“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”James Joyce
Master is a big James Joyce fan and we have been together to see a few of his plays*. They are always interesting and thought provoking. I wondered where the quote above came from and neither of us were sure. In his book Ulysses (of course Master has a copy) we found this:
“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery”
So maybe that is its origin. But no matter because I believe that if we make no mistakes we discover little about ourselves or those around us. and if we believe we have made no mistakes then we will never learn anything.
It turns out I’m thinking of Eugene O’Neill. But we did see a play where James Joyce was a character. I’ll therefore probably need to edit this!
My mistakes and what I have learned from them
Don’t marry the first man you meet
When I was young I had no idea that I was at the beginning of everything. So I rushed to catch up with others to get a boyfriend and be serious with him. All of my friends were the same. It’s strange but there was very little ‘playing the field’ going on. Perhaps my world view was determined by the idea that nice girls found a man and stuck with him. Lots of us got married in our early 20s. Some are still happily married and some are not. Funnily enough I was barely back from honeymoon when I remarked to a friend that I had been in love with getting married. That was pretty much mistake number one.
If it feels wrong, then it probably is
My parents were married for over 50 years as were my ex’s. The expectation was that you married for life. Few people in our family had divorced. Interestingly I and both my siblings now are. I’m not sure if our choices were bad or whether it’s that our parents tried and failed to influence those choices. Less with me than my brothers to be fair. But even when early in our marriage I knew I’d made a mistake, I thought that I just had to sit it out. Till death us do part etc. The truth is, I didn’t have to. Nor should I have put up with his behaviour once he began to stray.
Don’t stay for the sake of the children
I truly thought that it was worse to end my marriage while my son was young than to wait until he was an adult. When he was 21 I discovered that while he looked like an adult and was mainly living away from home, he was in many ways still a child. He found the fact that the home stability had eroded while he was at university a difficult thing to cope with. Thankfully our relationship is such that we have talked this though over the past few years. For me, I definitely didn’t benefit from keeping the marriage going.
Its probably best to end one relationship before embarking on the next
With my son at university and husband in attentive I jumped into an extra marital relationship with both feet. For all the wonderful experiences I had with S I do regret not having the guts to end my marriage first. When my ex found out about us he made life very unpleasant for me. In some ways I felt I deserved it because I had been unfaithful. On the other I was doing what he had done to me. But two wrongs don’t make a right. Course, I didn’t know then that he would go straight into the arms of a work colleague, but that is another story. In hindsight I wish I had been brave and ended the marriage.
Once things have ended. Then move on
I definitely spent too long helping my ex come to terms with my decisions, rather than putting myself first. Thankfully during this time I met Master and he helped me to move from the situation. But progress was slow. However in the end we have a clean break and I am divorced and free to do as I wish. Of course too, if I had moved too quickly Master and I might not have got together when and how we did.
These are some of the mistakes I feel I’ve made and how I’ve learned from them. That doesn’t mean I would go back and change everything because they are things that have made me the person I am now. Plus they are done. Best thing now is to move on, which is what I have done and am doing.
This post is linked to Quote Quest and to 31 days of self reflection. Prompt 4 asks what I might have done differently, something I’ve reflected on and answered here.