- Travel with your sister(s) and/or closest female friends. Yes! I took my first airplane flight with college friends when I was 20 and visited one of them in the Bay Area; traveled with my college roommate to Boston, Washington DC, and across the country after graduating from college, and then to Japan and Thailand with her as well; visited my sister in China for Christmas and she came to visit me in Japan.
With my sister in Chengdu, China
- Suffer major heartbreak. Well, I had a few boyfriends and some heartbreak--not really major, but enough.
- Dump someone. Both of my serious boyfriends before Mike (one as a teen and one in college) broke up with me and then wanted to get back together, and I said no. Does that count?
- Get your finances in order. Well, I still owed a lot on my college loans when I got married (since I used the money I earned in Japan to travel rather than pay off my college loans)...but I had a job before the wedding...and am still at that same employer, 23-1/2 years later!
- Talk about your finances with your future spouse. Yes, we did that. At the time, Mike had the money and I was in debt! We used some of his savings to pay for our own wedding.
- Live alone or with roommates. I never lived completely on my own, but I lived off campus my senior year in college and with housemates during my three years in Japan.
- Live with your partner. I think I had the best of both worlds, because I had an apartment in Japan with a roommate but spent a lot of time at Mike's house.
- Have a summer fling. I had a summer fling at church camp when I was in junior high, but it was really only a kiss! He had the unfortunate name of Wayne.
- Learn how to cook. Absolutely. My mom trained me well.
- Splurge on yourself. I splurged on travel!
- Have at least one big blowout fight with your future spouse. Yes, we did that...it was at a party in Osaka, and it was our biggest fight ever, I think. I wouldn't let him go to bed until we made up...he knew he was in for it then, dating the daughter of two therapists! I still believe in never going to sleep angry.
- Date around. A bit...enough for my liking. I'm a monogamist.
- Face one of your biggest fears. I think going to Japan without speaking the language or having traveled abroad fits that bill.
First month in Wakayama, Japan
- Try having a friend with benefits. Well, my college boyfriend was my friend before we started dating (although we didn't have "benefits"), but I'm glad that didn't work out in the end!
- Focus on your education. I got my degree before I met the love of my life.
- Get started on making your career dreams come true. Refer to #5...I was starting when I got married.
- Decide how you feel about kids. I always knew I wanted kids, but I was ready before Mike was. Good thing I didn't wait for him, or I might still be waiting!
- Clean up your act--drink less, eat healthier, work out more. I didn't actually do that until after I had my first child, when I joined a gym. I recently rededicated myself to eating healthier and working out more.
- Get to know yourself. This is a process, of course, but going to college and traveling helped me get started. I married young, at age 25, so I was still developing myself.
|Mike in Udaipur, India, where we got engaged|
|With housemates and friends at PLU|
|In my Wakayama apartment|
|Cooking at my apartment in college|
|Splurging on travel (Bangkok, Thailand)|
I think these are instructive for either getting married or having children...because once you do either of these things, your life changes and your priorities do too. Do you think these things are important?