The Miner's Girl

The best of both worlds. Life as a fly-in, fly-out girlfriend.

Category: Love and stuff

You don’t know what it’s got ’til it’s gone: Lent and FIFO, the surprising similarities

ChocolateShrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Mardis Gras, whatever you want to call it, it heralds the start of Lent for many Christian denominations. During Lent observers give up something they consider to be a vice or a luxury for the 40 days and 40 nights leading up to Easter Sunday, as a form of penitence.

My Mum always took us to church as kids and my sister and I always give something up for Lent. This year I have given up chocolate, but also cake… and biscuits… and lollies… and desserts, otherwise I just substitute one for the other – especially when Mr Miner’s away. (I have previously given up alcohol for lent, but I have a camping trip with Mr Miner and his friends coming up and drinking will be a necessity!)

Apologies for my over-simplified version of Lent, but the point I’m trying to make is that, it’s a period where you give something up as a bit of a punishment. You go without something you really like, or enjoy, and understand what it’s like to go without, at least to a small extent. Sounds like something else I can think of!

As well as going without, it also makes you realise that your chosen vice is a luxury that you’re lucky to have and once you have it again, you appreciate it more. Similarly with FIFO, having time without your partner can be hard, but it can make you appreciate them more when they’re back too. And not only do I miss Mr Miner almost as much as I miss chocolate, there are other similarities to be drawn between Lent and FIFO too.

At first I miss chocolate, the velvety smoothness, body temperature melting point and sugary sweetness (oh nom, nom). I constantly think about it because I’m telling myself I can’t have it. When I walk into Coles, all I can see at the moment is the chocolate aisle. It’s also a bit of a test, because I forget that I can’t have it and then suddenly remember – usually just as I accept a lovely slice of cake and I’m about to take a bite.

In the same way, when Mr Miner first leaves, I forget he’s not there. I always think of things I want to tell him when I get home and then remember that I’ll have to text him or wait until he gets off work/wakes up to call him.

Then, after a few days, I slowly start getting used to going without and it’s not so bad. I find substitutes, like frozen banana and cocoa instead of chocolate ice cream, or hanging out with friends instead of him and there are always distractions, I keep myself busy and put my energy into something else (such as searching Pinterest for substitutes to ice cream and convincing myself that they are in fact a substitute and not just frozen fruit).

And once I’ve reached that halfway point, I can start planning for when I can have it again, what I will do with it, how much I will have and how good it will be. Get your mind out of the gutter please! I’m talking about the chocolate here obviously, this is a Christian post!

Finally, Easter day comes and I’m allowed to indulge again and of course I binge, I go overboard, I have it for breakfast and lunch and dinner, until I can’t have any more. Just like FIFO, the first 24 hours are brilliant and I can’t get enough of Mr Miner, but it’s definitely possible to have too much of a good thing!

And for a few days afterwards, I always feel naughty every time I have it, like I’m doing something wrong. It’s such a treat and time without makes me really appreciate having it back in my life – and the chocolate isn’t too bad either!

If you like it, should you always put a ring on it?

RingLast week I attended sales training for work. I’ve been to a few of these in recently and each trainer always has their ‘thing’, their own sales method that they’re pushing – imagine that scene with the pen from Wolf of Wall Street and you pretty much get the drift.

This year the trainer’s thing was ‘considering the selling relationship like a loving relationship’ (I know what you’re thinking, a bloke considering the ins and outs of relationships. I nearly fell off my seat!). Anyway, as part of this training he showed a graph of time vs commitment, commenting that you both need to show the same amount of commitment over time for it to work.

Luckily the women in the room refrained from pointing out that he was stealing the plot from ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’. But I jokingly commented to my colleagues that, never mind my sales pitch, I need to reconsider my relationship.

Mr Miner and I have been together for five years this year and people increasingly question the prospect of rings and an engagement. I know it’s not really anyone’s business but our own, but five years is a nice rounded number and I fear that some friends and family (read mothers) may get more persistent this year.

I am not going to pretend to be all nonchalant and cool and say I don’t get excited about sparkly rings and perfect ivory dresses. I have fantasised about walking down an aisle in a beautiful dress, towards a handsome man in a smart suit, in the same way millions of other women have. If you had asked me five years ago if I would get married, I was still under the romantic impression that I would be all grown-up and married by the time I was thirty, but in reality that hasn’t happened and I’m ok with that.

Currently every big event is approached with a sense of excitement mixed with fear. Excitement at the prospect of the fairy tale proposal, and fear that I would actually have to make the conscious decision to say yes and we would have a wedding!

I’m sure a lot of people are afraid of getting married. Will the thrill of the relationship wear off once you close the sale and you’re just working at keeping it going? I expect it does a bit, but that’s not really my fear, I’m not scared of marriage, I’m scared of the wedding itself.

Safely in fairy tale land, I am happy imagining big white Cinderella dresses, beautifully dressed tables, huge displays of lilies and roses and a perfect, white, three-tiered cake that looks too beautiful to eat, but in reality I find the thought of wedding plan so overwhelming, it brings me out in a cold sweat.

white rose

I have friends who have committed themselves to wedding planning as though it’s a full time job. They have spreadsheets and mood boards, stacks of bridal magazines, (which alone put a sizeable dent in the bridal budget) and spare rooms that look like they may possibly be running the World’s trade in lace covered mason jars and tea lights (Pinterest has a lot to answer for).

I, meanwhile, don’t even know which country I would want to get married in. Australia is my home, but my oldest friends and family are back in the UK and the thought of choosing between my homeland and my ‘home’, not to mention how this affects who would and wouldn’t be able to attend, makes my head want to explode all over those pristine bridal magazines.

There are plenty of well-meaning people who say we should just get married in some half-way, tropical island location, or have two weddings, one in each place. But did you know the halfway point between the UK and Australia is either Burma or Bangladesh? Both of which have serious political unrest and the Australian government advises travellers to ‘reconsider their need to travel’… well I suppose we wouldn’t end up paying for too many guests that way.

So, really, why would Mr Miner want to ask me to marry him unless he was 100% sure I would say yes? He tends towards practicality over romance and so he’s unlikely to be splashing out on a fancy rock that he may well have to return (after all he does hate returning stuff).

Having said all this, I don’t question his commitment; we have a business together, we’re saving for our home loan deposit, he agreed to spending a whole three week holiday with my friends and family and he’s the one that texts to see how may day has been or to say goodnight when I always forget.

In truth, as far as commitment goes, I’m not too concerned that I don’t have a ring, but maybe he should be?!

Now, fingers crossed he doesn’t read this before April – ANZAC day is our anniversary and I don’t want to ruin my chances of being surprised with something sparkly!

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…. or maybe just a little forgetful

MG Friday

This weekend was our first Friday night at home together since December 5th. Our first Friday night at home together for eight weeks, that’s nearly two months!

And I don’t mean our first Friday night at home because we’ve both had plans, or been out for dinner together, or had after-work drinks, or because our lives are just so wildly exciting and sociable. No, I mean it’s the first time we have both been in the same city on a Friday night for eight whole weeks!

I am shocked, not just because it’s been such a long time, but also because I didn’t notice. I’m not trying to seem cool and aloof, believe me (I am so not hipster enough to pull that off). I could talk about how hard it’s been and how much I’ve missed him and how lonely it’s been, but quite frankly, that just wouldn’t be true.

In all honesty I didn’t even realise until I was driving home from work that afternoon. I had that niggling feeling like I was forgetting something, was I supposed to be going somewhere after work? Had I forgotten my keys?… Nope, just momentarily forgotten I had a boyfriend at home!

Mr Miner had been at work and I had been away for Christmas, then he had been back at work again and there had been weekends away in between, then all of a sudden you realise just how little you’ve seen each other, it just creeps up without you even realising.

Obviously I would like to spend all (ok, let’s not push it, maybe 70 per cent of) our Friday night’s together in an ideal world, but the fact is that the longer you live this lifestyle, the easier time apart becomes.

I think in some ways we have been lucky that we have never known anything different. Since we met Mr Miner has worked away and so we have never been able to get into a routine of being together 24/7, relying on that security.

Have you ever watched that show ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’? Well, they have to spend three weeks apart while they plan the wedding and there are always tears. They cry about how much they miss each other and then when they’re reunited they always say ‘Let’s never, ever spend that long apart again’, and I can’t help but roll my eyes and think, seriously?

Am I a totally cynical bitch? I love Mr Miner, we have built a solid life together over the last five years, but I can’t imagine being so upset about being apart for three weeks. Three weeks apart is often standard practice for us.
And then I think back to when we first lived together and he left me in our new house to go to work and I was suddenly very alone. That feeling of anxiety set in, like a dead weight in my stomach and I cried when we said goodbye, gutted that I wasn’t going to see him… for four days!

And suddenly I realise how easy it is to take what we have now for granted.

If you are just starting out in this way of life, then I will be honest and admit that yes, it can be difficult to start off with. The hardest thing is learning to be by yourself.

It’s so important early on to plan your time apart and choose things that you want to do. I love watching a girly movie, having drinks with my friends, cooking the food I like and not having to share the remote or the bed (or the bathroom for that matter). And now I look forward to my ‘me’ time. I long for my guilt-free nights where I don’t have to think of anyone but myself and I don’t tend to get lonely or upset, in fact I have a pretty great time!

As for this weekend, as well as making me realise that I have got pretty good at doing this FIFO thing, I have also realised that I shouldn’t take finding it easy for granted. As much as I’m ok with being apart, there are some nights (especially after eight weeks) when you just can’t beat being together.

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