Forward to the Future

I’ve been doing alot of thinking lately, mostly because some wonderful people are asking the sort of questions that cause me to assess where I am at – thank-you Pauline, Jayne, Cassee, Paul, Ben and Benny. Anyway, what I’ve realised is that after Stephanie and I got engaged I began to change in ways I am not happy with. I allowed Stephanie to convince me that I needed to spend as much time with her as possible, to the detriment of everything else in my life.

I allowed her to convince me that I was spending too much time playing basketball, seeing my friends too much, spending too much time playing games on my computer, and I allowed her to convince me that I was neglecting her when I spent time doing the thing I love the most – coding. In the end I started feeling guilty when I spent time with guys I’d grown up with, or played a mission in Assassin’s Creed. I felt terrible working on my own websites or websites for friends – this is why I never finished toyboxcreations.org, stephaniejewell.com, stephaniejewell.info, sixthdaydesign.com, and why its taken me more than two months to rebuild phalacee.com.

In the end, I gave up almost everything that had shaped me into who I was, who it was that Stephanie had fallen in love with in the first place. My quirky nature and my passion were a reflection of my friends. My fitness was a result of all the sports I used to play. I used to play computer games to deal with stress, and I used to code to relax and express myself.

Its no wonder the relationship didn’t last. I was spending more time at work, so I could code and hang out with friends – I enjoyed the insane hours because I was with people who shared a passion for all things geek, doing something I love. As a result Stephanie began to withdraw from the relationship because she felt I was neglecting her. What she calls neglect, I consider to be some healthy time apart, but the distance came too late – we’d started the relationship spending a lot of time together, we’d see each other daily, spending hours together each time.

Yes, we had a wedding to plan, but that had been pushed back to allow Stephanie to finish her studies, so the planning wasn’t urgent. No, I didn’t leave Stephanie alone to deal with the problems in her life, if she needed me I was there. Stephanie wanted me there with her every free moment I had, and while that is very flattering and it makes me feel good to be needed like that, I am only one person, and I needed time to recharge. I wanted a relationship where we weren’t joined at the hip, and could go a day with out seeing each other. In the end, I guess I was preparing for marriage while Stephanie was preparing to end the relationship.

That alone indicates to me the problems we would have faced if we had gotten married. Rather than openly address the issue in a way we both felt comfortable with, we would end up fighting over it. Stephanie would bring up the topic of me not being there enough while I was busy with something else, and then get upset when I wanted to finish what I was doing. In the end, Stephanie gave up with that and ended the relationship, rather than ask me to set aside some time to discuss the issue away from potential distractions.

Well, the end result of all this is that I have learned what it is that makes me who I am, and what makes me happy. And I really do want to be clear about this one fact: I am not blaming Stephanie for anything I have mentioned above, I accept responsibility for the things I did – I allowed Stephanie to convince me – in truth I didn’t need much convincing, most of the time I willingly gave up what she asked me to. I gave up the things that made me who I was. I was the one who changed because Stephanie wanted more time with me. I spent more time at work.

I am also the one who is making a living doing the one thing in all the world I could never get bored of doing – coding. I am back at church every week, serving God with renewed passion. I am playing basketball again, spending time with the guys I grew up with, and loving the people I have surrounded myself with. But most of all, I am the one who is learning to let go of all the pain that this break up has stirred up, without harbouring negative feelings for Stephanie. I still love Stephanie, I always will, but I’m no longer in love with her.

When I look back over the past 3 years, I see bright moments of happiness, great times I shared with Stephanie, and events that will bring a smile to my face every time I think of them. I see a love that grew from a friendship, a love that kept me sane on the other side of the world. I see that I accomplished things with Stephanie’s support that I don’t think I could have done on my own. I only wish I could share all my recent accomplishments with Stephanie now, show her what I spent those hours at work doing.

When I look forward to the future, I see the potential for a life time full of similar moments, shared with my friends, my family, my work mates, and eventually, my wife (who ever God has in mind for me) and children.

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