Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The 29th Year

Today is my 29th birthday. Strangely, getting older isn't really something that I dread. I would love to avoid wrinkles if at all possible, but I get the impression that's just part of the package.

I can't say for certain that I get wiser as I get older, but it does feel like I gain a greater sense of clarity with every passing year. I don't know it all, but I do know a few things for sure:

It's better to have friends in quality rather than quantity: I don't have a lot of friends, but I have a few very close people in my life who really get me--and vice versa. I like my relationships un-fussy, un-complicated and just mutually understood and respected. I don't have the time or patience for anything (or anyone) else. To me, that's what true friendship looks like.

Some people will not like me and that's OK: I'm truly content in my own skin; and anyone who doesn't like me can't change that. I get that I cannot please everyone and not everyone will find me fashionable, charming, and hilarious. And really? That's OK by me.

Everyone needs something that makes them feel alive: It doesn't matter what it is, but I believe we all need something that makes our lives richer and more meaningful in a profound way. Maybe it's your job or even a hobby--whatever it is, you need to make time in your life to do something you truly love. For me, that something is running. I love it so much that it's the only thing I'm willing to get out of bed for at 4:45 a.m. morning after morning.

You can't steal my joy: Unfortunately, the world is full of negative people who want nothing more than to pull you in to their miserable place. I find myself noticing this about people more and more--and working to protect myself from them. When someone is negative or nasty to me, I tell myself you cannot steal my joy. Because it's mine, and you can't have it.

If something makes you miserable, do something about it: So often we find ourselves stuck in a rut comprised solely of our own own misery. Maybe you hate your job. Perhaps you despise something about your life or situation so much that it affects everything else in your life. Do something about it. Right now. Get a new job. Go back to school. Actively work to erase your debt. Whatever it is, be willing do something bold and scary to find your happy place again.

You won't be happy until you find a way to accept what is: It has taken me years to finally be in a place where I'm at peace with a life that does not include biological children. I was miserable and unhappy with our situation because my primary intent was to find someone to hate or blame for our inability to reproduce. Infertility involves a lack of choice, significant out of pocket expenses, and a long list of questions that cannot be answered by any human being on planet Earth, no matter how many advanced degrees they hold.

It feels unfair to be put through what can only be described as a truly miserable, devastating situation. But for me, peace and acceptance came in accepting what is---rather than wishing and hoping for what might have been. There are plenty of things I will never accept or understand about infertility, but at the end of the day I am completely at peace with my life. Resisting the reality of your life will leave you feeling empty inside each and every time. Perhaps your reality (your 'what is') isn't what you thought it would be, but it is what it is. And you have to work to understand that if you want to find your own sense of peace.

Consult your brain, but always follow your heart: The best way I know to avoid making the wrong choice is to let your heart be your guide. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true: think it through, analyze it, and consult all the people you want, but let your heart have the last call. It will never steer you in the wrong direction.

Calories don't count on your birthday: At least that's what I've been telling myself all day. The scientific proof to back this up is still emerging, however.

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