Cecily wrote a great post about the 5 things that shaped her, and invited us to do the same, so without further ado, herewith my 5 things…
- Killing my pet Tortoise by accident – I was all of 4 years old, we (my sister and I) got this cute tortoise as a gift and I loved that little thing! It was winter and I wanted to make sure that Tortie (highly original name I know) was kept snug and warm and safe outside so I got a blankie from my cupboard, wrapped him up tight and put him in the newly constructed box house in the deepest darkest part of the garden. I never realised that he would not be able to squirm out of the blankie. I left him warm and safe and forgot to check on him. My Mom often asked if we had seen Tortie during the course of that winter but tortoises have a habit of “getting lost” and wandering so we assumed he had walked merrily out of our garden. Our gardener found Tortie the next summer still wrapped up tight in his blankie (cold weather stopped the decomopsistion of his body so no smell). I was devastated as I remembered having wrapped him up at that moment. I learnt to always find out the proper way to care for our animals and got an early lesson in “every action has an equal and positive reaction”. I still feel guilt over Tortie.
- Attending 12 schools in 12 years of schooling – this is quite a feat when one considers that from halfway of Standard 6 (Grade 8) to Matric (Grade 12) I was in one school. My father was in the military, and we moved A LOT. Especially in our younger years. I attended self teach schools, nice schools, bad schools and at one stage for about 5 months even no school. Many people ask me if this was highly disruptive in my life and I can honestly say no. I think because we moved mostly in the younger years when children are more accepting and clicks are not really formed I learnt more to be open and more outgoing than I would have been if we had not moved around a lot. I made friends easily and learnt to judge others much more accurately from this experience. I also learnt that I loved a diversity of people which is still a huge part of who I am today.
- Skydiving – I decided to skydive when I was 18 years old. It was one of my first major ADULT decisions. I did a tandem jump at the local skydiving club and only realised how much I freaked my parents out by doing this after the euphoria of the jump wore off. They realised I *could* die doing this – I never entertained that possibility. But they did, and they still let me jump out of a perfectly working plane. They trusted me enough to let me do the one thing that scared the crap out of them. That act of selfless love and trust is what I hope I can give to my children one day.
- My folks splitting up – my folks had always had a volatile relationship. Mix and Irishman with a Scotswoman by descent and you’re bound to have some fireworks. They fought a lot, made up a lot and had what I thought was a solid marriage. And I suppose for a long time it was. But it stopped being that. And they split up. I can honestly say it shook me to the core! Here I was a measly 2 years into my own marriage (one that I hoped would “make it” like theirs had) and they split up. Poor Cliff, he had to deal with a lot of “we better make sure we don’t end up like that” and “promise me we’ll work whatever is going on in our marriage out” and “my whole image of marriage is a sham, what are we going to do”… But they are better people without each other. Sure they are lonelier now, but all in all better off. I learnt that things are not always what they seem and that one needs to work HARD at your relationship.
- Meeting, dating and marrying Cliff– I was SO not interested in men when I met Cliff. Not sexually, but I had just barely recovered from a nasty incident with a stalker and was in the “men suck” frame of mind. Meeting Cliff was a funny story, but suffice it to say there was instant chemistry. He was persistant too and got my number off a friend and we went on a date. I knew after date 3 that we were going to get married. It took him 2 years to figure it out. But marry me he did, and I am SO blessed. Sure we fight (we fight quite a bit) but it is always over quickly and we work through our issues. God knows a lesser man would not have put up with the infertililty, lack of sex life, bitchiness, mood swings and general craziness that is life married to Sam. But for some reason he does. I have learnt that I do actually deserve to be happy and to live out my life with the one person who loves me, frustrates me, fights with me, makes up with me etc etc. He makes me a better person in many ways, but I also make him a better man in many ways. And we work for each other. I learn from our relationship everyday and cannot wait to see what else we have in store for each other.
So there you have it! 5 major things that shaped my life and who I am today.