looking at highlights
… at life's cross-roads.
Writing May 2014, and while we Norwegians are looking back at 200 years with our constitution, and celebrating all the incidents over those years, I am looking at incidents and highlights in my own life. There have been a few…
My memory may be playing tricks on me, but high above all the others in my very
personal “ranking of highlights of all times”, there is but one.
Frequent visitors to any of my sites have probably figured it out years ago, as it is literally “engraved” all over the place – in the site names.
While looking for a unique and fitting name for my first serious website, I chose my wife's name and launched gunlaug.no. Years later this site, gunlaug.com, came alive, and lately three more sites carrying Gunlaug's name are being prepared.
the highlight of my life
While helping my wife digitize and organize whole series of photos covering her entire life from when she was only a few months old, it became obvious that I had left out too much surrounding my own connection to her from my sites, leaving only her name and some basic information in place.
Really about time I corrected that shortcoming, so here it is
… the highlight of my entire life is my marriage to Gunlaug
Solås – July 19, 1996.
Takes a tough girl to survive that many years alongside me, and, no question about it, tough she is.
That Gunlaug has also survived more than most of what life itself can throw at a human being, bothand after we met, says even more about how tough this little lady really is. And, despite the usual, and a couple of unusual, downs in our relationship, she is still here – alongside me. Unbelievable…
'twas a sunny day in july
Less than one year after we met, Gunlaug and I got married. And that
was the formalized end of my bachelor days.
Good thing I held out that long, as the reward was greater than I could ever have hoped for.
Our marriage started good, and continued even better. Me being her second husband – her first died in 1990, and she being my first wife – and only wife if I have any say on the matter. Aye, life has really been good to me.
There are two very strong and independent personalities in our relationship, and it shows. This is definitely not the basis for a quiet and boring life, and it certainly has created an interesting, and mostly good, life for us.
Neither of us are all that interested in astrology, but we know that according
to our horoscopes – me being born in the sign of Aries and
Gunlaug in the sign
of Capricorn – we should not get along at all. Gunlaug and I are what is known as
“incompatible and competing personalities”, and there is much truth in that.
Well, there are exceptions to every rule. Not a point in itself to prove that, but all stories have more than one side, and so does people's personalities.
we want to make it work…
From very early on we both realized that differences in personalities were bound to create problems down the road, potentially also some that might be pretty difficult to solve. But, we were open about these things, and decided to try to build a relationship anyway based on what we felt for each other.
We were not kids entering a relationship with unrealistic views on what living together would, or
should, be all about. Our lives up until we met had followed totally different paths, but we both knew
only too well how complex and difficult living together and having to adjust to each other could be.
There are good reasons why I stayed alone for so long, and why Gunlaug's former relationship in practice ended years before her husband died. Certain things simply did not work out in our past, and we knew that if we did not pay attention and took proper care of our relationship, it could happen again.
Different backgrounds and traditions – coming from different parts of Norway, along with our “incompatible personalities”, have lead to quite a few misunderstandings and caused numerous problems over the years. Most have simply turned into funny incidents and lots of laughs, once we got around to clear them up.
But, sometimes one or both of us did not notice that we were not understanding and handling
things the same way, so we did not talk and listen as, and when, we should. Or, we simply talked past
each other – bet you have heard that one before.
Staying about fairly minor issues, tends to make them grow with time. One day what was “nothing” to begin with, may have turned into really serious and unmanageable problems.
As could be expected, our marriage has been on the brink of total collapse a couple
of times – what relationship hasn't been there. But, our willingness to
try to understand and support each other, and to find working solutions when our individual
interests and strong wills have clashed, have pulled us through every time – actually on overtime
at least once.
We have learned a lot through these “processes”. Most importantly, we have (re)learned, again and again, that getting married in the first place was no mistake.
I think our experiences show that will-power can overcome nearly all problems in
a relationship, and not just create them as is so often the case.
We want our relationship to work, and being open about all that cause problems, and providing plenty of space for each other to evolve and expand on as individuals, have been the main keys to achieve that.
And then there is this powerful thing called love, that, when properly nourished, can grow to achieve the impossible.
no warnings: tough times ahead…
Good thing we cannot see into the future, as having that ability might have caused irreparable damage to our relationship. We might have avoided further contact after our first meetings, based on what would happen in the future … what a terrible thought.
That Gunlaug got hit by, and barely survived, a very nasty medical condition a little over a year after we got married, lead to tough times and caused many problems for us, but it did not disturb our relationship as such much. She would have died if I hadn't been there when it struck, and, if anything, we grew closer through the incident and several years long treatment and recovery.
Gunlaug suffered from limited, but permanent, brain damage after the incident,
making many things in daily life difficult. Her short-term memory isn't working well, and reduced
depth-vision tends to cause dizziness in many situations.
Her personality and will-power was intact though – very much so indeed, so once past the after-treatment we were able to carry on with our lives, and life on the farm, pretty much as planned.
More fell on me from this point onwards, but I like challenges and didn't really mind as long as Gunlaug was more or less alright with the situation.
November 2013 it was my turn to go down, and nearly stay there. Obviously I am still around (or I would not have been writing this), and despite all the unforeseen problems this incident has caused, we are in good spirit and positive that things will turn out alright.
the future looks bright
Writing this blog-post in the spring of 2014, as the grass grows taller and greener day
by day, life could hardly have been any better here at our little farm. Everything looks
good from where I'm standing, even now that the
animals are gone and I am (at least formally) out of work as farm-assistant.
As I revise and expand this post in the autumn of 2014, I am recovering from my close encounter with death last fall, and a round of cancer treatment this summer.
(31.mar.2015) That I have later learned that those responsible for my “cancer treatment” are directly responsible for my near-death experience and most of my medical problems today, does of course not help on my recovery. I won't let them near me ever again, as facing them and their “treatment” is worse than facing death, in my not-very-humble opinion.
Takes time to get back in shape, but at least I am now at a point where I can focus on more important things in life than being ill. Being ill is soo boring anyway…
These days much of my time is spent on building and fixing details inside, outside and
around our newly renovated and upgraded house. Slow going, but good to be busy doing something
useful for a change.
Gunlaug is focusing on learning to use computers and various devices properly for
everyday tasks, despite her brain damage which
still makes learning new skills frustratingly difficult – especially for an impatient
person like Gunlaug. Often she simply can not remember how she did something the day before.
Yes, even after years of trying to learn how to use internet based services, almost every time she sits down in front of her computer, or grab her tablet, she needs some initial assistance to get going. And so what, she is trying the best she can, and for the most part she gets the task at hand done as intended.
Despite health-related setbacks and other obstacles we have run into – lately and earlier, most of what we plan for and set out to do seems to end up better than we thought it would be. As I now write autumn in the year 2014, things are moving forward, and neither of us have much of substance to complain about these days.
Gunlaug and I have now been together since the autumn of 1995, and all in all it has been some great years. Looking back I would not want to change much even if I could.
I simply can not imagine what my life would have been likein it. The future is of course something we (still) do not know much about, but we aim at, and work for, many more happy years together, come what may.
Life is fun in our little world up in the hills, and at times it is really, really funny too.
14.may.2014 - released article.
25.may.2014 - populated and linked to Addendum.
01.jun.2014 - opened addendum, and added in-page link to next blog-post.
04.jun.2014 - added a word-cloud image.
05.jun.2014 - added image of Gunlaug & Torstein in Addendum.
10.jun.2014 - minimal revision.
14.jun.2014 - added 7 pictures+text in Addendum.
29.jun.2014 - expanded on some text, mainly in Addendum.
05.jul.2014 - added "lightly enhanced past" text in Addendum.
29.sep.2014 - added wedding img / revised text.
14.oct.2014 - minimal update / revision.
17.oct.2014 - updated image layout in side-notes.
18.oct.2014 - inserted paragraphs about zodiac signs in main article.
19.oct.2014 - rearranged pictures and text in main article and side-notes.
23.oct.2014 - fine tuned "the short story" in side-notes. Revised "getting along" in main article.
28.oct.2014 - added link to short-note about Johnny.
03.nov.2014 - added list of short-notes at bottom of side-notes.
07.nov.2014 - replaced fifth picture in "early glimpses".
10.nov.2014 - added a couple of sentences here and there, and visually realigned a few paragraphs.
23.dec.2014 - minute text-revisions
15.jan.2015 - linked in short-notes-02#p3&#p4
23.feb.2015 - added picture of Gudrun and Arne's wedding, and of me as scout-leader, + some text, in Addendum.
31.mar.2015 - replaced image of Gunlaug at bottom of main article. Inserted comment about "cancer treatment" in last part of main article.
16.jul.2015 - added 'shapes' to some 'radi' images.
31.may.2016 - replaced dead links for astrological signs. last rev: 31.may.2016