Nothing like sitting down and writing out the first ten things that pop into one’s head! Even if you don’t do it for public consumption, I highly recommend this as an exercise. It’s really interesting to get your contemplations out onto paper (or laptop) and see what’s top of mind for you!
1. The wonderful confidence that comes with being nearly 40 is something to celebrate
I went to the loveliest wedding over the weekend! It was a real testament to the confidence of being in our late 30s, I thought. ‘Wants’ were prioritised over ‘shoulds’ – I woke up the next morning and realised there had been no speeches. There was also no sit-down dinner, no first dance, no cutting of the wedding cake. What there was, was a simple, beautiful, heartfelt ceremony; a food truck; a lavish dessert table; friends and family laughing; small children dancing and throwing the occasional wobbly; the best, most considered wine I’ve ever had at a wedding; and of course, a bride and groom deeply in love, with eyes only for each other. From my perspective, it was so perfectly them – of course, I haven’t yet had a chance to catch up with them following the day, so I hope that is exactly how they feel, and that they got exactly what they wanted. After attending hundreds (an exaggeration, but possibly only just) of weddings in my late 20s and early 30s, and another small spate as of late, I’ve realised how much a typical wedding is based on mindless tradition and ‘shoulds’ – which I think we don’t tend to question, especially when we’re younger. This was a truly joyous occasion and, as I said, an excellent example of how prioritising ‘wants’ makes for an amazing, authentic experience.
2. Wants over shoulds, more generally
The wedding got me thinking about where else we can prioritise ‘wants’ over ‘shoulds’. How often do we do things unthinkingly because it’s traditional or has always been done, or some external voice tells us we should, without stopping to consider whether that’s what we want? To be clear, I’m not suggesting we shirk all responsibility here. Rather, we can apply our grown-up thinking – i.e. the same logic/developed brain that prevents me from staying up all night reading and eating sweets (which is definitely what my childhood self thought would be one of my primary activities when I was an adult and in charge of myself) to ensure that what we want right now doesn’t clash with what we want in the longer term. For example, I want to further my career; I want to help raise an awesome future adult; I want to feel good as I move in the world. I also want to trust myself and believe in myself, though, and I think a solid way to do that is to prioritise the ‘wants’ over the ‘shoulds’ – or at least question the ‘shoulds’ first!
3. A small reflection
Every wedding I attend makes me think of my own. I loved our wedding. Hayden and I agree there’s still not much we would do differently, even though it’s been nearly 13 years! But the things I would change…well, they were ‘shoulds’, not ‘wants’. We paid for a DJ, who was absolute rubbish. An iPod, a bunch of playlists, and a good speaker would have done a better job. We also paid a lot for a very mediocre wedding cake…neither of us even likes cake all that much. My favourite desserts are crème brûlée and tiramisu. Hayden’s is sticky toffee pudding. We could have just served those! We got dance lessons and had a whole first dance choreographed, because we are not good dancers…and who cares? Nobody, that’s who. I wouldn’t have a first dance if we were planning a wedding now. On the flip side, we spent a lot on food and wine and I would happily do that again. We love both those things! And my dress was inexpensive…and that was also the right decision. Paying thousands for something I could wear once would be a regretful decision for me.
4. Out of the mouths of babes
I attended another wedding earlier this year, and Amelie was very keen that I should wear my wedding dress to it. I get it! I can see how in her mind, a wedding is the ideal event for me to wear my wedding dress – which she has only seen hanging in a wardrobe, never on me. She’s a big fan of it, and I don’t think she really understands why I never wear such a pretty dress. I went with something else, though. But maybe if it had cost thousands I would have taken her suggestion more seriously (joking…)
5. Old friends
One of my oldest (as in we’ve been friends forever, not chronological age…) and best friends lives in the States (boo) and I don’t see that changing. However, her family is here in NZ, so sometimes she flies back in and it’s like nothing’s changed. Last time she was here, she organised a dinner with a bunch of our other old school friends, which is what led to me reconnecting with the friend whose wedding I just attended…at which I saw a bunch of other old school friends whom I mostly haven’t seen in years. It’s truly been wonderful. We’ve been a travelling bunch (some of us still are!) and since we left school we’ve all been all over the show, in different countries at different times, and with different priorities…yet at heart, and despite the responsibilities and growth of adulthood, I’d say we’re all intrinsically the same people. Meaning if I liked them then, I am almost certainly going to love catching up with them now! I’m so grateful to Cami for directly bringing old friends back into my life in this way.
6. City life is good
It just is. I’m in a coffee shop right now, typing this after an exercise class, and contemplating how much effort it would have taken for me to recreate this in the country. This morning, by contrast, I just put on my activewear and strolled out the front door, laptop in my handbag. I think I’m often subconsciously trying to recreate the happiness I felt when I lived on the UWS of Manhattan, and I was freelancing. In those days I worked from all over the city, sometimes exploring new areas, sometimes holing up at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on the corner of Amsterdam and 86th (I think that’s where it was, that address is from memory only!), sometimes taking myself down to the grand old NYPL on 5th. I’d stop at Fairway, or Trader Joes, or Whole Foods, or Citarella, (or or or…so many grocery stores!) on my way home and pick up something delicious to make for dinner, with zero stress because even if we were missing an ingredient, it was the work of minutes to pop around the corner to grab it. I’d leave the house often not knowing where I was going, just trusting that I would work it out once I was out in the city and could assess what I wanted. This is something I can emulate here, and it’s probably the closest I’ve been since that time. I love it.
7. Making time for me
I’m starting a new, full-time job in a few weeks, which is going to make my ‘ideal’ as detailed above a bit harder…I think. Really, I don’t know how it’s going to be, having consulted for the last few years! It’s going to be my first introduction to the world of hybrid work. Hopefully there’s a level of flexibility that allows me to have at least some days like that. I guess I’ll see…! Regardless, it’s going to mean I have to work a little harder and more vigilantly to get in the alone/independent time that I need to keep me happy and feeling fulfilled. I haven’t worked out how I can protect that yet, but I know I need to.
8. Making time, generally
What do you do to save time? I had a shower this morning and had to wash my hair, and I just got so annoyed halfway through. How can it take so long? I suspect part of it is that our shower situation is less than ideal right now (we have not got to the bathroom yet with our renovations!) and I just feel kind of cranky and disorganised in there. Is there some sort of magic product that others know of that will just clean and condition my hair incredibly well, without the waiting? Tell me your secrets! (Unless one of them is to have shorter hair…because it just doesn’t suit me and it therefore just becomes much higher maintenance once I’m out of the shower).
9. I think I really want a pink blazer
It would be a mistake to buy a pink blazer, right?! It’s not at all my usual style, but I’m seeing them everywhere and I’m a fan! I actually came thisclose to buying one from J. Crew Factory recently, but they didn’t have my size (they do have it in a lot of other sizes if you also want one though!). There are a lot out there though. What do you think? Would I regret it? Keep in mind I like to wear my clothes for years and years; I also don’t like looking dated!
10. I can’t wait to see Barbie
It has been so long since I was genuinely excited about seeing a new movie! I believe that is because for easily ten years now, they just have not made films for me. Lots of superhero movies and the like…very few actually good rom-coms. Obviously, the reason pink blazers are everywhere is because Barbie is coming out soon. Everyone I know is super-excited to see it. Do more this, Hollywood!