I'm envious of Ache's girlfriend


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First things first, I'm mostly content on how my life choices have turned out. I would not change my husband, my home and most certainly not my kids. And my career has met my needs and the changes I'm doing to it now are something I feel will meet my future needs. All that said: Oh goodness, how greeneyed I feel when listening Ache's girlfriend's plans!

She is a real high-achiever. One of those 'save the world'-types. Her interests lie in environmental technology. Uni program she attends is highly ranked, so is the Uni she has spent this semester abroad. For this summer she ended up choosing between few very good or absolutely great internship options and will be heading again abroad to another country for the summer. Ache is bit upset that they will spend summer so far from each other and come fall, while at the same country, they will be couple hundred miles away from each other and Ache having very few free days and almost never even two of those together, and her being busy with her stuff, they will not be seeing each others much. But he would not be ready to compromise his career and doesn't expect her to do that either, so long-distance relationship it is.

Ache's girlfriend is very opinionated, headstrong, driven, quite immature, entitled and bit naive, rather uncompromising, bit of know-it-all and absolutely awesome. I'm likely too invested to her and Ache's relationship. After all, they are both still young, it is long-distance relationship and both are driven and uncompromising when it comes to their dreams. But I really do hope that she would end up to be my daughter-in-law someday in future.

When I was her age, I too was at the Uni and doing well. But I had already just married my husband and we were thinking of having a baby. My quest for white picket fences was overriding my career ambitions. And Ache turning out to be Ache turned me to different roads even more than I had envisioned. But I had consistently made those choices turning off from adventure and towards those fences some time before.

When we graduated from High School, my then off and on boyfriend (he was one of those guys, who stay under your skin, notwithstanding how impossible the relationship may had been, and our's was) decided to ditch it all and spent some years first at Goa then backpacking around the world. He asked me to go with him, but while tempted, I chose staying and starting Uni that fall. When he came back, I already had one kid starting school and had been stay-at-home mom for some time after graduating from Uni. He has made quite a career since then, though.

After I had met my husband and around a time we got engaged, I had another huge opportunity for adventure. More academic and career orientated one though. But would had involved leaving the country for few years, putting the career first and leaving my now husband behind. I was more than tempted, but chose getting engaged, just doing a short semester abroad thing and concentrating building a life with him.

I of course do not know how my life would had turned out if I had left by either of those times. And as said, I have a good marriage and my husband is a decent guy and we have great thing going on. And I really couldn't regret having my boys. But I do feel little wistful for not having courage and spirit to go for it at the time, but instead made a safe choices every time.


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Oh SuZir...
It's so easy to see the "best case" scenario at the end of these rainbows. And some people do indeed get the pot of gold. But along the way, many lose more than they gain.

You didn't choose wrong. You did what felt best and right at the time. Things turned out this way. The other way? Might have been "better" but could also have been worse.


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Yes, choosing differently I could had easily ended up with much less. And if I could rewind, and keep the memories I now have, I would choose the same, because I do have a nice life. I'm content, I have a good marriage and family, good guy whom I love beside me, I have my Ache and Joy and we have our aches and joys. I have it good and knowing that, I would not want to give all that up.

But if I didn't know all that; if I were to give an advice for a young me, for some young bright woman, who ponders with those choices; that would be clear: "Go for it!"

And it is a joy to have someone like Ache's girlfriend in my life. Just even watch from the sidelines. Which is a big reason I hope they make it.

Joy's girlfriend is a nice girl too. Of course she is a lot younger than Ache's, four years make a big difference in that age. She is much more conventional than Ache's girlfriend and is still very focused in pleasing those around her, mainly her peers. She has not yet found her own voice or depth of her personality like Ache's girlfriend, but she is a nice girl and will most likely grow to herself more in coming years. Of course she and Ache's girlfriend fight like cats and dogs, when they are together which can be tiresome, but both are good girls.

I like it, that these young people are in my life. But sometimes it feels so wrong that I will turn 45 on my next birthday and that I let go of my own adventures way earlier than would had been necessary. Of course I don't plan to sit to some rocking chair and wallow in regrets, but instead do things I want to from now on. But I can't help but stab of envy every now and then, when I watch them trying their wings.


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45? you're ONLY 45!!?
You have 20 years go "go for it".

I'm older. By quite a bit. Options to "go for it" are limited by time, money and... hubby. :D


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45? you're ONLY 45!!?

Please, please, 44 still ;) Yeah, I'm awfully mid-life crisised :rofl:

I do wonder now why on earth I hurried with marrying and starting a family so much. I mean, an average age for first time mother is around 30 around here, so I really was early and most of my friends from High School and Uni have their kids still in elementary school or some even just babies or toddlers. Only one has a kid close to Joy in age. But of course I know the answer to that one too. I wanted that stability and safety, that conventional family, that picket fence and I wanted it right a way so it wouldn't slip from my hands.

And if anyone asks, I would recommend young women considering those options to wait little longer, concentrate on career and adventure a bit first. It is much more difficult to take your backpack and start wandering around the world in your forties, if nothing else, you have likely become way too accustomed to all kinds of comforts to really enjoy it. And you will have your house and garden and pets and obligations and can't really take time off and run for it. I mean, I and husband can barely take two weeks off from all of it at the time.


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And if anyone asks, I would recommend young women considering those options to wait little longer, concentrate on career and adventure a bit first
To THAT, I totally agree. I started older. Both of us (husband and I) had done a lot of stuff - traveled, had fun. We don't have a lot of regrets looking back. Personally, I hope neither of my kids get married before age 25, prefer 27 or older... Even just from a practical standpoint: if your career is established, you have higher chance of returning to it between and after kids, than if you are just starting out.

Having said that... I know a couple of gals that started families early, and then finished last couple years of education (uni) and launched careers once the kids were in school, so they wouldn't have go deal with "gaps". Lucky for them, they don't have the kind of kids that bring us here ;)


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Having said that... I know a couple of gals that started families early, and then finished last couple years of education (uni) and launched careers once the kids were in school, so they wouldn't have go deal with "gaps". Lucky for them, they don't have the kind of kids that bring us here ;)

I did have some relevant work experience already during uni and I did finish my degree while home with Ache. Our universities tend to be very flexible for how you use your time and very often people actually graduate couple years after they have started to work in 'the real job' as we call work that is compatible to your education versus the summer and part time jobs you have during studying to make some money. It is just much more flexible system all together. Polytechnics, colleges that are practically oriented and where you aim to bachelors, nursing school being a prime example, tend to be more rigid and scheduled, but universities, there you around here are accepted to certain major right away and aim for masters (except medical school there you are aiming first to licentiate and then doctorate during when you specialize) tend to be very flexible places.

My field made it possible to have a good job even after spending some years home with kids after graduating. In some other fields that would had been a huge problem. Of course I didn't intend to stay home so long. We thought we would put Ache to day care when he would be maybe year and half, old enough to walk and talk and play outside. It just didn't turn out like that, because Ache was Ache and wouldn't had done well at all in day care at that age, or at any age to be honest. So I ended up staying home till he was nine and was able to stay home alone during afternoons (or go to in-laws, who live almost right next to us and where mother in law was home.)

I too hope very much I will not become a grandmother in good five or ten years still. Luckily neither of my kids show any signs of wanting to start family early.

Scent of Cedar *

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SuZir, could you be in the choice phase of the life transition process? Given your astute assessment of the women in your sons' lives and your honest assessment of yourself in your own young womanhood, that is what I think I hear in your post.

I am 63. This is what I learned, as I lived those years between our ages:


There could not be a greater gift for us than to live those years between forty and the rest of our lives than menopause. Our lives no longer revolve around the hormonal changes necessary for conceiving and birthing children. Until we experience the incredible freedom that a steady hormonal state brings, there literally is not a way to describe it.

I am myself, now.

To have lived as an aging woman did another wonderful thing for me. There was a time when my intrinsic value, even to myself, revolved around the power of being a fertile, desirable woman. I had taken that reality so for granted that the loss of it left me feeling invisible, for a time.

A woman of a certain age is perceived differently.

And there is such freedom in it.

SuZir, you cannot imagine the gift of interacting as a person, not as a fertile woman, until you taste it.

Those are the two biggest changes. There is a time of transition, but we are a fortunate generation.

For D H too, there is a letting go of the masculine role.

We are humans first now, to one another, and trusted friends.

I had my children young, too. At forty two, I made the choice again to recommit to my marriage rather than to establishing a career.

I do sometimes regret not having made that other life I might have created, then. It is good to have those regrets, I think. Those regrets are the cost, are the sacrifice made, for the life I chose to create, instead. Because this is so, I understand that I chose it freely, and am content.

I will have to remind D H what it cost me to choose him, instead.


Finally, I relish having had my grands when I was young and strong and we all were so beautiful, together. I am crinkling up, now. I love it that they knew me before I was fragile.

And I love it that I knew them before my thoughts turned contemplative, as they do when we begin understanding that it isn't just everyone else who is mortal.


D H said this to me a few days ago. We were talking about age and aging and what that feels like. All at once, D H smiled right at me and said, "You know how, once someone is old, you don't try to figure out how old? Well," he said, "I think we're there. Which means we are ageless! For the rest of our lives, we are ageless!"

So, I thought that was terminally cool.

And we laughed and laughed about that, and life was very good.

So, those are the kinds of things you have to look forward to, SuZir.

Life turns rich with meaning in the simplest, most unexpectedly joyful ways.

There are so many layers of being human.

It's an extraordinary thing, to be human, and to be able to relish and contrast all the different layers of how to see.




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I'm not looking forward of menopause nor getting older at all, I have to say.

I'm very physical person and I really hate the idea what all I have to give up in coming years. If lucky, I can of course continue many of my favourite activities, like running, many years still, but slow demise of my body, losing strength and agility and ability to perform will be very hard for me. I do not deal well with limitations. I have learnt to accept some physical limitations I have, mainly that I'm a woman (though I do enjoy the perks of that), but it has taken some work. I pride myself being strong, agile and fit and having to admit, that there are some things I can't physically do that men, for example my husband, can was something I struggled a bit when young lass. And I did throw quite a tantrum later that day, when almost a decade ago I was trying to move something around in the garden and couldn't and decided I needed to wait till my hubby would be home and Ache offered to help - and was able to easily manoeuvre the thing I couldn't despite all the work I had put into my body. That my then maybe 13 year old boy, who was nothing but long legs and arms and stick thin, was already stronger than I, and just because he was a boy, really angered me. But I have learnt to deal with that.

But I do wake up to nightmares were I wake up in old woman's body. And while I very well know, that is, how it will be one day, it frightens me silly.

I have always been lucky with female hormones. They have worked well for me. Never caused me much bother. If I'm not using hormonal contraception, there are couple days every month when there are lots of attractive men everywhere, but that, and falling instantly, deeply and madly in love with couple ugly, bloody maggots that midwife laid to my breast before the cord was cut, are about the only tricks my hormones have played with me. I will not grieve loss of fertility, I think, but I will grieve my strong, agile body.

I have always, well after some teenage issues, found myself reasonably attractive and I have to say that I do enjoy, when men notice that. But it hasn't been that important to me ever. I can live without that.

But losing my ability to move and perform, that will be a bitter pill.

My crossroad with career; I have not yet truly decided, and maybe I will not have a chance to make any decisions, but I'm very strongly considering giving it a go. I have a good job. It served me well, when kids were young and hubby was building his career. I have great workmates and I enjoy going to work. My work does have a meaning, it is not just to make shareholders richer, but to actually, if for the very small part, make a difference in the world. It pays okayish, good compensation for lost free time. And it is very stable. Work itself is however boring and repetitive, does not challenge me much. Going for PhD can be considered just a hobby. I have taken some time off from work to facilitate it at times, but still, if I leave it to that, it was just a hobby. Or I could try to pursue that. Try to pursue those few positions available to continue on that road. More work, significantly worse hours, worse pay, significantly worse job security, much more competitive environment. But also excitement and thrill. But I'm seriously considering it. Especially because my hubby, who almost decade ago turned down 'once in the lifetime'-chance at work, because kids were heading to their teens and he didn't want to be that dad, who is never there for them, never in their games, never having time for them, happend to get the similar chance again recently and took it. So he is and will be never home anyway. And while I do have my garden and my dogs and horses and handball and books and what not, I would likely be bored to death home alone.

Still undecided, but i think you can tell where I have laid my heart (my brains may disagree though.)


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Well, I can't speak to the career thing.

But the "woman of a certain age" thing? If you're in good shape now and keep it up, you won't become the woman your imagination is drawing for you. We have 80 year olds who run marathons. Barring disease (like arthritis), there is no reason you shouldn't have at least 30 years of active, enjoyable life, with only moderate accommodations.

Scent of Cedar *

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IC is right. At 63, I am noticing that I tire more easily. There is some joint damage, probably from the ballet classes, but I would do that again in a minute. I am strong and healthy in every way. This surprises me. Another lady and myself were talking about age one day last winter, and I said "63". Though she had just turned 60 herself, and looked nothing like we expect 60 to look, she was surprised to learn I was that freaking old. Maybe because we are better nourished now, we seem to be holding our ages and energy levels and curiosity about life and about what to try next very well.


I have told this story here before, but it is a good enough story to tell it again, I think.

So, D H and I were talking about aging and being old (or at least, older) and what that all means. D H said: "You know how, once a person is past a certain age, you don't wonder anymore just how old they are? They are just "older".

"Well," he said. "That is where we are, now."

"So really, the age we are now is...ageless."


And we love that. So that is what we are: ageless.

It was quite freeing.


I have been telling everyone that story.