Thursday was the anniversary of our wedding day.
39 years of wedded bliss!
Today, we have simply forgotten how exhausted we used to feel with 6 young kids in our twenties and early thirties, mortgaged up to our eyeballs!
Pete doing shiftwork as a clinical nurse, me tearing up and down kilometres of gravel roads taking the kids to school busses… keeping up with our businesses to pay the bills.
These enterprises included living on a farm with livestock, a protea plantation, rare garlic collections, plants and herb nursery.. and finally in 2000 the grand opening of our wellness centre in Forth.
Together we survived floods, droughts and bushfires, metaphorically speaking.
We fought and flailed, loved and hated, wilted and flourished our way through nearly 4 decades of being in the business of marriage together.
I’ve concluded if you treat your marriage as a business, you probably have a happier life.
As a business owner, you don’t leave things up to chance.
You pay your dues on time. You make sure your clients and employees are looked after.
You anticipate their needs.
You want to make a difference.
You put systems in place that reduce human error.
You plan, scheme and do your projections for the near and far future.
When something doesn’t work, you have a meeting and you implement changes.
Sounds like a recipe for success doesn’t it!
Yet when it comes to the most important relationship in our life, we simply expect to wing it.
When ‘winging it’ didn’t work for us, Pete and I didn’t take a helicopter view of our situation like we do with our business.
We didn’t bring in mentors or coaches…
No, Peter used to withdraw into himself (this could last for days) and I would argue and froth around the mouth.
Eventually we would make up, but not till we had chipped huge chunks off each other’s egos and self-esteem.
We equally floundered our way through parenthood.
Today I am happy to tell you that it all comes out in the washing.. as long as you have some key ingredients right.
And we want to share some of these things here tonight..
Things we wished we had known 40, 30 or 20 years ago:
1. The glue that keeps everything together in a relationship as well as business is….Humanity!
By that, we mean that at the end of the day, we are all human, trying to do our very best…
Brene Brown did a famous study on shame and vulnerability.
We all hate to feel ashamed or vulnerable but according to Brene, shame and vulnerability are the glue that connects us as communities and families.
So always give yourself permission to be authentic. You are loved for your essence.
Your spouse didn’t choose you because they want you to be perfect, sexy, funny or composed all the time.
You are uniquely loveable because of your flaws as much as your gifts (not despite).
Your kids need to see your ugly sides as much as your beautiful sides.
They need to see your tears, your fears and misgivings, your hopes, your disappointments and your heartbreaks.
That gives them permission to be human as well.
2. Dream big. The more challenging or despairingly difficult your life is, the bigger your dreams need to be.
Your dreams need to be so big that they feel completely unrealistic, like moving Mount Everest with a garden fork.
Your dreams and visions for your life need to overarch any of your circumstances, almost like a pyramid structure.
You know how the energy inside the pyramid preserves the material inside it… well, that is how your dreams preserve you in likewise manner.
When your dream or mission is much bigger than you can possibly handle yourself, the universe steps in to help you and magic starts to unfold.
You suddenly get energy from somewhere, ideas flood in and help arrives from unexpected corners.
This takes a bit of faith, but believe me, it worked for us and it will for you too.
Dare to dream bigger than anyone else around you. If people don’t call you crazy, you are not dreaming big enough.
3. Live every day as if it is your last.
When you are deciding what to wear, or where to eat, or whether to call your friend or not, ask yourself what you would do if today was your last day.
4. Paradoxically, plan every day as if you have another 50 years up your sleeve.
For instance, I am 58, and I could quite realistically live till I am 95.
That means I am only halfway through my adult life.
If I am going to live another 40 years, I’d better make sure I drink enough water today, eat well, have my life enhancing supplements and take my iodine.
Every year we have a new body, so that means I still have another 40 bodies in me.
E.g, I love a glass of wine occasionally. But last year I started to notice that occasionally was turning into every night, and then one glass became two and so on.
So I decided to stop, because I plan to look after my marbles and liver as best as I can.
However, if I knew that I would only have tonight to live, I would probably crack open a bottle of champagne right now and enjoy it with Pete and kids. See the wisdom here?
5. Never stop growing and evolving.
Every day I ask myself: what am I not seeing here… is there anything I am missing in this situation, that if I could see it, would change/improve my life dramatically?
This is a good question for all aspects of your life, business, love-life, your health and your personal development.
Some other great questions to ask yourself every day are: How can I grow? It is natural to grow. Trees never stop growing. If they do, it’s a sign they have died on the inside.
Pete and I are not planning to shrink our brains as we age, we are actively planning to remain modern elders at work.
We want to keep working, because it fuels our passions and fills our tanks and we have so much to give and receive.
Some other questions are: what can I give?
And remind yourself everyday: what can I celebrate?
Don’t fall into the trap of taking anything for granted.
You are special and every moment you walk this earth is a special moment, whether you realise it or not.
6. Stop worrying what others think about you.
Pete and I have a ritual where we look each other in the eye and repeat the words: “I don’t give a f*** what you think about me!”
We normally don’t swear, so this statement really shakes up our nervous system and the message reverberates into our cells nice and deep.
And that is good.
We have wasted too many years stifling each other; worrying and thinking what the other would think or how much they would or wouldn’t want us to do something. We really enjoy this newfound sense of freedom.
I am accountable to myself and I expect Peter to be the same.
7. Love yourself unconditionally first and all the rest falls into place.
Pete and I only learnt this in the last decade and it has been the icing on the cake.
Actually, the commitment to loving yourself unconditionally is the bedrock or success.
We learnt this in the closing chapter of our lives, and we want you to know that loving yourself unconditionally needs to be the first thing you learn and need to commit to.
For instance Pete is much easier to love and to be around when he is loving himself than when he is being hard on himself….
… and the same goes for me. Fill your own tanks first.
Give yourself the best part of the day to spend in reflection or introspection.
Love yourself for failing, making mistakes, being a slow learner, for suffering, hurting, for being human, for tripping up, for not loving yourself, and so on.
Whatever arises for you and inside you, heal it with a homeopathic drop of self love (it is free) and watch your life take a dramatic turn for the better!
Love your immune system…..
Love your cancer cells…..
Love your fat rolls. ….
Love your wrinkles..
Love your addictive habits….
Love everything about yourself….
And life will rise up to meet you!
BIG LOVE TO YOU ALL XOXOXO PETE & GRADA