February 2, 2021

Happy Groundhog Day! Do you feel like you’ve done this day before? #covidlife Today was a repeat day for me, too. Chemo treatment #3 in the books!

Patrick got the shoes in the picture!

As I mentioned before, I decided to dress up a bit for these appointments. This time, I wanted to wear a new pair of boots, so of course, it called for my purple wig. I questioned my choice when I sat in the waiting room getting side-eyed by my elderly cohorts. I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. But every nurse said they loved it and even my oncologist, when he entered the exam room, exclaimed whoa! and said he thought it was great. Not that I needed anyone’s approval, but it was nice to get the reaction I was hoping for—a smile.

I’ve had so many family and friends supporting me lately by reaching out in a variety of ways, even friends I haven’t necessarily kept in close contact with. (Thanks, social media for keeping us connected!) It hit me today I’m not always so good at doing that for others. It’s not that I don’t care, but I feel self-conscious reaching out blindly. I’ve always been more comfortable listening or watching in groups and will typically interject myself only when someone asks me to. I figure, why will they care to hear from me? I don’t know what to say/do. Social media makes it easy because we can just use an emoji on a post and call it good.

But you know what? Being the recipient now, I can clearly see it does make a difference. It’s always nice to get a message when you’re going through a difficult time. It’s ALWAYS uplifting to know people are thinking of you and wishing you well. I’m grateful every time.

I like when I can make someone smile, so why do I allow myself to hold back? I’m willing to wear a silly wig, but I can’t send a short message when someone needs it? I’m thankful today for this reminder to be better. I’m going to add it to my to-do list. Maybe like Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day, becoming a better person will get me out of this #Covidlife we’re stuck in. Wouldn’t that be great?

New Year?

I wish a new year really meant a reset. A putting away of the the past and a new embrace of the future. A hard line drawn in the sand where the old doesn’t start seeping into the new. But that isn’t the way it works. It’s February of a new year, and it doesn’t feel new. I know it’s my fault. Last year had some tough moments. Really tough. And some of those moments have lingered.

There is a budget crisis at work that makes my job feel unstable. Well, in Illinois pretty much all colleges are in a budget crisis. I survived one round of lay-offs already. But I’m close to finishing my Master’s degree, so hopefully I’ll be in a good position to find something different if the need arises.

My daughter totaled my newly paid off car which means I now have a car payment added to the strained household budget. But she wasn’t hurt and we got a new car so we don’t have to worry about something breaking down and adding to the bills.

And the doctor told me I have about a 1% chance of having a baby at my age. Even though I got pregnant last year, the miscarriage wasn’t an anomaly. That was the norm. But… This one is harder. This one challenges a lot of what I believed. Mostly that age doesn’t matter. Because now it does and for more than one reason. It means that because of my age, I must let go of the desire I have for another child, of experiencing parenthood with the man I love. It also means that I’m robbing him of fatherhood and trusting that he can live with that. All of a sudden, my age has become a life changer. I wasn’t ready for that. For the past six months I’ve been hopeful. Every month, hopeful that we could be part of the 1%. But my faith has also been challenged, and I realize that I can’t will it to happen. I can’t just work harder at it either. And I can’t change my age, as much as I may defy it. If it happens, it will be a gift.

There’s a quote that frequently makes the rounds and is usually attributed to the philosopher Socrates, although he didn’t say it. A character named Socrates said it in the book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. This is a new year. And today is Groundhog day. I love the movie, but I don’t want to live with my life on repeat. I need to let some things remain last year’s issues and work even harder on acceptance this year. Of my age. My limitations. Once again, gratitude will be my comfort. For the best way to accept loss is to balance it with the blessings. I still have a job. My kids are safe. I’m almost done with my degree. I’m able to afford to replace my car. I have a 1% chance which is better than 0% and my guy insists he loves me no matter what. That’s what I’m thankful for today.