I’m sitting on a bar stool. It’s 4:08pm on a Saturday.
Not a child to be seen.
I’m in a rooftop bar.
I accidentally sat in the smoking area when I arrived. But I don’t even care.
I’m completely on my own and my senses are being BOMBARDED with sights, sounds and smells from a bygone era.
My husband could see I needed a break during the week and suggested a night on my own in a hotel in the city.
Of course I refused. Seriously – who does such a thing??
Well, it turns out, I do.
And I’m sitting here now in heaven! I’m almost two schooners down and I’ve just done some amazing biz planning. But as I’m sitting here drinking beers surrounded by cigarette smoke, I cannot help but reflect on different times….. on the times when afternoon beers (sometimes even on a Sunday – WHAT!?) was a normal occurrence.
The years BC (before children).
The years of lazy weekend mornings and meandering down to the local cafe of choice to feast on BLTs and lattes.
The years when the most dangerous thing you could spill on carpet was red wine.
The years of pub crawls and $2 bourbons and seriously long university holidays.
The years of the ‘honey-moon’ stage. The years of pashing.
The years of part-time jobs and living in a house where someone else made your dinner and your biggest stress was whether or not you’d wake your PARENTS when you got home.
The years of indecision.
The years when a ‘good-time’ was the only metric of life.
The years before I was responsible for anything else but me.
The years of spending money on clothes, shoes, bags (for me) with abandon.
The years when $280 per week rent got us an amazing space in our dream location.
The years before I knew how dangerous pretty much EVERYTHING is!
The years when I thought I knew what I was capable of – but I had no idea.
The years of shift work, bar work, overseas travel.
The years of grit.
The years that didn’t make sense at the time but absolutely do now.
The years of gigs and corduroy.
The years when saving was easy and always ended in a holiday.
The years (and years) of study
The years I spent self-conscious when I really should have been flaunting it!
The years when friends were made without any discussion of boobs, poo or food.
The years that disappeared quickly.
The years that ended in my pregnancy at 30 and my first child at 31.
The years that preceded the decade that has truly stretched me, enlightened me, broken me, made me.
My twenties were the prelude into the most amazing, challenging, heart-wrenching, heart-expanding, love infused years of my life as a wife and mother.
Thank goodness for the grit.
Thank goodness for the hangovers.
Thank goodness for all the travel.
Thank goodness for that intoxicating romance that was so clearly the love of my life from the beginning.
Thank goodness for the chances to fail and the brutal lessons I learned.
Thank goodness for the people who screwed me over.
Thank goodness for my family.
It’s all made me this 36 year old woman. A mother of three. A wife. A business owner. Sitting in a pub on a Saturday arvo gifted a night away by the man that she still loves with all her heart. The man who has witnessed the ugly moments and the crazy highs. If I could tell our twenty-five-year-old selves something – it would be that they are amazingly resilient and there’s so many good things to come, but to keep working on the love they share because it will be the thing that saves them every time.
Those people we were in our twenties – living it up – still exist.
Even though it doesn’t feel it as parents of three kids 5 and under, we are strong, courageous and the dreamers we were all those years ago.
Cheers to my twenties. I miss you. But I don’t. Thank you for all the lessons. Thank you for a decade that I’m so glad I had. But I’d never go back. The richness of my life now (even if its intensity can lead to the need for a night away from home) is the biggest gift I could ever have asked for. And I’m grateful. I’m grateful beyond words.
Now my beer is finished and I think I’m going to wander through some book stores.
On my own. What bliss.
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