EX. HAUSTED.
Another one for the Compelled To Update Despite Lack Of Update-Worthy Information file

What might have been

One side effect of writing 27,000 words about teenagers in 9 days (SO FAR!) is that you spend an awful lot of time thinking about being a teenager. Not just any teenager, mind you, but the teenager you once were. I don't think I have to explain why this is not always a fun place to be.

In addition! One side effect of being a rabid Mad Men fan is understanding that you have no choice but to stay up late to watch the season finale in real time, a privilege not afforded to any other show. (How people manage to watch The Biggest Loser in real time is BEYOND ME.) Which meant I was up another hour after THAT decreeing [SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!] that I shall NEVER get divorced EVER EVER EVER and WOE and SNIFF and WAH and can we have Season 4 now please?

Actually, Phillip and I stayed up talking about What Ifs. I'm not sure we've ever had that conversation before. Who we might be married to if we weren't married to each other. What we might be doing, how we might see life differently. Kind of a scary dangerous place to go, right? But it was actually kind of fun, which I think means that we are fairly confident in each other and our relationship. Whew!

It was just a strange and swirly combination of all the things I've been thinking about over the last week. I've been living in Teenage Girl Brain where you think you're going to marry your high school boyfriend, or sometimes you get a whiff of Reality and resign yourself to visualizing who you WILL marry and of course he will be all these THINGS. And you will go certain places and do certain things and live with these goals in mind and PEOPLE. Phillip is NOT what I pictured when I was fifteen! Or even twenty, for that matter, when I was sitting around waiting for him to realize I existed.

I think I've written before about sitting up one night, mere months away from my wedding, and having the slightest of panic attacks because it had only then occurred to me that Phillip was missing a few of the Required Attributes. Basically I was sitting there wringing the sheets over the fact that Phillip did not (and does not, alas) read novels. How could I marry someone who DOESN'T READ BOOKS?!?!?!

In the end (which was only an hour or two later, THANK GOD, we all know I can let these sorts of things DRAG ON) I realized that even if I found a nice guy who read books and measured up in all the other designated areas, I would still want Phillip. Problem solved. Bring on the marriage!

But until last night I'd never heard Phillip's take on the exact same subject. VERRRRY INTERESTING! Apparently, and SURPRISE!, I am not exactly who he imagined EITHER! Shocker! He had always imagined for himself a career-oriented Asian-American girl. My thoughts immediately flew to the more, ah, successful couples we know: people who have important or at least importantish jobs and disposable income, the female half of whom would not be happy as a full time stay at home mother. Maybe this is weird but I can totally see Phillip living that life. I think, in a lot of ways, he'd have an easier time of it if I were 1) profit-driven and 2) Asian and 3) WAS MORE LIKE HIM.

And since I can't just let something go, I had to share what I'd pictured: an artsier fartsier type of guy, someone who not only read novels but liked to stay up late talking about them, who worked but knew work was only for funding travel and creative pursuits. In other words, someone MORE LIKE ME.

Phillip was pretty adamant about how it was RIGHT that he married me. I am the right person for him. He went on and on about how he's always pretty slow to make big decisions (OH REALLY?) but he'd never been slow about me. (A point we debated due to the aforementioned Waiting For Him To Realize I Existed which he then rebutted with some valid points I won't bore you with, at least not in this post, and now I agree.) While I, of course, was wishier washier and went off on my whole "but I CHOSE you" theory and "soul mates shmole mates!" blah blah blah. The fact is, we don't know what life would be like had we married other people. (IF we had married other people. It's not like I had a throng of suitors banging impatiently on my door.)

That said, I am not sorry I don't know. I feel like it turned out pretty well, don't you?

Teenage Girl Brain doesn't know this, though. Sure, some of us marry our high school sweethearts, but most of us don't. Most of us go out with total boneheads and immature jerks and spend many a night despairing that anyone will ever love us, that anyone will ever really KNOW us. I've been living in that place for nine days, and it made last night's conversation that much sweeter. 

P.S. As we were trying to describe The Person We Thought We'd Marry, Phillip paused, trying to find the right word, and I proffered: "someone with a work ethic?" Because GOD KNOWS I couldn't care less about a career, I'm anti-9 to 5 and completely stymied by people who answer work calls after hours. And Phillip, because he is the best husband in the WORLD even though he thinks the EXACT OPPOSITE of those thigns said, "No, you have a work ethic, just not for PAID work." Which is TOTALLY DIFFERENT, right? Maybe I can stop beating myself up about the lazy? Because: nine days, 27,000 words. Some of you may chalk that up to "obsessive" instead, but I hereby lift the self-imposed lifetime guilt sentence for apparent lack of work ethic. WOO!

Comments

Manda

I think it's so funny that someone had to ALERT you when Molly was being mildly social (or do we call it tolerant? not really sure but WHATEVER, she was showing GROWTH! GO MOLLY!). Also? I prefer desserts of which I can eat copious amounts without getting too full or feeling like throwing up. So your cheesecake would do perfectly HERE I COME.

Manda

Dude I'm so glad that I didn't marry the man I made up in my journal in middle school. I would have been missing out on A LOT! Also the above comment was for the previous post I hope you've figured it out by now. I MUST GET TO BED.

HereWeGoAJen

I always wonder who I would have married too. But since I couldn't possibly have married anyone else...

Christiana

Plus, of course the non-paid mothering you do... It's not just your writing, you know!

I would LOVE to have that conversation in detail w/ my husband. We've talked about where we would be if we hadn't gotten married, but never who we thought we would have married. Huh. I'm guess you just gave me fodder for one of those "we're about to go to sleep, how about a philosophical discussion?" conversations.

Holly

I loved this because every once in a while I get a little panicky because Garrett doesn't like to read, and holy moses, I never saw myself marrying a non-reader.
Garrett only occasionally listens to audio books when he is cleaning the house. But then I realize -- OH MY GOD HE LISTENS TO AUDIOBOOKS WHEN HE CLEANS THE HOUSE -- and I remind myself that, hello, that's a keeper.

Jess

This is SO INTERESTING. And such a good point about wanting to be with someone even if someone else who checked every box on your list came along! I need to have this conversation with T.

Christina

twenty seven THOUSAND?! Good God woman you are ON FIRE! (I did Nano, so I KNOW how hard it is to keep churning out the word count!) And I totally agree with Philip, there are different work styles and just because a 9-5 office job sounds like your own personal hell does not mean you lack a good work ethic. We won't go into what it means when you spend the entire morning surfing the web while the dishes are stacked in the sink... I prefer to tell myself I'm just imitating all the bored office workers I know. :-)

Lisa

That is an interesting conversation. My husband, too, is very different from me in hobbies and some interests, but we share a faith and the same world view/politics, so it works. In fact, it's better because he's strong in areas that I'm weak and vice versa. It fits.

Elaine

This cracks me up becuase I also thought I'd marry somebody who likes to read novels and discuss them but, like you, I married a button pusher/computer babysitter instead. Well, okay, he doesn't really push too many buttons any more, just manages a team of button pushers now. But still, I wouldn't change anything.

Elsha

I don't know that I ever had an "ideal man" that I thought I was going to marry, but I did SERIOUSLY think I was going to marry my high school boyfriend. (As did pretty much everyone else; we were together for 4 1/2 years.) But we broke up and now when I look at my husband I think THANK HEAVENS. Things defnitely worked out as they should have.

Lindsay

I love this post. That is all.

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