18 August 2011

Once upon a time

In my late teens and early 20s the dream was pretty simple. In fact it was so simple, I couldn't believe why some of those 'older' folks made such a big deal about marriage and why their partner wasn't suitable any more, blah, blah,blah.... my path was clear. So clear it was positively sparkling.

It went something like this.

After having a whale of a time at uni, I would start my career and have some flings in my early 20s to sow my wild oats and gather a bit of experience in the relationship game. In my mid 20s I would find a wonderful, attractive, rich, caring (I could go on) man who would marry me at 26, take me travelling to exotic locations, share war stories with me from our fabulous corporate careers and then have me 'with child' just before my 30th birthday.

We would probably have three children, a mixture of genders. Our dinner parties would be legendary and our holiday home at the Sunshine Coast would ring long through warm summer evenings with the clinking of champagne glasses and the laughter of our dearest friends. Our house would be contemporary with the master bedroom being luxuriously spacious, repleat with walk in robe and a bathroom with his and hers sinks.

Here's what we looked like having fun in the garden on the weekend!

Mmmmm........ where did it all go wrong?

In hindsight, I think I may have shared the same fatally flawed life plan with a few contemporaries, and we possibly formed our misguided ideas from a montage of articles and advice columns patched together from Marie Claire, Cosmpolitan and a few other highly 'reliable' sources.

Back in those carefree, fantasy days however, sleeping with my partner was not an issue at all. In fact, I loved it. The thought of snuggling up to my boyfriend and being so naughty as sleeping nude, was a very exciting part of being in a relationship. Sneaking a night in a bed together was so daringly dangerous and, as we grew older, going away for a holiday together was enough to keep me giddy all week.

Until my early 30s, I would have looked with pity, at a middle-aged woman who couldn't and wouldn't sleep in the same bed as her husband. Freak, loser, weirdo, sad-o, old maid, mid-life crises lady! And yet here is where I find myself.

I don't however, feel as though I fit any of these labels. Such is the joy of growing older and caring less about the 'names that do not hurt me'. (I do care about the more brittle bones though and how they would break so much easier now from stray sticks and stones) (And any day now, I may just decided that I really don't need high heels any more and that flat shoes or ones with just small heels are all that is required in the wardrobe).

The blog To Love, Honor and Dismay has a great story and discussion about couples and sleeping. The comments on this blog post make for a great read and provide a wide ranging discussion about couples sleeping apart. There are supporters and dissenters of the practice, who both give compelling reasons for their stance on the subject.

And THAT'S THE POINT! There shouldn't be a 'one size fits all' approach to sleeping. As I have noted earlier, one great feature of the human race is that we are partly defined by our differences. We don't all like the same food and alcohol, don't all cheer for the same team or the same sports or like the same television shows. So why do we all have to like sharing a bed with someone? And if we don't like it - why is it so weird?

I've never heard someone foretell the end of a marriage because one person likes anchovies and the other doesn't. "Oh... they're having a half-and-half pizza. Must like different toppings - they'll never last ".

So my fairy tale life has turned out to have quite a different ending. I figure though that Snow White probably never counted on such a disastrous attempt to keep up with her fruit and veg intake, or house sharing with not two or three, but seven needy men - but she ended up where she needed to be.

And so have I - happily ever after.

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