Dating through the ages

I am very happy with the man in my life. He ticks all the boxes, including a few I never thought about before. However, part of the total package is a little bit of baggage. And I haven’t packed light either.

This got me thinking … I am at an age where everyone around me is getting married. At the very least, my peers are in a relationship. And this got me thinking about something an ex said: as you get older, there is more of yourself to explain. It seems like everyone wants to couple up before they become even more fucked up, because, let’s be honest, a lot happens in around 30 years.

Image from Stephen James on Flickr

I don’t know what conditions us to seek out relationships. It manifests as early as our toddler years. Even if you claimed that boys/girls are gross and have germs, chances are that you had a secret crush. Inevitably, this resulted in serious rejection and cries of “Ewwww … You’re a girl!” or your hair being pulled, or maybe he really was a bad boy and pushed you into some mud. This is not a great start to romance.

Photo by cindy47452 on Flickr

Then, primary school and that most horrible of all occasions: Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty sure the flowers I got every year were sent by my mother and the boy I sent chocolates to never suspected it was me (I told him years later, but it was too late because he had moved to Australia). Sometimes children ‘date’. This involves sending letters to each other about how much you like each other. You never make eye contact, you never talk; you just send notes. But young love is fickle and an ex comes into the picture, wanting you back, or a new classmate takes your fancy. Now there is more rejection, someone probably feels jealous, there’s anger and disappointed tears.

A few years later, our hormones kick in and the desire to date becomes physical. Unfortunately, this is the same time that human beings go through an awkward stage, probably have pimples and little self-esteem. Teenagers not only have to figure out who they are, but also have a primal need to rub themselves against another teenager. Some manage to develop relationships (some even last a few months), others don’t (but crushes are almost as good). Any ‘love’ felt at this stage is hormone stew that somehow feels like heartache when the statistically probable breakup occurs.

Image from @Doug88888 on Flickr

So, the average person hasn’t even turned 18 yet and has had to go through all of the above. At least from 18 it becomes a little more fun. Booze is involved, lowering inhibitions. Granted it’s probably bad sex, but that doesn’t matter because you’re actually having sex. Some young adults go off to university or move out, so there is an added element of freedom. Others are still dating their highschool sweethearts. Most are dating anyone who says yes. Promiscuity (not necessarily sexual) and experimentation occur. Some ‘serious’ relationships develop and end and develop and end and develop and end.

By the time we turn 25, we’ve experienced a fair amount of drama. The urge to settle down kicks in. We become calmer and more mature. Couples celebrating their third and onwards anniversaries is as common as a white Toyota. People get married. The time is right. Life seems to be falling into place. Things don’t always work out, but that’s okay too.

Image by Jennuine Captures on Flickr

Then you reach that next awkward phase. Your late 20s. A dating grey area. There is a lot of pressure to commit and be in a serious relationship. At the same time, the accumulated baggage makes it increasingly difficult to find a suitable person to date. You’re the odd one out at dinner parties, and, when you’re not, you find it challenging to explain yourself and at the same time appear to be sane (especially when you have no intention of ever getting married).

I guess the best you can hope for is finding someone who gets you and lets you be what you are, someone who isn’t terrified of your explanations or past experiences. So if my peers have that in their significant others, then it’s fine and I wish them all the best.

Dating through the ages

My Little Pony

True love does exist. Especially when you’re 11 years old and horse-mad.

14 years later…

Ashgar Leam was born on 8 December, 1992. His dam was Ashgar Leslie and his sire Ashgar Doonan. He’s bay, with black points and a blaze down his face. He is my soul mate.

My riding instructor introduced me to Ashgar Leam in September, 1996. She took me to his stable and said ‘This is Leam, he needs a little girl to love him’. I looked over the stable door and that was it.

He’s a little more curious now.

Head-shy Leam was hiding in the corner of his stable, and in the dark, all I could see was the striking white blaze down his very handsome face. I didn’t care about how narrow he was, or how his hindquarters were a little higher than the rest of him. He was awkward and shy and scared of everything, much like I was – a kid on the cusp of adolescence.

The first time I rode him I couldn’t get him to move. This was a blow to my ego, because I was the best rider at the stables at that stage. But the groom who was training him led me around and I was grinning stupidly – thoroughly happy.

With some coaxing, he will go now.

Leam was not my first horse. Curry was – but he’s another story.

A year after being led around, I got back on. Leam was 5 and I was 12 and I was still crushing on him. We got along famously. Leam carries his head nicely and will jump anything, but his virtues as a riding horse end there. He’s lazy and hates to be schooled. He would spook at everything and was always a little mad. But he was fast (and when you’re 12 this is a top priority). But Leam hates to work more than any other horse I have ever ridden.

I convinced my dad to buy him for me and a few weeks later he arrived at the plot. And that’s when my hell started.

Leam was terrified of everything and still head-shy. He was impossible to catch and would occasionally refuse to go into his stable at night. He would freak out when the farrier came to trim his feet and go beserk every time I tried to take him out. He was difficult in the school and threw a number of my friends.

He didn’t understand what treats were and it took a month of leaving carrots in his feed to get him to actually want them.

He was also filling out and became a round, solid, tank of a pony. But he would still clear anything I put in front of him. I jumped him 1.1m, which is impressive for a 14.1hh pony. Our show history was shaky – we never really did very well, but Leam is not a show pony, handsome as he is.

This is more Leam’s style of work.

Eventually I just rode him (and I rode him badly). I refused to take his nonsense and made him do as I said. He started to shy less and we started to trust each other. It was easier to calm him down when he was scared and we started going out more. Eventually I introduced him to swimming, which, to this day, he loves.

He likes bath time too.

But Leam was accident-prone. We was forever cutting himself and once nearly lost his foot, which meant for six months, while he healed, I couldn’t ride him.

When I went to university, he stayed behind, getting fat and lazy. When I went home and rode him he would put his head between his knees and buck (learning how to sit out bucks is a handy riding skill) and squeal like a pig. This means he will forever have the nickname of Pig. But he’s my Pig and I say it with love.

Leam needs to eat…

Leam was a difficult pony. He would do stupid things and I would fall off. I would spend hours trying to catch him and swear and scream and lose my teenage temper on him at least once a week. Leam put me in the hospital. Leam has made me angrier than anything else in this entire world. If he wasn’t so handsome, he would have had it a lot worse. I struggled with him, I regretted taking him on. But no one else would, and I was always in love, so I kept him.

In 2008 I had to have Curry put down. Curry loved Leam and they were inseparable. It nearly killed me. And it meant I needed to move Leam back to the farm where he was born. He was 16 and slightly more sensible.

I don’t know if it was the loss of Curry (for both of us) or being in a proper herd again, but things changed. Leam has become easier to catch (15 minutes vs two hours). He doesn’t shy at ridiculous things anymore and he doesn’t panic in real danger. He’s affectionate with me when no one else is looking. And even though he is 19 now, and we’ve been together for 14 years, and he’s starting to grey around his eyes and his back is starting to dip, he can still give it stick.

Salt and pepper mane.

Leam is my entire world and there is nothing I love more than that horse. He has become a dream pony (minus the laziness)…

Love is hugging your pony.

I can go up to him after a month apart and get on him and take him out, just the two of us. He is completely safe (except for one time when he ran away from a sheep – but only because he thought it was trying to hurt me, from the other side of a fence).

Leam will stand quietly, calming other horses, when we’re riding to the game and the Wildebeest stampede.

Leam has become a bit of a slut too. He has a harem now and they get very upset when he is ridden and isn’t on the mountain with them. I have also seen my gelding mount a mare and the mare get upset because, well, he can’t, you know…

Leam and his ladies.
At least my daughter-in-law is pretty.

My little pony is the nicest pony I know. He has never kicked me. The only time his hooves ever made contact with me was by accident and entirely my fault. And even though he thinks with his tummy, he has never bitten me. He once caught my finger in his teeth and immediately let go. Unlike other horses, Leam does not try to step on me. As soon as he feels human foot under his, he steps back.

Leam at 19… Finally settled and not bothered about anything except carrots.

And maybe it’s because I know him so well and he likes me now, but I can ask him to do anything, no matter how ridiculous, and he will try. And that means more to me than the most schooled, high-bred horse on the planet ever good.

And he does cute things, like this…

He is mine and I am his and that is how it always will be.

And this is the kind of view I can enjoy with my boy.

My Little Pony


About two weeks ago I hit the middle of being 25. Now I’m heading towards my late 20’s pretty quickly, and I’m okay with that. Because I’m all about knowledge, and I’ve learnt a lot. This post has been a long time coming, these lessons have been a long time in their making, but now I can make them facts.

I have concluded that peanut butter is one of the best things ever and gherkins can bring about world peace. Sushi is still one of the tastiest things I can put into my body and curry fixes everything. Getting free stuff will always be cool, even if the ‘gift’ has no logical use, finding an alternative stimulates creativity. Music is still a sanctuary and reading is a neglected love and not by choice. Red wine goes with just about everything, but nothing beats a beer on a Friday night. Shooters are no longer as interesting as they were, and I would rather have a Red Bull when I want a buzz. I am too old for clubbing and I like to be in bed before 23:00.

How is it possible for something to be this good?

I now know that relationships will end, and sometimes you really can’t work it out and should stop trying. It hurts, but that’s alright. Because even pain goes away eventually. And the lingering heartache is just because good memories cancel out the bad ones. Moving on is not terrifying and the alternative to happily ever after is not that bad.

Working from 8 to 5 (on a good day) is what happens in the real world, and it’s not the worst way to spend time. Stress happens, but so does shit and there is no getting away from either. There are worse places to be than the office on a Sunday – I could be unemployed.

The truth - it hurts

Having friends, really good friends, is a blessing. 95% of people will misunderstand me and I don’t like the way 95% of people do things. But those are my problems and I am not theirs. But those who care about me, those who really care about me, help me take on my problems, and I am happy to help them with theirs. I will never underestimate an ear to whine into, a shoulder to cry on and a hug from someone who at that moment (and probably most of the time) has more inner strength than I do.

Breaking down is okay – I am not a fortress. Being made out of stone is unhealthy and dysfunctional. I am by no means a fully functional human being, but maybe one day when I grow up I will be. I will make mistakes, but they are only mistakes if I don’t learn from them.

There is great beauty in the world. And it’s worth pausing for. There are moments of such inescapable beauty that will happen and when they do, it’s okay to cry.

One perfect moment out of many

My horse, Ashgar Leam, is my rock. He’s frightfully handsome and is my soul mate. Our relationship is one of complete trust, thorough understanding and deep love. We were made for each other and get each other so completely I will not even try to explain, because there aren’t words and I don’t care if you don’t get it. I do and he does and that’s enough. Nothing else in this world matters as much as his four legs, his brown eyes and everything else that makes him horse.

This is what real love looks like

Strangers are best avoided, but when necessary there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of their kindness. I have been saved from disaster several times in the past six months by people I will never see again.

Living in the millennium is not an excuse to neglect the past. Good books were written before 2000. Amazing music was produced before Britney Spears and filling my collection with ‘classics’ is a worthy investment. Just because it’s not a best seller does not mean it should be passed over.

Too classic - too awesome

I’m still grappling with this one – but I should never be near my phone when I’ve been drinking. I do dumb things, I say things I never would to people I probably shouldn’t. This hasn’t led to any serious disasters, but things can’t be recalled once they have been sent into the universe via technology.

Moments of immaturity are fine. Silly things should be laughed at. Stupid people should be mocked (in private). Using the language of teenagers colours dialogue – as long as punctuation is still a priority.

Amazing people should be recognized and learnt from. Getting over my own ego has been tough; sadly I am not that smart (yet). Industry leaders in whatever field are wonderful to talk to.

Doing stuff alone is empowering. I crave time on my own and I am now happy to go to function without a plus one or colleague. I will go out and meet new people and if we never cross paths again I still had a few hours to enjoy their company and learn.

alone does not equate sad! This is not what alone looks like!

The past can’t ever be changed. Letting go of guilt is a challenge. Ultimately there are two choices in life, rolling over in submission or standing up, finding balance and taking on the next hurdle. Taking some time to gather your strength is advisable and then fully forward, because reverse is a gear you should only use when driving. Bring it!


And bring on the next five months, bring on 26 – I can’t wait for what will happen next.

Before I forget – I would like to add that I like steak. Steak is awesome. It’s good knowing A-grade meat is out there.

And one day I’ll get over saying AWESOME all the time.