January 4, 2021

Today was my first day back to work since December 24. I can’t say I was thrilled, but in a way, it’s always kind of nice to get back to a routine. I worried that after a week and a half, I would have an overflowing inbox that was impossible to get through. While it was definitely full, I got through everything by the end of my day. Success!

I have to say that today I am grateful for my job. It’s often frustrating and not overly exciting. It’s not very creative. I miss the physical interactions with people and get irritated with the overload of emails some days. But I’m one of the lucky ones that was able to move, almost seamlessly, from in-person work to at-home work when the pandemic hit. And I’ve been able to continue working from home ever since. Because of my health situation, I imagine that I’ll be able to continue with my current set-up for the foreseeable future, which helps take the added anxiety of a compromised immune system down a notch. I won’t have to leave the house for anything besides doctor’s appointments if I don’t want to. I also have supportive coworkers and really great insurance. And did I mention that week and a half off for the holidays?

It may not be my dream job, but I know I’m lucky to still have a job while so many people are struggling, let alone a job that allows me to maintain a safe environment while I’m working through this illness. My heart goes out to folks who have lost their income source because of the pandemic, or who must continue to put themselves at risk, regardless of their own health issues, just to survive financially. I’m not sure what I would do if I had no choice right now but to go into a building to work with a lot of other people. I’m thankful today I don’t have that kind of hard choice to make.

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.