It recently occurred to me that perhaps, being the age I am (fast approaching 40) and with 3 young boys, that perhaps I've become some sort of example for the younger folk that surround me.
In my second ever job, as a receptionist for a real estate company, I worked with all women in the property management department. I was 18 years old when I started, and the youngest by far. I suppose, some girls may have found that boring, but not me. I found the lives of the other 5 women I worked with fascinating. (And I'd be lying if I said that the attention they gave me, being the 'baby' of the group, wasn't welcomed.) All except one had children, and watching them make decisions in their day to day life taught me a lot. (Both what I wanted from my own life, and how I wanted to live it; and on the flip side of that, what I didn't want from my own life, and how I didn't want to live it - but I'll post more on that another time.)
And I felt protected by them. At work, they were like surrogate mums to me. They cared for me, watched over me, gave me advice, support and encouragement. It was both little things (like one who had the most beautiful hands - she put sunscreen on them every day - I so WISH I had done that - too lazy!) as well as the big things (like the importance of choosing the right partner in life).
Looking back, I was very lucky to have them. The late teens and early 20s can be a difficult time in a young woman's life - searching for who you are, who you want to be with - both relationship and friendship wise. These women witnessed my crushes and eventual start of my relationship with my Hubby. They witnessed all of my ups and downs, and I opened up to them. Most of them anyway.
In particular, there were two women I mostly gelled with and looked up to with much admiration. I still do. I haven't seen them in a long time, but still exchange Christmas cards with one, but their effect on who I am today has been noteworthy.
And then fairly recently, a young girl I know in her 20s asked me about my relationship with Hubby. She just wondered how I knew he was "the one".
I felt very honoured that she had thought to ask me this question. In a relationship herself for some time, she wanted to be certain she was on the right track in terms of how she felt about her boyfriend. And I felt a great responsibility to provide her with the most honest, heartfelt response I could. And I hope that I helped her with that.
And it later dawned on me that I have now become like the women that I worked with all those years ago. The older, more life experienced woman that perhaps the younger generation may look to from time to time for answers.
I'm not sure I'll always have all those answers, but I'll certainly try to help as much as I can. I just hope that I can provide them with as much support as my ex-work colleagues did for me.
How about you? Did you have certain women/men you looked up to when you were in your 20s? Do you now have younger women/men who look to you for advice (other than your kids, of course)? Or, if you're in your 20s, do you have someone you look to for answers to your own questions?
Until next time...