Eliza, my baby, turned 25 earlier this year and is living in a Brisbane suburb with Shawn. They have been together for over three years and met at Tangalooma resort on Moreton Bay Island, where they were both working in 2010. She is living a very different life to me at 25.
Eliza nearly wasn’t born, as after having complications with Sarah’s birth (and Melanie’s in 1983) the doctor warned me against having any more children. I am very glad that I went on to have her as she completed our family and was such a little cutie.
Eliza feels that her life is a struggle at times although she says she is quite content. Her life isn’t what she expected, as she didn’t expect to be living in Queensland and she never expected to be a sailing instructor, having grown up in rural NSW. Life is harder as a grown up than she thought it would be. She would like to stay as free as a child without the responsibilities that being an adult brings. Money is an ongoing issue and getting ahead is difficult. Being the youngest of three girls she feels she always has to keep up with her sisters, though no one has ever expressed this, it’s just the way she thinks. She has a friendly, bright and bubbly personality and is a delight. I think she suffers from a lack of self confidence at times but as her mother I think she should be happy with what she has achieved and what she has done in her 25 years.
In 1985 at age 25, I was a mother of 2 little girls, having just had Sarah earlier in that year and Melanie was just over two; I had been married for almost six years and we were in the process of buying our little house in Georgetown in Newcastle. Life was a struggle for us too, being on only one wage with two babies & paying our house off. But Eliza wasn’t aware of our struggling times as she wasn’t even born then. I had to grow up and be very responsible very quickly. Life wasn’t always fun for me at 25. It’s much more fun now when I am more affluent and comfortable with myself and my circumstances. These things take time to achieve and if I could tell Eliza one thing it would be that all things pass, you just have to make the most of it and get on with it.
Eliza has already travelled the world extensively in her 25 years and I suppose we started this love of travelling by taking her on a year long teacher exchange to UK when she was just three years old. This was my first real overseas trip too and was a huge learning curve taking three little girls away for a year. She completed all her schooling in Tumbarumba and despite a few lacklustre years in the middle she finished with a bang, sharing the award of Dux of Tumbarumba High school in year 12. She has had more than her fair share of sadness to deal with but to her credit it has made her stronger. I feel that life is hard for young ones today, there are a lot of expectations and pressures, but I wonder if it is really that different to when I was 25, maybe the priorities are just different.
She took a GAP year after finishing her HSC and worked on an activity camp in UK and travelled Europe before returning home to attend University at Lismore. She graduated with a Bachelor of Sports Tourism and got work on Tangalooma Resort as a water sports coordinator after completing an internship with them as part of her uni course. Since leaving Tangalooma she has worked as a flight centre consultant, swimming instructor, tennis coach, vacation care activity instructor and now works as a full time sports coordinator for Moreton Bay Boat Club. She enjoys this role immensely, teaching sailing to young kids and organising other events as required. There appears to be a theme running through all her jobs!! It may not be surprising to know that she was always very sporty; she loved swimming, tennis, soccer, netball, AFL, rugby union, cricket, dancing, skiing, touch football – anything really – and was good at them all and is always competitive in everything she does. This is one of the problems with our family, everyone is so competitive!! By the time I was 25 I had had one job, working for the Commonwealth Bank, and then put my career on hold to have a family. Eliza wants a career and is working on making contacts and learning as much as she can.
Shawn and Eliza have travelled overseas together on numerous occasions and she has recently taken Shawn to see her hometown. Considering that Shawn hadn’t been out of Queensland when he met Eliza she has done well to expand his horizons and show him how much fun travelling the world can be. They plan to travel overseas again in a few years time. She has a love of elephants and is worried that they may become extinct and be only available for her grandchildren in picture books. She would like to live in the country at some stage in the future but as Shawn is a city boy a compromise will have to be made. She wants to be happy and healthy and eventually aims to have children, maybe before she is 30. She also wants to get married one day, preferably to Shawn.
When I was 25 I still had all my grandparents alive and luckily so does Eliza. She has a good relationship with them all and is genuinely fond of her family. Despite being spread all over the country we do attempt to catch up whenever we can. I think she needs our support and I love being in contact with her most days. She has had our support in lots of ways over the past few years but is becoming more independent. I, on the other hand, was in an entirely different world at 25 due to being a young married mother. My parents were grandparents to my children and as such I wasn’t dependent on them in any way.
Talking with Eliza she feels that people don’t appreciate everything that they have, that young ones want to grow up too fast today and think they know everything by the time they are 14, that kids don’t play outside enough and aren’t as active as they should be. It’s funny hearing these sentiments from her. She enjoys the junior sailing sessions she runs on a Sunday and is proud to have built up participants from 16 to 40+ over a few short months. She has also introduced sailing as a school sport into local high schools.
Our lives are completely different at this age mainly due to the nature of our roles. I was a young married mother making my way in the world and Eliza is a young woman trying to keep her head above water and carve out a career while trying to enjoy the life of a 20 something.