Nick and I did the whole “done thing” when we got married.
- Big, expensive wedding? (tick)
- Short – but expensive – honeymoon? (tick)
- Newly purchased home? (tick)
- Newly purchased car? (tick)
- New baby? (tick)
- Fill house with lots of stuff? (tick)
- Get into debt due to all the newly purchased stuff? (tick)
- Work like pig-dogs to pay the bills? (tick)
- Add another baby? (tick)
- Send kids to daycare while pig-dogging around the clock to pay bills? (tick)
And on and on it goes…
So yes. We’ve done the “done” thing.
And, you know what?
I don’t regret it. It has been an interesting season of our lives and we’ve learned a LOT. If I regret anything – it’s a couple of crazy-stupid business decisions we made (we’re still trying to come to terms with how much money we flushed down the toilet during 2007)… but, as they say: you live – you learn – you grow – and so on…
But that season is now over.
I feel no obligation to drag it out indefinitely. We don’t want to live in suburbia any more. I don’t even believe in this idealistic, Disney-esque version of “Happy Suburbia” promoted in the washing powder adverts and the estate agents’ glossy hand-outs. I think the whole thing’s a bit of a farce… the whole keeping-up-with-the-Joneses nonsense… the whole “corner office and flashy car” ideal… the whole “American Dream” thing (which, ironically, has been eagerly lapped up by disenchanted South Africans for years – many of whom believe that if they could only emigrate to America, they’d have the “Happily-Ever-After” life they always dreamed of). I actually think the whole thing is more than just a little bit bullshitty.
But that’s just me.
Personally – I couldn’t care less about big houses, flash cars and expensive watches. I care about family… health… love… meaningful relationships… being generous with our lives… and enjoying a general sense of happiness and fulfilment (especially within the context of our work). I think that – in general – folk spend WAY too much time, energy (and money) pursuing silly things like… handbags… or “hotness”.
(Actually – don’t even get me STARTED on the topic of “hotness”)
So… I wrote a new little song for the Mad Hatster’s Coffee Cabaret. The Citizen Cafe folks were the first to hear it. Here are the lyrics:
Shiny, happy people in their shiny, happy homes
Neat and smiley bankers have dished out a lotta loans
Brand-new sparkly minivans and pretty squares of lawn
All it makes me want to do is yawn
Make-up demonstrations in the Scout hall down the road
Afternoons devoted to soap opera episodes
School and jobs and cable are the staples of this life:
Work, eat, sleep and pay the bills on time
I don’t want the suburban lie
I don’t want to bake apple pie
I don’t want to dress my husband in a suitable suit and tie
I don’t want the white picket fence
Surrounding my orderly residence
I refuse to comply with the silly suburban lie
Every day’s the same as all the folk head out to work
Children sent to school to learn the rules and how to twerk
Traffic jams and bland routine the price that we must pay
But a Sandton shopping spree will save the day
I don’t want the suburban lie
I don’t want a shit job so I
can just pay the bills and make ends meet
until one day I die
I don’t want to go to my grave
regretting the choices that I have made
I refuse to comply with the silly suburban lie.
Okay… I’m now going to bed. The kids and I are staying with friends who treasure the small, simple beautiful moments of everyday life. In fact, on the table where I’m typing – there’s a spray of beautiful purple flowers in a vase (I would Instagram them – but it’s too dark). Our combined 4 kids have spent the day swimming, building lego creatures and playing hide-and-go-seek… and we (the adults) have enjoyed a lazy evening on the patio… with wine, veggie curry, a lovely salad and some nutty bread. An afternoon walk – hand-in-hand with my hubby… chatting with my friends while the summer rain starts drumming lightly on the roof… tucking my kids in to bed after stories and nuzzles… relaxing with a good TED talk and a cup of coffee… these (for me) are the little things that count. These are the things that matter.
Experiences. Relationships. Beauty. Belonging.
Not miserable routine… crappy jobs… and endless bill-paying.
Been there. Done that. Got the keychain… and MOVING ON…