What Remains The Same

Elizabeth Harper – Athens, Greece – Summer 1981

Yes … that’s me. This image came from an old slide from my army days, one of many that I’ve been moving from place to place for years. With twenty-one just around the corner, this younger, thinner version of me thought she knew a few things about life and while I’d had some experiences by then that most of my friends from high school had not, like breaking down an M-16 rifle in the dark, or leaving home at eighteen for my first military assignment in Germany, I was clearly not rocking the world with my fashion sense.

I mean, really …what was I thinking with that tight curly perm and if that wasn’t bad enough, how in the world did I think it was okay to go out in public wearing those cutoff short shorts! That sock-less running shoe look while not pretty kept me from getting blisters when I ran my first marathon in those bright yellow Nikes and I was still wearing Nikes twenty-six years later when I ran my second one.

These days, I wear my shorts a good bit longer and I ditched the perms twenty years ago, but check out that camera I have hanging around my neck … most of us change a great many things through the years such as behaviors that are no longer useful, bad hair styles, career choices, and sometimes husbands and partners, but there are some parts of us that are with us for the duration and central to the core of who we are no matter where we’re standing or what direction we may be looking.

I bet you don’t need three guesses to know what remains constant for me. It’s there in almost every photograph whether it’s around my neck, hanging off my shoulder, or in my hand, a camera of some kind is always with me and while not exactly a fashion accessory, it appears now it is has become a necessory item for completing my look. How about you, is there something about you that people have come to expect will be there, always the same whenever they see you?

Elizabeth Harper – Cornwall, England – Summer 2008

30 thoughts on “What Remains The Same

  1. I love the idea of always having a camera, but I don’t think it will be me any time soon.

    But I always have a pen. It gets annoying, because I doubt too many people assume they can use your camera, but tons of people ask to borrow my pen. If they needed one, why didn’t they bring one? Well, it’s one way I can be helpful.

  2. Ha…I am just like David…I always have a pen…always. But, I do like always having a camera with me to capture a special moment in time or scene that I know will never be the same again. I will say that one thing people always expect of me is my personality. Someone who met me when I was 10 would be surprised to find that I have not changed much, just a little older and wiser. I will always try and be there to make you laugh and see the world just a little differently.


  3. Enjoyed your blog Elizabeth and the photos. I wish I was good with a camera, but I’m not!! Everyone aqssured me that if I got a digital camera I would have no problems. Ha!
    I’m still useless! But I do so enjoy looking back over old photos, reminiscing and embarassing myself!

  4. I like photography, however I still need to save some to get a camera like yours in the photo.
    People change over time, even though only a little bit of change. But what remains the same since I was a little is my passion to cross cultural understanding; that’s why I am blessed to have met people all around the world.

  5. This post has me looking back over the span of my years…and asking, “what has remained the same for me?”…well…I think it comes down to this: the wearing of bras and the fine-tuning of sarcasm–a true art form, if ever there was one. (the sarcasm.)
    also–I went upstairs and put my hands on my first camera…and my favorite. I wonder–does anyone still make actual film to put in them?

    off for more thinking, and great post.
    (btw–I think you look adorable in the photo.)

  6. Not sure about me… I have changed so much over the years…. I am not sure either when I started to take photos… In fact I never use to own a camera until a few years ago… yes had camera in the house but not mine.

  7. Hi Elizabeth, like you….i also carry a camera, off late i have switched over to a Mobile cam, its easy to sneak in places, where there are no cameras allowed 🙂 well, the idea is same, capture evry moment! I also liked the way you said….we change our hair style…to husbands and partner… 🙂


  8. Liked this post. Love the comparison. Definitely food for thought. I always wear a watch. I mean always. Not sure I am proud of that….a pen would be more helpful and normal, I guess. 🙂

  9. I always have a point-and-click camera with me. In fact, I recently abandoned my old 4.1 megapixel point-and-click for an HTC Incredible smartphone with an 8 megapixel camera. Love, love, love having a camera everywhere I go!

  10. Hi Elizabeth –

    We have a lot in common. I was in the military also…in Frankfurt, Germany from 1977-1979. Also had a perm and love photography. I just started a blog and added you to my blogroll! Hope your day is great!


  11. You certainly triggered a response with this post, and I wish I’d looked that good when I was 20. I usually carry a pen (if I knew why, I’d say) and more recently, a camera…but people who know me for not too long might say that I like colourful things.

    Fun post and fun responses.

  12. We probably bumped into each other. I spent 6 weeks with a group of university friends in Greece in 1981. I also had the perm although longer and blonde. Ha!

  13. Oh, to be young again! I liked the perm!
    hmmmm…. what is “with [me] for the duration and central to the core of who [I am] no matter where [I’m] standing or what direction [I] may be looking”?

    My faith. Once Jesus came into my life (when I was your age in the Greece picture) been with me for the duration, through curly hair and straight, through thick (middle age) and thin (youth) :).

    Nice post. Congratulations on being picked for the WordPress page! Gloris

  14. Let me speak to you clearly… about what I find to be some sort of a major mistake in our American culture.

    Just because you ran around the world in an American Army costume, getting paid to flaunt the gorgeous West on some sort of prolonged field trip, doesn’t mean your extra teen experiences were far and away more significant that your girlfriend that decided to stay home and enjoy herself.

    Getting paid to wear the ‘uniform’ simply means you are able to push back the years of getting on with real life– because I’m sure you would agree, Military life is nothing like reality. Or anything you have known since then.


  15. Permed hair,questionable fashion sense – baby, that was the early 80s for most of us. For me, the constant companion is, like David and Raul, a pen but also something to read. One day, I hope it will be a camera as well.

  16. Thank you so much for this post. I love how you made a subject as big as self-awareness seem so effortless and simple. You’re a wise woman.

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  18. Love that image of the ‘younger you’. I think we all have some of those stashed away in boxes and albums. And I – like you – have had my camera hanging around my neck for longer than I can remember. It’s a one part of me that hasn’t really changed!!!
    Wonderful post!!

  19. Great post!! What has never changed for me is music… It does not matter if I’m 14 or 41… I am always and forever going on about songs, bands, concerts…. it’s the one true love of my life….

  20. I carry a pen with me always as well. I take many photos but don’t always carry the camera (except now with the camera that’s built in to my cell phone which is always with me). Lately I’ve taken to carrying a small notebook in which to write things. Most of these things people wouldn’t necessarily notice.

    What they would notice is the small purse that I wear across one shoulder and the opposite hip. My fashion-savvy sisters think this is the best way to ruin the look of a great outfit.

    I like having my hands free for the pen, notebook, camera and other things—not a purse which is simply an article for storage and transportation. There’s no creativity in the purse.

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