Our story - Part 1: Alex and Lauren
Updated: Feb 23, 2022
In early 2011, I turned the big 3-0. I was throwing some major ‘Saturn Return’ energy and decided to chuck my whole life in and bugger off overseas indefinitely.
I broke up with my girlfriend of five years, quit my well-paid job, offloaded all my possessions, and went backpacking in Sri Lanka for two months (Eat, Pray, Love much?) on my way to live in Canada.
I spent almost two years living and working in beautiful Vancouver and it was, quite literally, the time of my life.
I made wonderful friends, saw beautiful things, and partied way too much.
Right as I turned 33, I decided it was time to stop partying, pay off my credit card, come home, and be a 'grown up'. I'd been single for almost 3 years and was ready to meet my next someone.
I'd resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't made for 'forever'.
I'm an Army kid who went to 10 different schools, so I was used to starting over with new friends every couple of years. The idea of forever still evokes an existential crisis in me today, but I digress.
In true Type A fashion, I set about finding my person, starting with research! I admired the couples around me who seemed loving and stable, and took note of what seemed to make them tick. I then made a list of desirable attributes in a 'grown up relationship' partner:
Someone who enjoyed their life and their job (I'd had partners who liked neither and it was a real downer).
Someone who loved the same stuff as me! Like eating out at nice restaurants, good wine, the sun on our shoulders, dogs, and binge-watching true crime (sounds simple, but V important - I was never going to make it with an extreme sport junkie, for example).
And the most important one: someone who loved me for all of my parts, especially the tricky ones, because they all added up to a pretty good whole.
Number three sounds so simple and juvenile now, but I was still working myself out at the time. All I knew was that I could be very moody, opinionated, and intolerant, and I was pretty set in my ways. My bulldog Frank and I were very happy 'living alone together', and I didn't want to get married or have kids. EVER.
But I also knew I had plenty to offer someone. I was a good person with bucket-loads of empathy. I was smart and fun, and I had a lot of love to give. Cheesy as it sounds, I knew I deserved someone who would love 'all of me'.
That year, I dabbled in online dating which resulted in me either narrowly dodging hardcore bunny boilers, or crushing hard on emotionally unavailable hot girls.
Then I met Alex at a mutual friend's New Years Eve party. We met again less than a week later at another mutual friend's gig. Turns out she'd known my sister and several of my friends for 10 years, so it was bizarre that we'd never met before. But thank goodness, because any sooner wouldn't have been the right time.
We went on our first date a few days later, hit it off like a house on fire, and very quickly booked a trip to Nepal, India and Thailand together.
Let's just say, nothing says getting to know you like a simultaneous dose of Delhi Belly. If you can survive travelling in India together, you know you're onto something!
We shacked up together as soon as we got home, got engaged about a year later, and married a year after that!
Plenty has happened since then, but over eight years since we met, and almost 6 since we married, the girl who wasn't cut out for forever is still happily wedded. And jeez did I get lucky.
Alex has been the glue that has held our family together during my roller-coaster mental health journey since my first bout of postnatal depression almost 4 years ago. More on that very soon - stay tuned for part 2!