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Life Lessons: Tricia Oakes

Are you happy at the moment?

Not to steal Rene’s moniker, but I’m good enough. Nothing is terrible, but I feel like I’m struggling a lot with the, “Is this it?” question. Degrees, marriage, house in the ‘burbs, kids. Is this it? Trying to figure out how to convert on the goals I have for myself while working, caring for two small kids and trying to stay married is tough. So I’m good enough. There’s always room for improvement, but things could always be worse. It also feels like I’m on the cusp of being extremely happy…just trying to get over a few humps.

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

Don’t let the people you live with get you down. Their life and hang ups are not yours, and you will not have to live here forever.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

My New Year’s Resolution was not to hang out with people who suck. Thus far, it has served me well, though it has also been painful and cathartic to let go of some stagnant relationships.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

I’m in the process of writing a book. Which means I’ve written a few character outlines, one chapter, tons of ideas in a notebook, read several books about writing books, and told people I’m writing a book. This time last year I hadn’t even come upon the idea for this book. So this time next year I’d like to be finished, or at least close to it.

What’s your secret to happiness?

Don’t be a jerk. Don’t hang out with jerks. Don’t let your kids be jerks. Marry the best person you know. Also, curse a lot.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

It is something I learned in therapy. I check in with what I call my “Head Committee.” It’s giving all of the voices in my head a chance to talk and be heard. After, take all of their opinions into account and make a decision. In the meantime I also pray to God that he gives my Committee Members wisdom. It sounds and feels a little crazy, but it works.

What’s your biggest regret?

There have been a few instances when I should have been kinder to people. There have been other instances when I have been too kind and have been abused in turn. However, those lessons have shaped who I am today, and I like who I am. So no real regrets, just lessons.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

When I asked my five-year-old son what the most important thing I’ve taught him is, he responded that we should clean up our messes and use good manners. I think if I can actually get them to do those things as children and adults, I will win at being a mom.

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

It took me a month and a half to complete this questionnaire. I’d like to blame it on my kids, but the truth is that I procrastinate. Does it make it sound better when I say that I work better under pressure?

Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

I’m proud that I’m willing to take chances, whether they are on people or activities. Sometimes they don’t turn out the way I’d have liked or hoped, but being willing to embrace that process is something I’m glad I do. I’m also proud that I’m honest with myself and others enough to admit when things don’t work and try something else instead.

When were you happiest?

I feel a little funny saying this, because I would like to say that it was when I became a mom and my life changed and the flowers bloomed, the angels sang, and the air smelled so sweet because my kids were in the world. But honestly the happiest I remember being for more than  sleep deprivation-induced, euphoric times with the kids, was the year my husband and I were engaged. We had several friends who got married the same year, so it was filled with parties and celebrations and excitement. We traveled a good bit during that time, and had few financial worries. It was a lot of fun, and I miss that sense that we had the world at our feet. I’m probably remembering it through a Vaseline-smeared lens because I know there was stress involved, but I really did enjoy that time.

What ten words best describe you?

Loyal, intense, impatient, gregarious, reader, sensitive, tenacious, sassy, traveler, honest.

Tricia Oakes is a wanderlusting foodie Anglophile wife and mama who loves travel, tasting and experience. On Southern Spark you’ll find tips about trips big and small. Sprinkles of stories about raising two Wee Frat Boys (ages five and two) in the burbs and being married to funniest man in the Carolinas are thrown in to taste (She may or may not steal his one-liners). Her monthly parenting column appears in her local paper, and all are delivered in a pot of Southern accent with a side of sassy mouth. Follow her on Twitter @SparkReviews .


1 Comment

  1. Jamie (Mama.Mommy.Mom)

    August 23, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Gregarious was a good one for Tricia. 🙂

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