Tuesday, April 24, 2012

5 things you'll only experience once in your lifetime

Lately, I’ve been having lots of conversations about the timing of things in our lives. Deep, I know.  Lots of stuff about how some things are forever, some are for a short time and others are just for once.  It’s the ‘once-only’ stuff that got me thinking. Although advertisers will tell you almost anything is once-in-a-lifetime, there aren’t many things that actually are. It was difficult to come up with this list, but here are 5 things I can think of that will truly only ever happen to you once.  (Of course, I could have included death, but I’m not sure we really experience it, plus it’s just dismal).  If you can think of more, please add them as a comment! 

1.     BIRTH – Sadly, we’re not really in the moment for this one.  Maybe because our bodies are being squeezed through a tube like a sausage through a needle. Or because our heads are squished through a hole like a tennis ball through a piping bag.  Or just because you’re pulled from a warm, safe, peaceful existence into a bright, loud world where all you can hear is yourself crying.  OK.  I retract my opening sentence. Perhaps it’s best that we only experience this once, and that the memory is stored far, far away in that amazingly programmed machine called the mind.

2.     FIRST LOVE – In this we are ever so present because it normally happens in the teenage years, when every emotion is heightened.  The joy, the lust, the longing and the inevitable pain when it all falls apart are experienced on an acute level unlikely to be repeated in your lifetime.  It’s giddy, giddy uncontrollable giddiness, accompanied by insecurity, uncertainty and pure bliss.  Sure, you’ll fall in love again and again, but every time afterwards will be influenced in some way by this very first time, so kids, if you’re reading (and you’re probably not), make it count!   Maybe mum or dad can pass that one on!

3.     YOUR FIRST KISS – So it looks like we’re working in a life-stage pattern, but here’s a most disappointing reality; you will only ever experience your first kiss once.  Unlike falling in love, which covers a period of months to years, your first kiss lasts only a few moments to minutes.  My first one was in an old-school shopping centre photo booth.  Caught on film.  Way before Paris Hilton and those bloody Kardashians made it popular. (I guess I missed my time).  Anyhoo, it was nerve-wracking, butterflies-in- your-tummy yummy weightlessness, and I’ll never forget it, and while I can only speak of this one experience, most people I know tell me the same thing.  Never-had-it-since innocent, nervous bliss.  

4.     LOSING YOUR VIRGINITY – This one is probably more subjective…Unlike falling in love and first kisses, but very much like being born, I’m glad this only happens once.  It’s a one-word reason.  AWKWARD!  It’s clumsy, weird and full of pressure; good or not good.  Where, when?  Right time, right place, right person?  Does it ever live up to the expectation?  Perhaps if there was no expectation it would be better, but it’s generally so built up by the time you get there that the weirdness overshadows the experience.  Next time is better.  And the next, and the next, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, huh?

5.     MEETING YOUR NEWBORN–The culmination of all this loving, kissing and mating brings us back to point number 1, birth.  Poetic really, and I didn’t even plan it.  Although technically you can do this once, twice, even 14 times if you’re that weird octomum in the USA, the first time you hold each new baby in your arms is a significant and never-to-be-had again moment.  Each child you bear is a unique little individual, and the first time you lay eyes on that special person is infused with emotion, meaning and thought. Yes, some of those thoughts are ‘glad that’s over, I’d love a shower and a nap,’ but most are observing, nuzzling and checking out the squirmy little creature in your arms, sizing each other up and setting up one of the most important relationships of your entire lifetime.  Treasure it.  You only get that time once.

So after struggling to find my 5 things, I’ve come up with something rather philosophical: every moment of your life is once-in-a-lifetime.  There are the big moments, like the ones on this list, but the reality is, you’ll never get a single moment back once it’s passed.  So I learned something from this: to accept that every moment is fleeting, to enjoy the moments you love, and to know the others will pass.  I told you this was deep. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

5 things to give instead of chocolate at Easter

If your house is anything like mine, when the bunny visits this week you’ll find yourself with an everlasting and overflowing stash of chocolate goodies that you’re ‘saving for the kids’ in a cupboard up high where they can’t be reached.  The kids will never see these ‘gifts’ because they’ll disappear down you or your partner’s big gobs on lonely Friday nights over the next few months.  SHAKE IT UP this Easter!  Give the kids something to do, see or play.  Throw in a few tiny choccies so you’re not forever known as the demon aunt, and you'll find that you're giving to the parents as well…just not to their waistline.   Check it out…

Our awesome creation from last year.
1.    EASTER CRAFTS – Hit your closest two-dollar shop and you’ll find a mega range of everything Easter.  From paintable foam eggs to cut out chickens, baby chicks, streamers, ribbons, glitter sparkles and anything else you might use for decorating.  Grab a stash of stuff and pop them into one of the beautiful Easter boxes also for sale at these wonderful establishments and voila!  Another non-edible Easter gift for the rascals that will keep them busy.  Along similar lines, you could invite a bunch of kids over and have an Easter-craft day, making hats, bunnies, eggs etc. Everyone gets to take their creation home, and OK, and maybe a little choccy egg or two as well!
2.     MOVIE TICKETS – I don’t know how much you spend on Easter Eggs, but it definitely adds up!  If you have a special kid or two in your life, you might want to consider movie tickets.  Again, every Easter comes with a school holiday and a mum scratching at ideas for things to do.  Don’t waste money on a crappy soft bunnies and eggs with gooey orange centres.  Buy a couple of movie tickets and you’re giving the kids something to do in the Holidays AND a holiday activity that mum or dad don’t have to pay for!
3. ACTIVITY BOOKS – a retro classic?  No!  Kids still love to do puzzles, word games, connect the dots and find the difference.  There are activity books for all ages from toddlers to school age.  There are ‘cool’ ones too, for the kids who think they’re too big for this kind of thing.  Practically every kids movie or TV show will have it’s own activity and or sticker book out there somewhere from Star Wars to Megamind, Toy Story and (already) The Lorax. These will keep kids busy and quiet during the holidays too, especially on rainy days, which helps mum and dad endlessly.      

Yes, she's real!  This is my little Easter Bunny.
4.     EASTER COSTUMES – I know I keep going back to the two-dollar shop, but at this time of year, it’s the place to be!  On their bountiful shelves, you will find Easter masks, hats, bunny ears and even the full bunny get up.  This one is probably more for the younger tots, but let me tell you, the more dress-ups they can have in their dress-up boxes the better.  They will love dressing up on the day, and for weeks and months afterwards when their mates come over to play.  For this reason, you may need to invest in a few el-cheapo costumes – you don’t want a bunch of bickering bunnies in the house! 
5.     HOME MADE EASTER BISCUITS– This is still foody, still sugary, but less likely to be stored and consumed by mums and dads.  Find a basic cookie or biscuit recipe and get busy in the kitchen with the kids.  Use Easter biscuit cutters to make shapes; you can easily find eggs, bunnies and chickens at most homeware shops.  The kids love cutting the shapes and decorating with whatever you see fit; smarties, sprinkles, choc chips.  You can then put them in cellophane bags with pretty ribbons, or paper boxes with stuffed with straw (again, the good old two dollar shop!).  Get creative.

Enjoy the holidays, stay sane and have a HAPPY EASTER!