Did you ever write in a journal? I'm not referring to your first "diary" that had a lock on it, that contained your deepest darkest, third grade dramas. I mean a journal that you wrote in when life was just starting to get interesting. High school, college, those years.
I had a huge notebook that served as my journal for the high school years and my friend Sara upgraded me to a real journal when I graduated from high school. Obviously the book like journal is holding up much better than the spiral bound notebook and I'm so glad Sara thought to give me a really nice book for my post graduation journaling. Those entries are much more entertaining to read than the high school stuff.
So that leads me to my next question. If you did keep a journal, have you ever taken time to go back and read the stuff you wrote? I do it all the time. The high school stuff is embarrassing to re-read. My immaturity blatantly jumps right off the pages. I was pitifully stupid and practically soaked, head to toe, with drama. Most of those pages are painful to read. I want to hop in a Delorian equipped with a flex capacitor and go back to 1995 and smack myself. Honestly it just scares the crap out of me because I am currently raising two girls and quietly dreading the teenage years. I beg my daughters, please be smater than me!!!!
The "college" journal (Beauty school totally counts as college) is where the good stuff is. A lot of it was written in a drunken stupor at two in the morning, but it's pure comedy to read it back as a somewhat stable adult. Yes, it's also embarrassing to re-read, but if you sift through the stupidity, you can see little hints of a smart adult starting to unfold. I had a clear idea of what I wanted my immediate future to look like and in so many ways, it all turned out better than I'd hoped.
The hardest parts to read are the on again, off again boyfriend dramas. I wasted so much time in a dead end relationship and the worst part about it was that I knew how horrible the relationship was while I floundered in and out of it. I had very little hope that I'd ever meet someone that would be the right fit for me. I was certain that I would absolutely have to settle, from day one, if I ever wanted to get married. I believed that I couldn't truly just be myself and find real love that was fit for me. I aspired to it, but for whatever reason I didn't believe I'd ever find it.
That didn't stop me from going out with a wild spectrum of guys. Let me add that all these dudes are the absolute highlight of that journal. I met some of Ogden's most charismatic bar flies. Guys with lots of swag and game. Guys that would have been perfect for me if they'd just avoided a few bad decisions prior to our meeting. But that's life right. That's what everyone means when they say that the "timing" just wasn't right. It's so true. Timing plays such huge role in the world of love and relationships. You have to meet when the timing is right or it just won't have a chance to unfold properly.
I ran out of pages in my college journal at the exact right time. The book ends just after I met my future husband, Dave. It's a happy ending I'd say (after 10+ years of marriage I sometimes question that statement). I found a great guy and learned the major lesson that would finish that chapter in my life. I figured out that you don't have to settle. When you meet "the one", you won't have to work at making it work. You'll fall in love and the first few years should basically be a love tranced, breeze (the work phase of the relationship will come later). You won't have to play all the dumb games. If Dave wanted to talk to me, he called me. If he wanted to see me, he'd tell me. He wanted to be with me all the time and I wanted to be with him all the time. What a simple, yet refreshing concept. We wanted each other at the same time! This is the magic glue that is so tough to find in the "dating" world. The timing was right. Are we perfect? Not even a little bit, but ultimately we both must want to be together, because we are.
If a relationship is hard in the beginning, I'm afraid you'll have very little hope of it ever getting easier. Grown up life and kids will complicate your relationship enough. You have to have some sort of foundation that is solid. Life will get tough. Marriage will make you long to punch your spouse in the face from time to time. But going back and reading that old journal helps me remember what life was really like before I met an uncomplicated, great guy. That's my foundation.
Give your kid journal. Let them teach themselves a lesson.