While I’m celebrating my 25th birthday this week, I am more than happy that I live in 2012 and not 1959. Why, you may ask. Let’s play the what if game:
Well, first of all, in 1959, I probably would not have had the opportunity to study. I would have grown up during WW2, spending my youth in fear of getting killed by bombings, starvation or being killed otherwise.
My upbringing would have had the main reason to turn me into a good housewife, to get married early and so on. And boy would that have been a disaster! Even though I’m a good baker and a decent enough cook (if I know what to make and have the time) I know I would have been miserable if I was to be the little wife to some guy, raising his children and taking care of the household.
At sunday lunch my Granny was reminiscing again and this time I learned that she was not even 25 when she had her second child, my uncle. In fact, she spent her 25th birthday in the hospital as my uncle was born 2 days earlier. (This shouldn’t have been news, if I had ever cared to calculate the age my gran was at when she had her children but as it turns out, I never made that connection *ahem* ) I cannot even imagine being married right now with two children and a new business to build such as my grandparents did. Don’t get me wrong, my Grandpa was a stand-up guy, he didn’t put Granny down but where she came from, higher education was never even a question.
I like to think that I would have ended as the spinster on my block. Maybe one day I would have been pressured by my family to get married, not out of love, but for other reasons like financial security. After all, I was just a woman, I needed a man to take care of me. So I would have married the next best man that came along, or maybe I would even have had feelings for him. It may not have been love, but a strong sense of liking – hopefully friendship. It would have been fine for a while but seriously, at some point both of us would have been miserable because I would never have been able to love him the way he deserved, the way everyone deserves to be loved!
In 1959 I wouldn’t have been able to see as much of the world as I’ve already seen. Germany would be divided in West and East. Being fortunate enough to live in West Germany it would still have been awkward, you could not just book a ticket to hop on a train and visit Dresden or Berlin.
Or even worse, I would could have ended up in a sanatorium being treated with electro-shock therapy to cure my homosexuality.
Yes, you may argue that things could have turned out in another way. Maybe I would have had wealthy, academic parents that saw my love for math and technology so they would have sent me off to university. But, the purpose of this post was to imagine how my life would have been if I were my grandmother, well kind of at least. I hope I didn’t confuse you too much, but I had this on my mind for some time and needed to get it out.
On a much happier note, see what the interwebs came up with, fat baby seal seals. Yay!!
So yes, thankfully I live in 2012 where I can study engineering, read as much as I want without having to knit and I don’t have to get married just for the sake of it. Happy birthday to me :)