Willing to bend

During one of our weekly delves into the depths of our most complex thoughts, my friend B and I talked about the changes we’ve seen in ourselves since living in Saudi Arabia. And as we discussed these changes and our happiness with them, a lightbulb moment happened. We are both content with our lives and where we are living because we have both been willing to change.

This conversation led me to think of all of the people I’ve connected with while in Saudi. It made me realize that in most cases, the people who have been most resistant to life here are the ones who are most unhappy. And those who have been willing to bend, to change, to accept, and adjust are the happiest. And if I think even harder about it, this remains true for the people I know and love all over the world.

When it was my turn to list for my friends all the things I was thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner Thursday night, I gave the usual generic answer: friends, family, health, etc. But really I’m most grateful that I’ve been through the worst of times and that through it all I have learned how to bend.

Life doesn’t work out for any of us in the way we planned it to. And it’s those of us who embrace that fact–those who have bent instead of letting life break us–who are happiest.

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11 thoughts on “Willing to bend

  1. Can you share what you need to change, adjust or bend and that make your life more happyua Please ignore my ignorance, if I have to wear a faceveil in order to allow to move around in the town, I will not be happy if I bend or blend in to the society.

    • Happiness is an inside job, Michelle. Knowing that and letting go of my need to control external factors and deciding instead to accept things as they are, to change myself and adjust to my environment instead of being angry that it wasn’t adjusting for me were the keys to my own happiness.

  2. Also, I have my days where I am angry with the ways of life here. On those days I refuse to bend anymore and the result is my own unhappiness. So I try to keep myself in check…and to surround myself with friends would have no problem also keeping me in check…so that those days are kept to a minimum.

  3. I think that is true, that we all have to give up something to live here. The thing is for me is that I was being asked to give up fabric of my very identity- which I couldn’t live with losing. I think there is a very fine line in this place. You have to be flexible in expectations, but be willing to be relentless in carving out a life for yourself. Otherwise you will be swallowed whole. 🙂

    • That has a negative ring to it, but I guess you could call it that. At least somewhat. I’m here. I’m not leaving any time soon…or maybe ever. So why not just accept it as is and find a way to make it work?

      • Of course accepting the Saudi-life as it is, is the best solution if you live there. I thought, that staying there is somehow resignation.But certainly you have reasons to do it ……..

  4. Thank you for sharing parts of your life, I have enjoyed your blog. I just wanted to say (for what it’s worth from a stranger) that I applaud your decision to stay in KSA for your daughter’s sake. I get the feeling that you might not get enough credit for that, or at least more understanding of your decision, so I wanted to say it. It is sad to me that anyone thinks your daughter should have a long distance relationship with either of her parents. You signed up to put your daughter first when you decided to have her, and that’s what you are doing. You are awesome!

  5. Actually you really have no choice but to live as a survivor. If you take a look at reality do you come first in anything over there. When you had nowhere to live because of your choice to not move so far from your daughter really concerned me. My first thought was where is your ex husband. Was he helping you at all. Sorry but I’m a self-proclaimed pro judgemental freak on Saudis. Been married to one and I got room to talk. What I find funny though is nobody listens to me about the advice I give. But here’s a thought. Sometimes people need to fix themselves first before they try to think they need to change what is around them or more like who they are in a relationship with. And what I mean by that is people will search for someone who will help continue some kind of trama or abuse a person went through as a child and this person carries it into adult life and they connect with mates that they know will fulfill this unconscious continuous abuse. It is unconscious. The mate may have no clue of the others past abuse or scars, but will react because they wer chosen because they have the character to fulfill the ongoing pain or trama. Maybe somewhere a person felt abandon at a very young age so they create this life style of being abandoned and constantly struggling for security. I’m really am terrible at explaining things but it’s a helpful thought on why you are needing to bend your ways and why you put yourself in this situation in the first place. Once you figure it out you will see the beauty of your life bloom. I really don’t know 100% of your life so I’m only speculating when I write from what I’ve read. And a lot of people say great things about their spouses but reality Shows true colors. I see you agreeing on a lot of stuff that wouldn’t fly if you guys were both Americans. So look deep inside you very deep, because you have no choice but to survive there now. And it doesn’t have to be a survival. Anyway I don’t mean to offend but I watch you girls on these blogs and worry. But I’ve been around the block on how to survive a Saudi and I just think omg I hope she is packing her money away or time to get out. If you plan to live there you need to make sure you have a job you will benefit from for social security. Research this. Go to the offices that deal with this and ask lots of questions from anyone that has knowledge. I believe females retire at a younger age than males and also a great benefit compared to here in the states because here it’s maybe 65. So some positive things To do I hope. Just remember if you remarry, please put in the contract that you will work if you want and your salary will not help support the family and is yours. Of course that then gives you freedom to spend if you want on the family. Or not. Also if you do self employment you might look into putting money into social security. You won’t benefit from your ex at all now that you divorce, but his sisters if not married and possible mom depending on situations will. I’m going by when a spouse dies. And your daughter will if not married . She will split the social security with them. I think I’m writing to much. But if you do get more info on this topic for other girls, please do write about it. It is needed.

    • Hi there. To be honest a lot of what you’ve written here is hard to follow and sort through. Maybe I need more sleep 🙂

      This might make me sound like a selfish mom, but I absolutely spend a lot of time putting myself first. I’m all I have at the end of the day so I have to put me first.
      To give credit where credit is due, when I had no place to go, my ex husband was the first person to offer me a place. I chose not to stay with him because of obvious awkwardness it would cause between the two of us and because I didn’t want to cause my daughter stress or confusion. He was also one of two people who tirelessly worked to find me a more suitable place and he’s the one who found the place I’ll I’ll be moving into soon. He’s not my husband anymore for a multitude of reasons, and he doesn’t always support me in the ways I’d like him to, but this has nothing to do with him.
      That’s the thing about judging other people’s situation based on your own experiences. And that could be the reason that “nobody listens” to the advice you offeer. Your experiences are yours and yours alone. And they color your perception and therefore skew your advice. I’m saying this as a person who has absolutely given skewed advice.
      Regarding life in Saudi and future marriage, I’d like to believe that I’ve learned enough through my experiences here to take care of myself. I have have a great job that pays me well. I am 100% financially free and dependent only on myself. I wouldn’t expect that to change because of marriage.
      I’m not sure if I am entitled to social security here because I am not a Saudi citizen, but it is worth looking into. I’ll make sure to do that.

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