Today’s guest blogger is a special ONE! More accurately it is TWO! Yes our guest bloggers are the cutest couple on social media! I really adore and admire Helen and Andrew, the darlings from Down Under. These dear Australian Snapchat friends of mine are smart, witty and supportive. And guess what? Today is their wedding anniversary. So without further adieu, I will let you enjoy their fantastic LOVE story!
Love and the One
Love, according to the Macquarie English Dictionary, is defined as “a strong or passionate affection for another person”. However the definition of a word does not always truly convey its meaning. Now overall the above definition is a relatively solid one. But what does love actually mean? What actually is “love”?
People have composed songs about it, made movies about it, written books about it over the course of history. There was even a comic series, syndicated worldwide, called “Love Is…”dedicated to showing the meaning of love through statements and quotes (one of the most famous of was “Love is…being able to say you are sorry”).
And what of this concept of “the One”? How do you know if you have met them, how do you know if the person that you are currently courting is the legendary “One”.
Two concepts intimately entwined yet so elusive to pinpoint. This is our take on it all…
HER: In my 20s and 30s, I led a life of travel, excitement and adventure. To me, life was meant to be explored and all I wanted to do was to experience what I could when I had the means to do so. Coming from a Greek background the expectation for me was to marry and have children, however, that was far from my mind. Marriage, and indeed, any relationship were the furthermost from my mind. I didn’t want to be burdened by someone else and looked forward to single life. In my 30s however, that mindset started to change when I left the Navy and moved into my own apartment working in a corporate job. By that stage, all my friends had married and were popping out children and I started to think that maybe this was now what I had to be thinking about? However, I was half-hearted about it. Dating proved disastrous – namely I couldn’t get any dates to save my life, and I started to wonder that it was simply too hard. I was quite happy to be by myself for the rest of my life.
HIM:As a young man I was really captivated with the idea of marriage. Picket fences, 2.3 kids, growing old with someone; the whole box and dice. In fact I think I was the only male in school who imagined what his wedding would be like. By the time I’d hit my late 20’s I’d had a few serious relationships and they all broke apart for various reasons; cold feet, different aspirations, petty jealousies. I was convinced that if I wasn’t married by the time I turned 30 then it wasn’t going to happen.
Late 2001 things were going pretty well in my life overall; good job, steady relationship, started training to start playing competitive soccer again, my own dream home. Maybe this was it. Then came along 2002…
HER:In early 2002, I had resigned myself that I was dateless (but not desperate) and while I was on a Navy Reserve exercise one weekend, I fainted in the shower, fell through the door and smashed my face against the vanity unit before crashing on the tile floor. I broke teeth and dislocated my jaw, however, luckily, my colleague who shared the bathroom in the neighbouring room heard me fall. She was able to call emergency services immediately. Over the next few months, I had to rest and recuperate at home while the jaw set in its place, my teeth were fixed and tests were undertaken as to why I fainted. What was frustrating to me was that I was due to travel to China on a wonderful holiday with my good friend a week later and the trip was cancelled. When I got better, she invited me to come up to Canberra and spend a weekend with her instead. I agreed and that weekend changed my life.
HIM:Mid-February: For our final training session before the season we played a practice match against another club. About a quarter of the way through the match I ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in my left knee, requiring a full knee reconstruction and putting not only my football season but also a favourite pastime of ballroom dancing to bed.
Late-February: The first visible cracks started to show in my relationship. We had been together about 18 months (she moved into my house after about six). She had started to become a little more demanding of my time, little restrictions were being placed on things I liked to do, and there seemed to be resentment towards my injury.
Late March: Relationship completely broke down and she was demanding a payout or she was going after my house (this was possible as legally we were considered to be living in a de facto relationship). My head was spinning. Here was someone that I thought I knew completely changing right in front of my eyes, someone who moved into myhouse (with nothing more than a car boot full of clothes), and was now threatening to take half of it. Why would anyone ever have a relationship if this is what it leads to??
May: I refinanced my mortgage and paid her out. This also put me in a position where all available funds were going into my mortgage. I could still go to the movies…but I had to save for a couple of months to do it. I realised that I still needed to have a life so it was with heavy heart I decided to sell the house that I built. My dream of picket fences and happily ever after’s had been destroyed. Love? Ha. Who needs it?
June: Had full reconstruction surgery on my knee. It hurt and rehab hurt more. Life sucked.
July to October: I sold my house, my home, and bought a smaller one – someone else’s dream. I felt bitter and twisted. I didn’t really want to do anything or go anywhere…and I certainly never wanted to be in a relationship with anyone ever again. All women were evil, there was no such thing as love, and I even if there was didn’t want a bar of it.
HER:When my jaw had healed, my friend invited me to come up to Canberra and spend a weekend with her instead of our planned trip to China. I agreed and that weekend changed my life.
HIM:16 November 2002. Friends from the dance studio had arranged to take me out for dinner for my birthday. My actual birthday was a few days later time so the Saturday night was a convenient day. I was going to call and say that I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t make – I didn’t want to go, I didn’t want company, I wanted to sit at home with my cats and watch a film that reflected, in my mind, my current circumstances, you know, like The Amityville Horror or something.
In the end I decided to go because I couldn’t be bothered cooking or doing the washing up.
HER:I remember her inviting me to come along to a birthday dinner for her boyfriend’s best mate and I agreed. They were both ballroom dancers so the evening was probably going to be people talking about dancing. However, I didn’t mind because I liked meeting new people.
HIM:We went to a place called Tu Tu Tango (which sadly no longer exists) the home of the Mars Bar Cheesecake! Surprisingly dinner was good, and it seemed I really did need and appreciated the company. Some of my friends brought a person along that was visiting from interstate. Her name was Helen. A brief introduction and a couple of hellos and that was about it.
HER:I recall at the restaurant being introduced to Andrew (although they called him Tex because he looked like Tex Perkins, the singer from the band The Cruel Sea but I had no idea about bands or singers so the reference went over my head). I remember that he wore jeans, a white linen shirt with a waistcoat, an earring and he had a goatee and a huge quiff. He smoked too. He seemed nice enough – bit thin too – but not my kinda guy despite my girlfriend nudging me in the ribs saying “Tex is single you know!” At the time, I simply had no desire for a boyfriend also because, in all seriousness, I didn’t think I was much of a catch either.We spoke for a little while but it was only when the group moved to the disco Bobby McGees that things got interesting.
HIM:After dinner everyone decided to go out. While my friends were all out dancing (I couldn’t as my knee was still giving my grief) I noticed that Helen was sitting on her own watching. I thought it was a bit rude to have someone travel from interstate and be left to their own devices. She came down to the bar to buy a drink. I was getting one myself and asked what she’d like – her response was “I can get my own drink thank you!” How rude can you get?? So I ignored her comment and bought her one anyway. Little was I to know that 2002 had one last trick up its sleeve.
HER:I found myself sitting by myself as all these ballroom dancers were out on the dancefloor strutting their stuff. There was NO WAY I was going to dance with these people because I would stand out as the idiot dancer. So I went to the bar but there was Tex. He asked me if I wanted a drink and I said, “I can get my own drink thank you!” (You see? I’m one independent lady). He ignored that and bought my drink anyway and then we sat down to chat.
HIM:Helen and I chatted easily, almost too easily. I’d never felt so comfortable with someone that I’d only just met. We didn’t really talk about anything in particular. In fact, we really had nothing in common (I mean to me “The Cruel Sea” was a rock band, to Helen it was a novel by Nicholas Monsarrat!). But it didn’t seem that we really needed to.
HER:All I could say is that I don’t know how long we were talking or what we were talking about but time just disappeared. He was so easy to talk to and when the time came to leave, I felt cheated. I wished we had more time!
HIM:Forty-five minutes later I found myself thinking “I’m going to marry this girl” as if it were the most natural thing in the world. So, was it love at first sight – no, but you could say it was love at first conversation.
HER:Over the weekend, there were different social activities and Tex came along to those too where we grabbed time to chat. When the weekend ended and I had to come back to Melbourne, I was disappointed. However, back at work on Monday, I sent Tex a quick email thanking him for our great chats. This started a communication via email back and forth which I loved.
The day I remember that I was going to marry Tex was soon after our meeting but back in Melbourne. I had gone across the road from work to the automatic teller machine to get some cash out as I was going out for drinks with my girlfriends later that night. I was crossing the road, putting cash into my purse and a thought just passed over me – as quietly and calmly as possible – as if someone or something had just whispered it in my ear and it was “you’re going to marry this guy”. No fanfare, no excitement, no exuberant outbursts instead a calm and peaceful feeling overcame me as if everything was going to be alright. To this day, I remember THAT feeling. A tranquil moment when I just accepted the moment because I knew everything was going to be okay.
US: Helen will tell you that she’s a pragmatic person who doesn’t get caught up with romantic flights of fancy and, at times, lacks sensitivity to other people’s needs. Tex will tell you that he’s a bit of a romantic at heart but has been stung too many times before.
We provide each other balance and different perspectives, we support each other’s endeavours and interests and ultimately we are the best of friends.
Given the story above can we tell you what love means or how did we know that we had met the One, not really. Trying to define or provide an absolute meaning to something that is so completely intangible is like trying to please all the people all the time – no matter how hard you try you just can’t.We both believed there was something there that had to be explored even though we couldn’t explain it.
There is an old school accounting standing joke about defining what an asset is and it goes something along the lines of “Don’t ask me what an asset is, but I’ll know one if I see it”. We think that love is the same – don’t ask us what it means, but we’ll know it if we see it. The same applies for “the One” – we can’t tell you how we knew.
It just was. It just is. We just do.
Happy Anniversary you two love birds!! Thank you so much Helen and Andrew for this amazing LOVE story. This is a first for Yankee Doodle Paddy, having a story written by two people. But it really gives us, the readers, a unique perspective on your journey. And I wish you many more years of happiness! LOVE you both to bits!!
As I always say, better to be an information sharer than an information hoarder. By sharing our human experience through these LOVE stories, we are able to connect, inspire, teach and support. What is this earthly life if we can’t help one another? Yes we embody our “meat suits” (as I call our human bodies) but it is what’s inside in our hearts and souls that makes us really who we are! And Helen and Andrew are two beautiful souls! You can follow them on Snapchat: @tigertex1 and @activatelearn and continue to be inspired!
P.S. I am still accepting submissions for this third installment of the Guest Blogger Series so if you have a LOVE story you’d like to share please leave a comment below or email me at: [email protected] Come join in and let’s show the world February isn’t just about Valentine’s Day LOVE! It is so much more!