Jarrod and I have been dating since 2003, which is a whole fifteen years of hanging out together. As Valentine’s Day rolls by, it’s got me thinking about how our dates have evolved over the years.
We started out as friends at campus and would hang out all the time (much to the detriment of my grades, sorry Mum and Dad but at least I married him! haha!). We were the stereo typical broke students so even when we spent time together it was very low key. Our dates were simple and gifts were more thoughtful than expensive. Walks off campus to get ice cream or burgers from Steers were some of the things that we really looked forward to and those long walks back are how we got to know each other so well. We spent more time talking and laughing than we did going places. I miss those days. As with most things, we didn’t appreciate how simple life was back then.
Jarrod started working before me and his first purchase was a car. Suddenly our dating life was upgraded. We could actually go places! Saturdays became Date Days and I would wait all week to see him. I was finishing up my degree at the time and being at campus without him, especially after having spent all our time together,was horrible. I hated it.
Remember, this was before smart phones and video calling. Mxit was our Whatsapp back then. Anyway, we became mall rats and would spend most Saturdays watching a movie, eating out or spending time with friends. It was all very exciting (yes, I led a sheltered life)! Quite a bit of planning would go into these dates and probably more money than we should have spent. I wish we had thought to buy Apple shares back then…
Once we got married we were like kids in a candy store. We lived a road away from Gateway so we could (and did) literally walk across whenever we felt like doing something. Dating took on a whole different meaning though because now we were back together every day. The anticipation of Saturday was no longer there and in a way we stopped appreciating it as much because we lived together. Now the inverse was happening and we spent Saturdays visiting our parents and siblings.
At the same time, we grew to LOVE not going out. There is a deep sense of happiness and contentment that comes from watching movies in your pjs at home as opposed to dressing up to go somewhere. Especially when you are on your own couch in your own home, your little cave hidden away from the rest of the world. I think back now and honestly, I can’t for the life of me remember what we did with all our free time. We must have watched a lot of series I think. If I could relive any stage in my life it would be this one. We had independence and very little responsibility.
At almost 35…
How our lives have changed since then. Becoming a parent puts things into perspective so fast it will make your head spin. You learn to prioritize and then to balance those priorities out so that you don’t devote ALL your time to your kids. This may sound selfish but you need to save a part of yourself for your partner because your relationship is the foundation that your family is built upon and it has to be strong. To do that, you have to remember who you were before the kids came along and hold onto that person.
These days our dates include watching movies with earphones on so that we don’t wake the girls or sitting with a cup of tea and chatting in the lounge. It’s not as fancy but it is every bit as special to me. I know it sounds terribly business like but I have specific days that I allocate to us. I have to or life gets in the way. Wednesday and Sunday nights are our time to put our laptops aside, ignore the tidying up (unless its hectic then we HAVE to clean up first or I get a nervous twitch) and just hang out. We catch up with what is happening in our lives that we didn’t get a chance to mention in the chaos of the day. Sometimes we plan for the future. Mostly though, talk about our girls and how they constantly amaze and amuse us. It’s our time to reconnect.
What happens now?
We very rarely go out on actual dates now, in fact, the only chance we get is when my folks visit from Durban about 3 times a year. It has become such an odd occurrence in fact, that we don’t know what to do when we do get the chance. We’ll probably spend our next date grabbing a coffee and just chatting in the car I think. It’s too much pressure on that one day to make it awesome and to be fair, we already have awesome.
P.S. Sorry about the terrible picture quality, we were living the Blackberry life back then so our walk down nostalgia lane is a bit fuzzy.