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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Climb Under My Wing

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...


Sharpest Pencil said...

I have younger girls look at me and ask me what skincare products I use so that they can studiously avoid them. I have no wisdom but a lot of wrinkles

Nomie said...

I'm not sure Im the right role model... I still go out, I still see bands... I still wear green nail polish... then again, perhaps thats a good thing? Who knows!
As for how do you know someone is the one - for me it was the fact I just couldn't think of my life without him in it (I was engaged & living with my then fiance when we met) ... and yes, it was love at first sight... that was 1992!

Ami said...

I always looked up to my Aunty who is only 14 years older than me. We used to spend most of my school holidays together, and she's always been more like a big sister. In the online world I love reading other people's experiences and advice, especially here, and other sites like Mamamia. Jodie you've already educated me on the Billings Method!!

On 'the one' topic, I agree with Nomie, I just couldn't imagine my life without my hubby. On our 2nd day together I remember saying to myself, I think this is it, I think I'm going to marry this one. 8 weeks later we moved in together!

Michelle said...

The first place I worked the ladies shook their head and often said 'you'll understand one day' they were only a few years older than me. I don't remember ever really having someone answer my questions - they more said things like 'wait til your my age'. - not very helpful to an 18 year old.
I love what you've said here - it's a reminder that we do need to watch out for younger girls and be aware and open to them asking questions and giving them heart felt responses.

MegsyJ said...

At 29 I have been asked this question already, which freaks me out and makes me feel a little older. My younger brother (19) has just started going out with a girl he really really likes, and was asking me how he'd know. He's having some 'trust' issues with this girl though - I think just because of his own insecurities rather than anything she's doing - so I talked to him about all that.

It's a big responsibility, this giving advice business!

miss carly said...

im glad you felt so honoured hun. and your honesty to my question just summed everything up so perfectly.

{jeebus you had me in tears over that post knowing that you felt so honoured}