With 15yrs invested in a high-paced corporate career, Julie’s life changed drastically after facing her alcoholism and being involved in a car accident. This recovering alcoholic Mom/Wife shares her journey with raw honesty in a humorous, shoot from the hip approach. Julie reminds us that we can find Serenity amidst the chaos of life. Read more at www.soberjulie.com.
When I was 16 and pictured my life in my late 30’s I certainly wouldn’t have seen it as it is today.
I’m not saying I wish my life were different, but what 16 year old pictures the day-to-day fun of cleaning up after children, a husband and a naughty dog? Seriously, how many times can you find discarded juice boxes and moldy bowls under a couch before you go Mommy Dearest on their asses?
At 16 I hadn’t even had my first boyfriend let alone pictured what it’s like trying to sleep beside another human being every night. You people who speak dreamily about snuggling through the night live in a galaxy with unicorns and purple glitter in my eyes… but I digress.
The summer of my 16th year had me proudly driving my father’s Honda around town with my friends blaring my music as loud as that factory stereo could get. The shellacked wall of hair which was my bangs bumped against the roof of the car as I grooved along with the likes of Soul II Soul, Snap and Bobby Brown. Driving through McDonalds while smoking and Voguing like the divas we thought we were was an art we’d perfected well.
That summer was one of my favorites; I was ridiculously self-absorbed confident and just knew I would be successful in life. I would sit in my very fashionable hot pink and black bedroom at night looking through magazines nurturing visions of my future life living in the fast lane. My visions of my high-faulting career and that immaculate loft in the city are a far cry from our not so spotless 3 bedroom bungalow in suburbia today.
Oh I’d love to sit with my younger self and have a chat; just having a few hours to give myself a heads up would save me so much heartache and wasted time. Wouldn’t we all like to smack our younger selves’ up-side the head at various points? It would save loads of money in therapy…
“Listen Julie, don’t spaz when you realize your first love cheats on you with a friend…no it’s not the end of the world and it’s no excuse for you to go all stalker on him. Psycho-ex drive by’s aren’t cute.”
“Just because a guy physically pushes you in a bar it’s not cool to break his nose… funny but not cool.”
“High-waisted jeans won’t ever look good on you, no matter what your Mum says.”
“Go to your high-school graduation instead of going to the beach… it would be cool to have a photo in cap and gown.”
“Don’t ever taste tequila… it’s the devil and it lures you in and takes over your mind.”
“When you’re in your 20’s and dating men based upon their bank accounts, remember men over 50 could be your father…you will live to regret that.”
Ah, so many things to tell my younger self but the most important would have to include my husband and children.
“When you meet a really nice guy at 27 whose name starts with B and he asks you how many guys you’ve slept with…divide by 2.”
“Don’t show B your crazy party girl side early in your relationship…and don’t refuse to do dishes because every civilized human has a dishwasher.”
“On your wedding day don’t drink single malt scotch early in the morning followed by hours of champagne.”
“Pregnancy stretch mark cream is a farce”
“You’re going to hurt your 7 day baby, you’ll nip her little finger when you cut her nails…don’t scream like a banshee and frighten her half to death.”
“Burp pads with baby vomit on them go moldy when you ignore them for 5 days and buy more instead of doing laundry.”
“When you are pretending to be asleep as your toddler creeps into your room in the morning, don’t crack open an eye to see if she’s still there, she has the patience of a bloody lioness.”
“You’ll never find true personal fulfillment in your career….no matter how hard you work or how well you succeed, you’re a softie at heart.”
Thing is that I can’t actually imagine 16 year old Julie would take any of this in. I know I was obnoxious enough to nod politely while thinking how full of shit this lady is.
How the hell could I possibly describe the wonder of a child’s smile? The simple joy I can find in a moment with 23 hours and 59 minutes of purely frustrating, chaotic, stressful family life? It just wouldn’t be possible to tell my teenaged self the valleys that my alcoholism will bring to her life while convincing her that the future is bright.
No, it’s not possible to soften the blow of how skewed my vision of the future was, instead of visualizing this further, I’ll sit here in my yoga pants and grape-juice stained hoodie remembering the good times. Today, I am ignoring the scattered remains of craft-time, the disgusting handprints around the bathroom door-knob and the blaring sound of Justin Beiber wafting from upstairs and instead, I am enjoying a Mocktail and some heavenly chocolate.
Tonight, I am going get gussied up, struggle into a full body Spanx, throw on a smashing dress and dust off some sexy stilettos. I will enjoy an over-priced meal out with my husband and at some point there will be some 90’s music blaring while I groove along the highway. Because today I turn 39 and I’m embracing my life — celebrating it, in fact.
Because I’ve earned it.