Welcome to “Me? The third wheel!” From July 2017 when the blog started until Sept 2019 the page was called the Empty W Chronicles, simply because MTTW are our initials and I hadn’t yet written the post to explain the name.
My blog started with a live update of our honeymoon, which you can find here soon. The idea for the blog started months before, sitting on a rooftop in Udaipur, India on the final night of our wedding trip. A friend, Triston and I. Just the three of us. It was my friend but I felt like the third wheel as Triston and Adam bonded.
We discussed that at the time, and my rambling story telling. We came up with the name. It included our initials, so I started the blog with the intention of posting about our wedding trip on our anniversary and updating the name. Did not happen.
Here we are, I have officially launched the intended name. As the joke went on that fateful night in April 2017, either Triston or Myself are the third wheel even when it is just the two of us at home. Because – Lola. And tonight, that night, I did not expect to be the third wheel between my friend and my new husband. yet, it was great to be so.
Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot we do have in common. I guess we are a case of opposites attract. It is difficult because Triston’s morals and values are not the same as my own so there is a bit of conflict on that front. You know, the whole life thing and how it should be lived. No big deal. Right?!
The struggle is real.
I have been annoying people with my life choices since I can remember.
When I was in my early 20’s everyone was constantly telling me I needed to “settle down” and start to plan my life a bit better. My parents just wanted me to stop going so far away but everyone else was all whinge whinge whine. ‘You can’t travel so much’, ‘ you need to get a real job’, ‘you need to focus on a career’, ‘you should settle down’. Early 20’s. EARLY 20’s!
Jesus, I was still a kid!
I don’t care about societal norms. What have they ever done for me? I’ve never been too worried about it. You want to know why? My Uncle died when I was 7, in his 20’s, and it half tore my family apart. I was 10 when a friend who was either 10 or 11 died in front of my at school before the bell rang. Then on the weekly anniversary for the next 6 weeks, an animal of mine died. Kangaroo, guinea pig, guinea pig, chicken, kangaroo, dog, etc.
To skip over some very important people and pets, let’s review just the last couple of years. My Fave uncle died just before our wedding. 6 months before may not seem like just before it. To me it was.
In May 2018 of my greatest and most important friends died. 6 weeks before his first child. He and his partner together for 13 or 14 years. Just shy of their next anniversary. He loved kids and never got to meet his own. Absolutely tragic.
Not long after, my cousin, died. She left behind a young family. She was my favourite cousin on my dad’s side. I would always hang out with her as a kid when we went to visit. I only knew her as a kid, as an adult I didn’t see her. Cancer killed her. Not yet 40.
It started when I was seven and it just never stopped. I know more people who have passed away than just about everyone else I know. More than friends my age. More than my cousins, more than my sister, more than the generations above me. I am sure my grandma has dealt with more but my parents haven’t.
I don’t live the influencer life. Though some of my friends think I have a better life. I don’t have to deal with deadlines or haggle, demand, beg, borrow or plead to travel. I just go where I want, when I want.
My travel is on my terms. I live life on my terms.
To everyone who told me to grow up, or settle down. Those that never stopped saying it, those that judge me for being irresponsible with time or money. And those who think I live the most amazing life, especially those who know where I started from. Remember this, I was in primary school when I learned that life is fleeting. Tomorrow isn’t a safe bet, not even a kid.
I adore my life, I have zero regrets. There is a tonne of tragedy but I can’t change that. I cry over it for sure but I have lived an amazing life and met amazing people. Some of the worlds most extraordinary people and Triston has been by my side, as they have passed away one by one, since 2007.
Don’t be jealous of me, remember – more than 50% of the people that I knew and loved before the aged of 21 died before I was 30. It was a large group. You can be happy for me, or ambivalent if you wish, but please don’t wish my life upon yourself. Turn your bad into good and live a life you love.
If you don’t have to, don’t put something off until tomorrow that you can do today!
Right. So I have to follow Michelle. That doesn’t seem fair.
I am the opposite of Michelle in almost every way. On her main point, I get it, she has seen how short life is. I didn’t grow up like that. My Grandmother died this year, 6 weeks ago. She is the first person who I really knew to pass away. I haven’t had to deal with the confrontation of young people, kids, teens, tweens, new mothers and fathers or possibly more tragically their babies, passing. I have known Michelle for over 10 years and in those years I have watched her support her loved ones through all of those tragic tales, including suicide, accidental death, sids, cancer, car accidents, just about anything you can name. Some people I had met once or twice, some more and others I hadn’t met in person at all.
My own take on life, my “about me” is really filled with following the rules set by society. Go to uni, get a job, get a good job, get married, buy a house. Make sure the house has a fence, get some dogs.
What I have learnt through travel and standing next to Michelle’s shoes is that society isn’t always right. Spending your youth working to save for retirement, why is that the norm? It is my personal goal but it is illogical. I have been conditioned to expect that from life and I question it but so far I can’t change that mindset completely.
Living now and saving for the future is possible. Michelle has taught me that. At least once a week I stop dead in my tracks and say, people wait a life time to do this and I get to do it now. I get to do something that most people will never do, now. I don’t need to wait for retirement. What is waiting a life time worth if your only memories are of work and then the last few years you jam in some fun stuff?
I enjoy my job and I enjoy my career. I like the people I work with but I work to live. In the past I was concerned only about looking successful. Now I am more concerned about following that well-beaten path of school, work, retire, hope that you get to enjoy something in the twilight years and then death.
My biggest concern now is not living while I am alive. Taking life and people for granted and not appreciating what I have. I am working on the change. Travel opened my mind to life and possibilities, Michelle and death drove it home. I can’t stop people taking me or life or the future for granted but I can start to prioritise what is actually important to me and spending my time more wisely.