A couple of years ago, thanks to social media, I was able to meet with a friend from my adolescence with whom I lost contact for the last three decades. The happiness and curiosity were intense and as a part of the recap she asked me to summarize my life.
I was not sure how to begin since many things had happened throughout those years, so without giving it too much thought, I ended up summing it up with a mathematical equation:
“Two countries, three marriages, two divorces and one beautiful daughter” I said.
No doubt, my friend’s response was full of surprise and disbelief because she knew me as a conservative and analytical person. Our conversation made me evaluate the situations that marked the decisions linked to the most important areas in my life: where to live, who my partner would be and how I was going to live.
The mathematical count didn’t look like a successful story, so I had to reflect on the reasons that made me summarize my life with those numbers. The conclusion was revealing because I recognized that when I felt lonely and vulnerable, I made decisions based on my own weaknesses and mixed emotions. Ironically, the same decisions that led me to the trial and error exercise also gave me the opportunity to strengthen other values like gratitude, tolerance, patience and especially self-esteem.
My first marriage was a complete failure for not knowing how to recognize the signs that life was giving me. I pushed a toxic relationship where I wanted to be the decision maker and the savior of my partner at that time. That first divorce was a beautiful release that let me regain my life and helped me understand that my biggest responsibility was to myself.
After feeling that my inner scars were healed and that I was able to cope with my past, I felt that I was ready to accept a marriage commitment for a second time. This time my ability to function as a “team” with my new partner was very limited. I was also incapable of making deals regarding what I was able to accept or not within the relationship. Unconsciously I lived in “defense” mode, fully focused on what I needed and with a minimal tolerance for the others. After a year of living together, I decided that I didn’t want to continue with the marriage and asked my husband for the easiest solution that I knew: a friendly divorce without taking the time for adjustments and growth as a couple.
A short time later the second rupture turned into the bridge for a third relationship in my life. This is how I chose to initiate what I knew was going to be a definitive project in my life. My second husband was also my third (some people call me repeat offender). This time we made sure to have a clear and honest “deal” for coexistence. The phrase “your rights end where mine begin” was very important in the negotiations, as was the joint commitment to become the ideal partner throughout the rest of our journey.
Today our love story makes our daughter not only laugh, but also think about the responsibility of reflection, love and honesty with ourselves and with others even though mistakes are a possibility. At the end … miscalculation isn’t bad when it helped us add value to our lives despite our mathematical counts.
This storyteller shared her story in Spanish and in English. Here is the link to the Spanish version of this story… https://sayitforward.org/el-recuento-matematico-de-mi-vida/
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