What Does Not Change

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I’ve been going through old photos and journals, trying to make them more organized. For years I split both between personal laptop/work laptop/phone. Before moving to Egypt I sent dozens of email files to myself to get everything off my work laptop, which I only went through and downloaded last week. Even after coming here, some things were still on my laptop while others were on an external hard drive. I wanted everything in one place, and easy to find.

While going through my journals in particular, I found some that dated back to 2003, 2009, 2013 etc. I’ve been keeping “diaries” since I was 7, and never got rid of them (except against my will, like the time I had a box of my things sent from CA with my earliest diaries in it, and it was never delivered or stolen). I still have several paper journals in storage in Atlanta.

I like to read through them from time to time, to see how I’ve grown. In this case, it makes me sad to see how I have not grown. In my 2003 journal, which started right before I met my second husband, I was talking about what values and priorities I needed to have together before getting into another relationship. Apparently I never completed that work before I met and married my ex; nor did I do so before I met and married my current husband. Now we are discussing the details of our third and final divorce, upon which I will leave to America.

Perhaps if I had done the work I should’ve done 15  and a half years ago, I would’ve realized in 2014 that some people make better friends than spouses. I would’ve remembered that backing down from my intuition was only going to hurt me. I would’ve understood that being patient and suffering for a good reason is better than being over-eager and suffering for the wrong reasons.

What I’ve learned now about love is that you can genuinely love someone, but love is not enough to make a relationship work. Even if the love is mutual and real, relationships are built with values and needs and goals as well. And if any of those are mismatched, the relationship can burn down just as much as if the love had died.

At this point in my life, I have no desire for a relationship. That’s the first time I can say that. When I was 15, after I had become a Christian, I had made a vow to avoid boyfriends and relationships to keep from being distracted….but I still wished for one inside. All through college and after I never wanted to be without a companion. I’ve been married three times, and I’ve invested so very much into each marriage. My investments didn’t return as I hoped. Now I just want to invest in myself, because I know I won’t let myself down. I think this is the first time in my life I can actually be happy on my own. So if that is the one thing I gained from this most recent marriage, that’s something to be very thankful for.

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