first marriage: 191/365

When I was 20, I married my high school sweetheart. We graduated from college and went to live in France for a year, where I was teaching English at a lycee and he did some tutoring. I came home pregnant, started law school, and Kathleen was born over Christmas break. I was 23, the same age my mother was when she had me. When I was 25, I got a divorce. Marriage was the first big thing at which I failed.


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20 thoughts on “first marriage: 191/365

    • Tricia, this one was difficult to write, and I very much appreciated your words so soon after I posted : ) I have to say failure is the only way I’ve been able to think about that marriage all these years. But now that I’ve said that out loud, perhaps I can begin to see it differently. xo


  1. I don’t count divorce as failure either. Byron Katie says something along the line of when we are rejected or something doesn’t work, we’ve been “spared.” You were spared a life with your high school sweetheart and that Cal you talk about sounds pretty swell. But I know about regret. Almost everyone thought I should still be with my first love but look at the adventures I would have missed out on!


    • Kirie, Cal is going to be your friend forever : ) And oh yes, the adventures! I’d never heard of Byron Katie until your comment. I googled her and her process sounds intriguing–I’ll have to follow up. It’s so interesting–while I’ve always looked at that first marriage as a failure of mine, I’ve never regretted it b/c I got Kathleen. xo


  2. Quarter of a century before a “failure” – I’d say that speaks to 25 years of making great choices. And, it seems to me, you’ve made a lot of great choices since then too. Plus, just deeply impressed: a second language, a baby, and law school all by that age?! And then Law School with a baby!


    • Well, Louise, it was the first “big” thing at which I’d failed, but I see your point. And actually with everything coming so easily up until then, I think failing at marriage hit even harder. I really didn’t know what to do with it.


  3. (Not that I think you need me to be all sunshine and positivity. But your very matter of fact post has, to me, such a deep sadness to it.). (That said, thanks for not posting 365 of the very best things in my life posts, but keeping it so real.)


    • It is still sad to me, Louise, but I would do it ALL over again. Perhaps I would wait later to do it, but I would do it. I guess it was a necessary failure. Or perhaps I can learn to think of it more as my trial run… Thank YOU for supporting me–with sunshine and otherwise. xo


  4. One of my daughters just turned 24. It is hard for me to imagine her experiencing that many major life events at such a young It’s one thing to list them, another to live them- you probably look back sometimes and can’t believe it yourself.


  5. OMG – I think we grew up faster then. What a romantic start to something that turned out bad. So glad life turned out so much better for you though!


  6. I have a similar high school sweetheart story, Cynthia. It definitely registered as failure at the time it happened (I was 28). But it also felt right and necessary. It was hard to reconcile those ideas going together at the time. Seems like a lifetime ago, but one I’m glad to have experienced.


    • DL, thanks so much for your comment. I love the way you framed it–a “high school sweetheart story.” Four days after writing this post, I am on the road and moving past failure toward stories…


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