The Golden Ticket.March 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Moving On. | 13 Comments
So I have a draft saved, an update post – all about how infertility has affected my body image, my parenting, and my marriage. And every time I go back to it, I keep tweaking things here and there… but I can’t seem to press the “publish” button.
I’m not actually sure I can blame IF for the way I feel about myself, my parenting, or my marriage.
What I know: Right now I seem to be in a place that’s bleak and dreary. Maybe it’s the awful winter, or maybe it’s knowing we’re done with family building, or maybe it’s because I’m coming up on 40 and am realizing that the horizon is NOT wide open for me anymore.
I feel as if I’ve spent my whole life, up until this time, looking for the Golden Ticket, always looking ahead for that next chocolate bar – the bar which might actually hold my ticket to lasting contentment and happiness.
My whole life has looked like that. Wow, I’m in kindergarten – hey, next year I’ll be a first grader! Wow, a fifth grader! A middle schooler! And look how old I am now, I’m in high school. Cannot WAIT until college. Wow, I’m here, in college. What will I major in? Crap, I am graduating college in May. I need a career. Nope, that career isn’t awesome. I’ll go back to graduate school for a practical career. Except, wait, I hate marketing. Another graduate degree – accounting would be recession-proof! I’ll never have to worry about being out of work. Now what? Oh. Pick a partner. Marriage. Let’s start trying for kids. Oh, no kids yet? Okay, fine, let’s look for a house. Found one? Great! Wow, I’m pregnant, finally. He’s two, we should start trying for a sibling… all right, well, that didn’t work out so well, but thank GOODNESS it’s over. Shit. Now what?
I never did find that Golden Ticket. And I feel like I’m standing outside of the Chocolate Factory gate, looking at all the lucky kids who DID get their Golden Ticket – the people that completed their families AND work a career they love AND qualified for the Boston Marathon AND can actually be photographed in a bikini.
At some point, we enter a place in our lives where we run out of milestones yet to meet. My education: complete. My family building efforts: complete. I have a husband, and a son, and a house, and a dog, and a job, and many responsibilities. There are options open to me, of course, but all require sacrifice and energy and time I no longer seem to have.
And all of a sudden, it’s my kid who has the milestones ahead of him: my kindergartener, who is turning 6 in two weeks. It’s his turn to search for his Golden Ticket.
But wait! I want to scream. I didn’t imagine my life like looking LIKE THIS!
And so it’s easy to get mad, and blame all sorts of things for why this wasn’t the life I wanted. Infertility robbed us of our second child. My body is to blame for why we can’t complete our family. My husband is to blame for why we need to struggle with doctors and IVF in order to get pregnant. My parents are to blame why I ended up in the career I’m in. If my cousin hadn’t committed suicide 20 years ago, I wouldn’t be such a perfectionist who is worried about making sure her friends and family get the support they need all the time, to the detriment of my own life.
Et cetera et cetera.
But the thing is?
*I* made the decisions on the paths I’ve walked. Not infertility, not my parents, not my body, not my husband, or son, or Amy.
And if I was making choices mindlessly, because I was focused on looking for that Golden Ticket?
It’s really no fault but my own.
I acknowledge that “fault” is a bad word here. It implies that I was wrong somehow, that I made bad choices. But I made those with knowledge and experience I had at the time. Which means they were just choices, not wrong or bad.
What I’m struggling with now is how to change my ingrained habits: Focusing too much on the future and forcing choices upon myself because I need to get out of where I am today. I am realizing that it’s a control thing – this idea that I have to DO something when I’m not as happy as I expected to be. I have to change up SOMETHING, I have to structure a new goal for myself to work towards, because THAT’S my Golden Ticket to happiness!
Why wouldn’t we try again, since our doctor recommends another fresh cycle? Why couldn’t we take another break and then do a fresh cycle, maybe in the fall once running season is over? Okay, if we don’t do that, why wouldn’t I focus then on running the best marathon EVER and qualify for Boston so I can prove to myself that my body doesn’t suck? Or maybe I can totally change up my careers, because accounting doesn’t really make me happy even though it’s pretty flexible and I make good money, it’s just not what I wanted. I think I want to [insert a new career here].
These are all goals for the sake of making goals. If I can’t find the Golden Ticket to Happiness, then maybe I can create happiness by looking for multiple mini-tickets. More is better, and I’ll DEFINITELY be happy when I meet all of my goals, right?
So here’s what I need to be doing, instead of all of this mindless goal-making.
Do nothing, Serenity. Just focus on the path you are walking right now.
Running-wise, I am training for a marathon in the spring. But my goal is ONLY to run the whole thing. I’d LOVE to have a comfortable marathon experience, since my last two marathons had a LOT of walking in them, a factor of injury and then starting way too fast and not being able to sustain.
Family-wise, We are done with family building. No matter how much the idea of trying again – maybe the next one will work! – niggles at me, we’re done. We’ve spent enough time and energy on family building. We’re done.
Career-wise, the more I think on my current work, the more I wonder if I’m selling myself short. I am a good accountant, and I actually really enjoy the work I do as treasurer of my running club. I love doing budgets and discussing options with people. Why COULDN’T I stay in the field in which I work – except go and get my own clients, maybe small businesses that might need some reporting/budgeting/accounting help? It won’t pay as much as the corporate work for sure, but I bet I could make my own hours.
Marriage-wise, I need to rediscover the man I married without the pall of procreation fail hanging over our heads. It’s so hard to carve out the time and energy to do this when you have the incessant, unceasing needs of an almost 6 year old only child competing with your marriage. There are days where all I want to do is enjoy the SILENCE of my house when Lucky is in bed. But that’s shortchanging Charlie and my marriage, and we really need to tend to it right now.
And maybe, just maybe, when I can figure out how to be still, I’ll find that my Golden Ticket has been in my pocket all along, and I never really noticed it before.