It’s 11:00pm on a school night, two bottles of wine in, when we both suddenly realise that the only blog either of us should write is the one we write together. My single, working professional, no-nonsense in the city (let’s just be clear, not by choice) kind of ways, juxtapositioned against Junket’s – mother of two, full-time employee, besotted husband in tow lifestyle.
To be honest I thought it would be an early night. I didn’t think we’d be power-planning a whole new era in our lives. Rather I had been operating on the naïve assumption that all parents were sleep deprived and that I was therefore guaranteed a fun, but early night. Which suited me just fine. At 43, if I’m not in bed by 10pm, I’m cactus the next day (and with my first meeting was at 8:30am, I knew when I crawled into bed at 0130am that I was going to hurt). Junket on the other hand had the staying power of, well… a parent.
But it was only when Junket asked me to pass across her bag that I realise how different our lives have become. How far we are from the girls who met ten years ago at the coffee machine (in the days when I didn’t actually drink coffee and my body was still metabolising like a 15 year old). I could barely lift her (gorgeous Oroton BTW) “it’s got everything in it my family needs to survive Armageddon” bag, which next to mine, a little black Furla, stripped of all but the basics (because when you are single and have no responsibilities after working hours, you can afford to do that), reminded me of the differences in our lives now.
And so I made a stupid bet – surely now I would be able to beat the Queen of the Lipstick and have more lip smothering goodness in my bag, as small as it was, than she did. I am known for being the girl who re-applies her gloss on the hour every hour and to have tried and tossed lipsticks, lipglosses and lipbalms faster than the market can produce them. I have something for my lips in every jacket, every vestibule and every location I regularly visit. Lipgloss is my luxury item – it’s what shoes are to other women. (fyi, I hate shoe shopping – but mainly because despite being 5”3’ I have size 8 ½ feet. I like to think it’s why I’m so grounded.)
Surely in favour of all the trappings of a working mother – nappies, dummies and small noise making toys – Junket would have had to relinquish valuable lipgloss space. The only lipstick in there would be the fiery red she was wearing. This was a sure bet. So I had no hesitation in laying out the contents of my bag. Lipsmacking goodness count for Fluffy: 4.
It was essential that I, Junket, won that bet. I don’t normally gamble, my attitude being that you don’t gamble what you can’t afford to lose. And I couldn’t afford to lose this.
This bet was centred around who I once was.
The carefree girl in her 20s, waitressing to put herself through uni. Working the evening cocktail shift until 2am… then staying out until the 5:30am breakfast shift, because she couldn’t afford the taxi home and back.
It was a time when I learnt the difference between ‘sparkling wine and ‘champagne’. Not because I could afford to buy it, but because I was trained to taste the difference. (Fair to say that many a man has rued me having that knowledge.)
It was also a time when I was almost crippled with self-doubt, obsessed with my weight and when I stayed awake at night desperately wishing I knew what my future held so that I could start moving down that path. I questioned whether I was studying the right uni course (turned out, no). Whether I would be waitressing forever (also thankfully, no) and whether the man I was engaged to and who was snoring beside me would one day be my husband (hell no!).
But during that time of fearful uncertainty, freedom and excitement – there had been one constant. I always had multiple lipsticks in my handbag. A hue and texture for every outfit, every eventuality.
Once I became a Mummy though, I found myself sacrificing lipstick space for nappies, toys, dummies, books, spare toddler undies, rusks, dried apple. Until one day, in trying to fit in more for my children, I forgot my phone, wallet and Filofax. The core components of the handbag-of-my-life. But the heavier my bag had became, the less room there was in it for… me. Just as I had made less time in my life for myself.
So I culled. And the lipsticks went back in. And it felt good.
So when I poured my bag out on the table in front of Fluffy this is what it looked like:
Our Missive: Our bags might look different, but there are some things we both agree on; to be the best you can be you have to search out happiness and let go of the small stuff. You have to find ways to laugh more (loudly), play more (openly), and be authentic and honest, both to yourself and to those you love. And along the way, you need to surround yourself with positive people who appreciate what they have… including you.
And every now and then you have to remember who you were in your twenties – and if you are still in your twenties – you need to know that you won’t always be. Focus on the good, the love, the values you hold. Remember the bad, the tough times and take away the lessons. Hold back the judgment and put a time-out on worrying about things you can’t change.
We believe in embracing who you are, because who you are is pretty awesome. Even if there is baby vomit on your lapel or you’ve been single so long the only thing your smacking your lips against is your lipgloss.
Remember, life is too short not to drink champagne.
Love, happiness and bubbles
Fluffy and Junket
P.S. – Junket won the bet.