Getting older hasn't been half as bad as I though though, it's been more of a roller-coaster than I expected but the ups have been better than any childhood dream and the downs have been more about facing reality than hitting rock bottom.
I don't feel like I rushed to grow up but I don't feel like I am youngster any more, growing up just seemed to happen and I hold Laura mainly responsible :)
Catching up with Uni friends recently I was asked questions that forced me to take a look over my life in a way I hadn't for a while. It had been 9 years since we had all been together. 9 years! I can't quite get my head around that as a decade sounds like such a long time but it seemed like only a few weeks since we had all met up in a local pub.
In 9 years one of my friends has managed to have 2 kids and achieve 6 years of happy marriage, while another is engaged and has bought a house but doesn't really see a future in their current job. I have married the beautiful Laura, bought a flat and a house and brought the wonderful Bisbee into our lives. Oh and managed 3 jobs and a year in Australia. How can 9 years boil down to those short sentences though?! Are they achievements? Are they what defines us? Or are they just social markers that people relate to? After we had listed our short sentences we ordered lunch. It seemed formal almost. If that's what 9 years of living was defined as how boring.
After the ordering was complete we started again, this time rather than the short overall explanations we started talking about what we enjoyed, our interests and ridiculous things that we'd been through - it was like 9 years had never happened. As we recounted stories of travel and funny work moments it was as if we were back at Uni, talking about people in different classes rather than our jobs. For all our personal achievements that had stacked up over the 9 years I think the greatest achievement was that we hadn't changed much at all. The crude, rude, sarcastic sense of humour that drew us together some 15 years ago was still there. The one liners, the wit and the amusing stories flowed and i'm sure people on other tables wondered what was so funny.
The two questions that got me thinking most were: 'so what do you enjoy doing?' and 'If you had a weekend with no plans what would you do?' Simple questions but how often do we get asked them? I honestly don't remember the last time that someone asked me. What would your answer be?
Growing up can seem to be all about responsibilities. Marriage/ relationship commitment takes work. It takes time to see family and friends. Jobs require you to turn up and fill most of your days. Bills need paying. Life needs planning. Nothing just happens. And so to take a moment and think about what I would do was refreshing.
My answer: To maximise the weekend I would leave Friday night, the plan would be to spend the weekend exploring, ideally the UK countryside to see some stunning views. We'd drive and make it a road trip. Laura would manage the music and the route and Bisbee would be enjoying the fresh air out the window. We would drive for 4-6 hours to make it feel like a getaway and end up in an AirBnB. Our own space. We'd discover a dog friendly pub for dinner and share fruit ciders while snuggled by a fire eating hearty English pub grub. The days would be spent just being together and enjoying the fresh air. If time permits we'd catch up with friends (and hopefully a dog) or family on the way back who would want to hear all about the trip so we'd get to relive it and pick a highlight.
I'm simple that way all I really need is the wife, the puppy and a bit of travel. And that's why growing up isn't half as bad as I thought. I never thought I would be lucky enough to find someone who entertains, encourages and engulfs me in love the way Laura does. I never thought I would find someone I wouldn't get bored off. I learnt from early relationships that I needed to be challenged and that if I had to make every decision it would never last. Thankfully Laura and I are a team. We know our strengths and our weaknesses and everything in between. Growing up with Laura has made growing up pretty amazing.
And travel, travel has made growing up WAY more interesting than I ever thought. I'd traveled as a kid but to the more popular destinations - Spain, Tenerife, Scotland, but we had never explored the way Laura and I do now. Trip Advisor wasn't a thing, people didn't share travel reviews unless it was the back of a postcard and flights weren't as affordable. Now we feel like we know a place before we even get there and the challenge is to find the hidden gem. And I love it!
On that note we are off have a weekend filled with my favourite things in Hebden Bridge for Easter and i'm already excited. We are also planning our Vegas trip in May, we are heading there with family to celebrate my Mum's 60th so it will be a new experience for us. It turns out there is still so much of Vegas we are yet to see, even after: Vegas for Laura's 21st and our Bachelorette!
So this Wednesday, with the sun shining, the flowers starting to bloom and winter looking like a distant memory maybe take some time to figure out what you would do with a free weekend.