ask her about her garden. My brothers love looking after the sick and injured, both human and animal.
It is just amazing to watch those you love ‘ply their craft’ without fear or concern of financial reward. There is very little money in tending your garden, or looking after the ill. But to those who do it, they get an immense amount of satisfaction.
For me, I quite enjoy writing. I’ve found blogging, both here and the Vidins Travel Blog is just so invigorating and enjoyable. I love thinking about what to write, thinking about how the words will look on the page, how the paragraphs will flow, how the writing will make people react.
I’ve had a few people tell me that I should write for money. Perhaps write a short story for a magazine, or something similar. Whilst I think this is grand, I guess there is something always holding me back. A few things, actually.
I love writing, but my concern is, if I was paid for it, would it become a chore, a job? Would the inherent enjoy-ability and freedom be diminished? Who knows.
Also, you just don’t know how good you really are. Mel Gibson stars in a movie called ‘Maverick’, where he is a poker player. He says a line in it which goes something like ‘I wanted to know how good I actually was’, when referring to going into a poker competition.
I don’t know if it is my personality, or what, but if I go in a competition (and know that I am super non-competitive), I want to know if I’m going to win. And if I go in a writing completion, I’d want to win. So I wouldn’t go in the competition if I was not going to win. And when I say I’d want to win, I want to know that the other people were better than me, so I’d beat them.
In year 11, I was put in the ‘low’ English class. Not many things in school annoyed me, but that annoyed me. I knew I was not ‘low’ English material. I knew I deserved to be in the top class. I don’t know how I ended up in that class, but I did. So I made a bet. I bet the teacher of the top English class that at the end of the year, my score / ranking would be in the top half of the whole grade – that is – better than half of the ‘top’ English class. The reward? A three pack of Mars Bars.
Guess who brought home the bacon? That’s right. Your Man Vidins.
I’ve always been lousy at sports. Maths is like pfft. I’m a mediocre manager at best. But I do enjoy writing. I’d even go as far as blowing my own horn and say that not only do I enjoy it, but I’m not half bad.
A friend sent me a link to a writing completion. It’s pricked my interest.
I think I’ll go in it. Not to win (secretly, I want to win big time). Actually, I’ll be overt. I want to win. I want to know how good I could be.