Saturday, 4 February 2012

What Have You Done This Week?

The questions I seem to be asked most these days are what have you done this week or what have you done today? Maybe my memory is faulty but I don't remember being asked these questions when I was working. Was it perhaps because people knew what I was doing? But whatever the reason I find the questions mildly irritating,  perhaps not least,  because I feel as if I have to come up with something interesting. 

I don't know about you but I don't feel the minutiae of my life is all that riveting? I mean as lives go I have plenty of opportunity to engage in the things I enjoy. This week I've been to the cinema a couple of times. I've been to the theatre. I've read various things, listened to music, watched television, done a little writing and attended a book club meeting but is anyone really interested? 

I know that most people don't want to spend their time discussing big issues but really that's what I want to talk about. I want to engage with stimulating ideas. If I am to fess up, I have never felt that I conquered the art of chit chat nor have I wanted to. So if that's you're cup of char you probably won't want to include me. Perhaps after this nugget of information it will come as no surprise to hear that the thing I enjoyed most this week was the book club. This month's choice was The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins which I guess you could describe as a 19th century page turner. 

Most of us enjoyed the read but thought it too wordy for modern tastes and a little predictable but it generated great conversations about middle-class women of the period. How they were so easily controlled and consigned to asylums for 'hysteria' or any behaviour considered aberrational or against the societal norm. This could and did, include not conforming to a spouse's wishes. How women without money were not considered marriageable. This led onto a discussion about the pros and cons of modern marriage versus cohabitation and how the marriageable age has fluctuated through the ages. 

This started me thinking about what other people would think. I married in 1962 at the age of eighteen and I married because it was still the respectable option. I also think I married on the cusp of change. Before that most people married for life. I am not tabling this as a positive just that divorce wasn't a choice for numerous reasons. In the working classes mainly because of economic reasons and societal opprobrium. It simply didn't form part of the thinking and it didn't form part of my thinking. My Mother's generation lived by 'you've made your bed you must lie on it'. I didn't quite feel that but I did expect to work through any difficulties we had. I made two bottom line assertions when I married. Two things I made clear were unacceptable. One was violence and the other was infidelity. I was always clear about that. I had seen enough violence to last a lifetime and I knew myself well enough to know I would never have been able to let infidelity drop. 

Would I marry again if I was in the same position today? I honestly don't know. I have talked about it with my OH. We both agree it was right for us at the time and we have no regrets. But if you do not have a religious faith I'm not sure what marriage provides over cohabitation. I guess there are still some advantages under the law but in my opinion the law should be changed to eradicate any unfair advantage. So I would like to ask you if all things were equal what would your choice be? 


  1. You've certainly put some questions in that one! Should I have married - well given the choice now the answer would be NO! But hindsight is one thing, romantic illusions are another.

    Most people think that when we retire we slowly sink into senility in our armchair in the corner with a shawl and some knitting. Life in retirement may have been like that for our parents - but not for us; we blog, read and if you're anything like me find life more interesting and now have time to discover new things - I call it the university of retirement.
    We're relaxing, less stress and more enjoyment in life - go for it girl and tell people who ask you are studying at the University of Retirement with all its course x

  2. Thanks Pat for connecting. I agree we can all be wise with hindsight. The question I was trying to pose is if you were young now would you still choose marriage and if so why?

  3. I married at 18 too. Sadly, I don't think I would do it again because the first 10 years were so hard. Now though and with the same man for 32 years, I'm so glad I did. Could I change the question and just skip a decade?

  4. I like your style Suzie and of course in a writer's world anything is possible :)

  5. If I was able to meet you for a cuppa, I would be better able to engage with you (get me with the jargon!) on issues raised here. I would talk your socks down!

    Although I can't engage in small talk verbally (ADHD + polite conversation = acute stress) I do quite like reading and writing about the minutiae of everyday routine. When written down, the most boring things can become the most amusing.

    After ten years of living with Peter, I suggested we got married to simplify everything. And it did. I was a divorcee and he was a widower. It also seemed to make the relationship feel more solid. I think I would do the same again.

    Depths not plumbed, but we've not eaten yet!

  6. thanks Kathryn I do enjoy reading your comments. If you're ever in this neck of the woods you would be most welcome to a cuppa and a stimulating chat :)

  7. There's a lot here Barbara as always. It's interesting how such a wordy book (as a word-aholic I have to confess that's the sort of writing I like) is still able to stimulate such a lot of discussion.
    As to your theme, I have to say that despite my divorce I would still opt for marriage, not just because of my faith, but as the ultimate commitment,/responsibility.  Old fashioned I accept.
    My concern about weddings today is that somehow spending 'loadsa' money is seen as some sort of totem to guarantee the success of the relationship rather than the really important part which is making the verbal commitment to each other  - probably the cheapest part of the whole event and often the least considered. Today, while I wouldn't rule out a relationship it's not high on my priorities - just struggling with my limitations is enough, never mind anything else.  I really don't mind being alone and rather that than being with someone just for the sake of it.
    I'm still coming to terms with feeling guilty for not filling every moment and I tend to be the one asking myself what I did that was worth while today. Sorry to be so wordy,lol, but not surprising given my opening sentence.

  8. thanks for the response Jenny and not surprisingly you made every word count :)