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A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Convos With my Ten-year-old Self--Dating and Men

I'm going to continue with a new thing I'm doing. Namely, conversations with my ten-year-old self. If I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell myself a few gems of wisdom. Today I'm talking about husbands/men/dates:

1. You need to learn to be your own knight in shining armor. You aren't necessarily going to marry someone who wants to take on that duty. Sad but true. He may have other dragons to slay at any given time that you're facing one. And who knows, he might be breeding baby dragons at work or under the bed somewhere.

2. Learn how to talk so that he'll talk too. It gets old having to provide both parts of the conversation sometimes, and there are wooden dummies for that. The thing is, you need to have a voice too. Don't let a charge of "nagging" ever stick. That's a cop-out and a way to silence you. Stand up for your own voice right from the start.

3. You aren't going to live happily ever after like a fairytale. It's going to be lots of hard work and sometimes you're going to want to whack him with a shovel. Or a skillet. In his sleep. But of course you won't, because it's frowned upon. And dents your skillet.

4. You can't expect to marry the perfect person. He's already taken. And if you somehow found someone almost perfect, he wouldn't be interested in your flawed carcass. Date the guy whose flaws aren't deal-breakers. Don't let hormones decide your future. Too much.

5. Work on your own flaws first. Figure out your triggers and shoot them down. Fix things with your father so you don't take those suitcases into your future. They're really heavy. Understand that you're going to marry someone a whole lot like him, so you need the practice.

6. Learn how to do difficult, unpleasant, and repetitive things for the joy of serving your family. He'll have to go to work every day and you're going to feel mighty guilty if you spend your days sitting around watching TV and eating bon bons (I don't think I've ever had one of those). And he'll resent you for it and it'll breed dragons. Or contention.

7. Develop a habit of counting the good things about a person, not just their faults and the things about them that drive you insane. Otherwise you'll spend much of your time being annoyed and insane.

8. Lay it all out there from the beginning how you mean to proceed. You're going to want to talk, and to develop a way of doing cleaning chores and a few hundred other things that need to get done.  If you start out being okay with inch thick layers of dust on his things in your bedroom, you'll NEVER get him to change that. In fact, some of those dust bunnies have great great great great grandbunnies.

9. Never, never forget how wonderful and giddy it felt to be in that first blush of love. You're going to need that feeling when you're having an altercation or up at three am pumping breast milk for a baby who won't suck.

10. Learn to like to cook well and to develop menus for the month. You always have to eat. You might as well eat well and save yourself the daily dilemma of what to feed your family.

11. Get organized. It saves so much time that you could be otherwise spending doing real, fun stuff. Disorganization means you have to spend valuable reading time finding, caring for, preparing extra for, and dispensing with, messes.

12. Do bucket list things early instead of being so worried about finding a guy during college. Go back to Europe. Take those movies of folk dancers and singers. Write everything down. Experience it all while your knees still work. Dance hard. Ride hard. Play with swords more. Go on a mission. Go places un-looked-for and virgin. Breathe in beauty. Breathe.

12. Be intrepid. Do more things that scare you and take your breath away. You'll need the stories for later, and of course they'll all need to be true. You do some things and have great experiences. Do more.

13. Remember to enjoy life the age you are right now. And every age. Later might sound all rosy, but its got its poisonous slugs and poo piles.

14. You should know that some day you'll actually have your own dog, write lots of books, have six kids, win 3rd place in a nation-wide sword-fighting tournament, swim with sharks, watch eagles up close, sing in Carlsbad Caverns, go caving, go to Ireland and back to Europe and Alaska and several other places. You'll love and laugh and anguish and plan and worry and live.

15. Try to develop more common ground than just sword-fighting. He'll move on to computer games from there rather quickly, and those are hard to play with him.

16. Support him even when he fails to support you. Maybe it'll rub off.

17. Don't ever complain if he complements you. Just tell him thank you and revel in it. And keep every single thing he ever writes to you.

18. Be excellent.

19. Just love him. He isn't recycle-able and thus toss-able. When you make that final decision to say I do, you have to know what all comes with that so that later you don't say, "I don't," or "I wish I hadn't." This is for all the marbles, Baby. Make sure he knows that too.


  1. So many wise words in there.

    One of my favorite quotes is:
    Remember that while you're looking for your ideal, that s/he's looking for hers/his too.

    So make sure you're the kind of person your ideal would want to be with.

  2. I like that, Donna. So often we lose sight of that. Thank you...:o)