The Befores and the Afters

There are a few instances that divide your life into before and after. From then on, you look back on life as things that happened "before" this event and "after."

A friend of mine is about to have a baby, and I suddenly realized (despite having had many other friends give birth - yep, I'm a thinker) that the before and after of becoming a parent has to be one of the biggest, most definitive dividing line there can possibly be in life.

This got me thinking about the things that, at the time, felt like they had changed my life into before and after:

Getting my period. Sorry dudes, I know that lady reproductive systems bum you out, but you need to get right over that one. Before I got my period I felt like I was on the outside of a very important club. My friends who had their periods would talk about pads and tampons and how frequently they had to be changed dealing with leaks and all sorts of things that are, of course, a total pain once they are in your life, but before then they are an out-of-reach mystery.

Moving out of my parents' house. I was simply AGLOW as we moved my things into a 75 square foot dorm room. My parents kept commenting on how small it was, but to me, it was perfect. I was an independent grown up, at last!

My first "real" job. By real job, in this case, I mean a job in an office where I sat at a desk. I don't know why I thought this was some kind of pinnacle of working life, because I ultimately wanted to be a dancer/actress/model/photographer/choreographer/writer/interior designer/counsellor, and most of those jobs aren't about sitting in an office, either. Yet, when I went from jobs where I stand behind a counter to a job where I sat at a desk, my brain said, "yes, everything is different now."

My first... you know... Whatever. We all know what this is about. I don't need to elaborate on this any more than that, do I? It was pretty significant at the time.

My first time seeing a counsellor. I struggled with depression basically from high school through most of university. The first time I saw a counsellor was not the first time I felt "better", it was the first time I was actually honest with myself, and others, about what was going on inside me.

Getting my driver's licence. Okay, as much as driving has become so normal that this seems not such a big deal, I think that being able to drive actually did permanently change my life enough that this stands as a significant before and after. Especially since I grew up in the suburbs where everything was a 15-30 minute drive away down long, winding roads with buses that ran every hour.

Now I'm on the cusp of a new before and after! Right now I am living in the time BEFORE my boyfriend moves into my place, and next month I will be living in the AFTER. In terms of overall, life-changing events, this might not factor as a big-picture, permanent alteration. It will one day be completely eclipsed by either us staying together, getting married, and having babies, or by us breaking up.

But for now, I am anticipating a significant change in life that I am both super excited and kind of freaked out for.

So I thought it would be fun to explore the before, during, and after of this big change.

What it's like BEFORE he moves in:

Currently I am LOVING all the planning and organizing! I love to plan and I love to set up organizational systems. These two features of my personality are the only things that make me think maybe astrology is onto something, because I am a Virgo and that is supposed to be our primary trait.

My future roommate doesn't love planning quite as much as I do, but he also loves to have lists and systems and schedules in place. We have spreadsheets for budget and chores, which means that in theory we will just slide right into domestic bliss with no arguments about any of that. (I know, I know: HA!)

I am gleefully figuring out how to rearrange my furniture and space to make it our home instead of my home. This is the most excellent organizational challenge! We're getting rid of my couch and bringing his. The closet will be completely re-organized to accommodate both our things (I purged old clothes and will make him do the same!) There is now a chair and sitting area in the bedroom so that we can have a wall in between us if needed.

I am super excited to have him around all the time and to not have to do things like travel between our houses and bring clothes and feed my cat for two days and all that.

I am nervous because I get really upset whenever I feel like I'm falling into a gender stereotype and I just know I'm going to have to get on his case about cleaning in the kitchen a lot.

I am super excited for our relationship to grow and deepen and all that romantic malarky.

Let's be honest: I am nervous that things won't work out. I know that at this point in our relationship, there no other way to find out and we must move forward. It's still a question mark. And what we're doing is a very big thing. We are combining our lives! That's scary! What if we have to undo it all?

I'll be sharing some of the more practical elements of our move-in - how we organize everything, how we navigate the introvert/extrovert differences, etc. - and I'll share an "after" once we've settled in.

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