Long Exposure — Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

Garry and I at President Clinton's party on Martha's Vineyard
Garry and I at President Clinton’s party on Martha’s Vineyard

All the people I’ve known a long time have changed, me and my husband in particular. Better? For whom?

I am far less sociable and hugely less outgoing. I was quite the party-maker with a wild and crazy social life and now I’m a virtual recluse.


Much of my life centered around work … and I don’t work any more. I’ve gone from being gregarious to being a loner, being work-centric to being survival-centric.

Good? Not good? If I hadn’t changed in response to the realities of life, I’d probably be dead or living on the street. I guess that makes them good, right? I read less, write more.

I keep taking pictures. It’s now more than forty years of photography. That’s consistent, anyhow.

Garry was shy, solitary. He was so driven by career and work he didn’t have time for anything, anyone else. Like making friends, building a personal life. Yet … when I came back into his life, he began to emerge. He started to pull back from work, become more sociable. Now, he couldn’t be paid enough to go back to work.

1990 in Ireland
1990 in Ireland with Author Gordon Winter

He used to be the kind of guy who always looked like he’d just stepped out of the pages of GQ. Now, he wears sloppy shorts and old tee shirts or pajama bottoms and sweatshirts.

He remains passionate about sports, but can miss the game and watch a movie without having a crisis.

Both of us eat less, don’t drink at all. Our world centers around each other and a few close friends and family.

You know what? I think it’s good. And appropriate.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


  1. You look like a sweet young girl there. I bet you are much the same but maybe a little more mellow? It sounds like you found your soul mate. What more could anyone ask for?


    1. That Marilyn wasn’t so sweet and this one is even less so. Nice, generous, friendly. But sweet? No, I don’t think so. My granddaughter gives the same impression — she looks much like me — and she is very far from sweet. She’s got some mouth on her! As for the soulmate? Yup, got that. It makes all the difference.


      1. Well, you did look sweet to me. I have no doubt you have a strong mind and will of your own and probably didn’t hesitate to express yourself. But Marilyn, that is what makes you interesting. (Your granddaughter too)
        It’s a tough world out there, You had to be strong to get to your stage in life.


        1. My mom was not particular sweet either. Sharp-tongued, but also funny. Amazing how important a sense of humor can be. It IS a tough world and if you can’t be a little bit tough too, it’s hard to survive, much less thrive. And getting old is not for the faint of heart. “Sweet old lady” is a myth!


          1. You definitely have to be tough but funny takes the edge off it. My Mom was strong and just, so was my grandmother. They had a big influence on me. We have to pass that strong and tough onto our granddaughters.


              1. I just had a short visit with my granddaughter. (15 years old) She isn’t feeling the greatest. She was up all night. We have a big family event to go to and she had to be there.


      1. At end of day, this speaks. Gary, then your reply. Huge. ’tis how those of us who’ve mastered it roll. Kudos and congratulations for a lifestyle and relationship that work, hella or high water. ’tis what everyone seeks. Few have the pleasure of finding it.


  2. Loved this post. A message that, at the end of day, you’ve gotta (and you’re gonna) love the one you’re with — it seems that you and Garry both do, very much.


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