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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Opposites Attract...

My husband and I have been together for 13 years... married for 7 (I think... yeah, that's right), but together for THIRTEEN!  That is almost half of my life!!!!  Okay, that was a bit of wishful thinking there, but you get the point, it is a relatively long time.  We started dating when I was 19... did you catch that? NINETEEN!  So, basically I was a child... (and I just outed my age on the internet).  Trent was only 20 (there, now I took him down with me).  Yup, just kids we were.

Trent and I with one of the VW vans that we lived in... this one's a '79
Why am I ranting about this?  No, it's not our anniversary (I don't think... nope, it's not).  I am bringing this up because I want to talk about change... and compromise.  You see, looking back (and looking around), it would appear that in today's culture 'your twenties' is a decade of intense and profound personal development (aka change).  During this time, we essentially move from being dependent adolescents into independent adults (well, most of us do anyways).  It should be noted that my generation (and the generations that are following me) are extremely fortunate to be afforded this decade of self-discovery.  Things were quite different for those who have come before me -- even for my parents.  Thirty, forty, fifty years ago (and before), the transition from teenager to adult was swift and complete... with many people finding themselves with a mortgage, families and full-time jobs by the time they were in their early to mid-twenties.  This still occurs today, although much less frequently, with most young adults choosing to stay 'in the nest' until they are finished college or even beyond.  I am getting off topic here, so I will make my point: Trent and I have both changed... a LOT.

Now I know what you're going to say... 'people don't change'.  And to some extent I would agree with you.  Fundamental personality traits probably don't change that much, but life circumstances do, and we must therefore adapt to 'keep up with the times'.  Experiences change people, and in thirteen years, we have been fortunate to have had a lot of 'experiences'.  Travelling, working, university, marriage, parenthood... (the nostalgia is setting in)... needless to say, it has been quite a ride. 

The thing is, Trent and I have always been 'different' (and by different I mean TOTAL OPPOSITES OF ONE ANOTHER!!!)  My maid of honor made a comment at our wedding that was something along the lines of... 'I never thought that I would see the day when a hippy would marry a red neck'...  Me neither Catherine... me neither.  And yet, here we are. 

Now I am not a huge fan of labels as I find them quite restrictive... and I use them here only to help make the point that we are indeed quite different (and I am apparently not alone in my thinking).  In this case, I also like the images that these particular labels conjur up in the mind (peace vs. guns, fresh garden veggies vs. steak, yoga vs. quadding) etc.  I think you get the picture (at least I would hope so after five paragraphs - five?  Oh man, this is turning into a wordy RANT!)

Trent ripping it up this winter
Me, contemplating the Universe, Yoga Teacher Training, 2005

The point that I am trying to not-so-succintly make is that after thirteen years of growing/changing/developing in our relationship and as individuals we are more different than ever.  Trent just came home from a weekend of quadding with a friend... his idea of HEAVEN!  I spent the weekend on my road bike and doing yoga... dreaming of road bike/mountain bike races/events that I would like to enter and yoga retreats that I would like to do...  Essentially, we both spent the weekend in our glory.  Apart, but still happy. 

In the past, we have tried to 'dabble' in each other's worlds.  Trent once biked with me from Banff to Jasper (288 km)... we rode a tandem.  As an indication of how that went: I WILL NEVER GET ON A BICYCLE WITH THAT MAN AGAIN!!!! EVER!!!!  Trent also came to one (yes, just one) of my yoga classes... and injured himself because he was competing with me (yes, I was teaching the class)... enough said about that. 
I have also taken more than a few rides on a variety of Trent's 'death machines' and bought, eaten and prepared more than my share of dead cow.  See?  We try.

Shortly after Trent had a full-on temper tantrum in the bushes... ask me to tell you this story in person... it is HILARIOUS!

Me, hoping that I don't meet my demise
As we move through life though, we seem to try less and less.  I stick with what I know and like, and he does the same.  We do our best to compromise, but really, at this point, it is more about accepting each others differences. 

Thankfully, we do have a few things in common...

Our love of travel:

The Hasse's in Chile, 2007

Our love of the mountains:

The Hasse's on Mt. Aberdeen (with Forrest)... shortly before we were heli-rescued... again, ask me to tell you that story in person... it is CRAZY!

Some amazing friends:

Summit of Mt. Wilcox for my dad's 50th B-day!
Post ice-climbing shot

and of course, this little gem:


Speaking of which, I can't help but think that while all of our differences make our relationship a bit challenging (okay a lot challenging) at times, Chephren is sure to reap the benefits of this situation.  Thanks to us, he loves quadding and yoga, veggies and meat, biking and drinking beer (okay, maybe not that last thing, but you get the idea).  What I am trying to say is that our differences are a GIFT.  A gift to our son.  Huh.  I have never thought of it that way before.

With that said, 'Vive Les Differences'!!!!  Life would sure be boring if we were all the same :)



  1. Living it, loving it, for 36 years. Enough said, you are a wise young woman. hugz

  2. Cheri - I laugh b/c I thought of you and Rolf as I wrote this... xoxo

  3. What a beautiful post! I think too many people fall into the trap of defining themselves by the activities they engage in rather than who they really are. You may like different things, but I'm willing to bet that at the core, you two are not so different after all.

    p.s. I have no earthly idea what "quadding" is, but since it apparently involves riding on those horrible noise making monster machines... well you're a much braver soul than I am!

  4. This is perfect. I just love the wisdom summary here -so cool to see where you are. You can look back at this blog post when you are cooking up some animal for Trent to remind yourself... :)