No One Writes That They’ll be Infertile When They Grow Up
The twins had a writing assignment in school detailing how they see their life unfolding 20 years from now. They were telling me about it over dinner. Both started with the number of kids they would have and how they would each get to be an aunt or uncle. The ChickieNob had even broken down her brood by sex.
“But where will you be living? What will you be doing?” I asked after they spent a good five minutes explaining their whole family set up.
They had answers for that too, and yes, they will both still be living in my home (saves on babysitting!). They had exciting jobs, big travel plans, homes in a multitude of areas. (I guess they can afford it since they won’t be paying a mortgage on their main residence.) The Wolvog had plotted out college, the ChickieNob skipped over that time period saying that where you went to college was no longer important when you were 28!
I used to love assignments like that, when every possibility seemed equally likely. I could end up the lead actress in an eponymous sitcom: Melissa! I could end up the author of several bestselling novels. I could find the cure for all cancers; a single pill that cures everything. I could live in a drafty estate in rural England. All of it. At the same time.
I took the ChickieNob to her art class and sat down in the waiting area to read. I kept coming back mentally to their assignment until I found myself in the art school’s bathroom, crying. I don’t even know why I was crying. Because I’m turning 40 and imagining my life 20 years from now isn’t quite as exciting? Well, I suppose I’ll still be doing yoga, that is, if my hips allow it. And I assume I’ll still be working since we’ll never be able to afford to retire. And I’m sure I’ll have a hearing aid by then. On second thought, we’ll probably be living underground by then to escape the apocalyptic zombies. So… maybe the hearing aid won’t be necessary in such small quarters.
Or was I crying because at 28, I was in the middle of treatments, trying to build my family. I thought it would happen so easily for me, and when my family building endeavours didn’t unfold as planned in my eight-year-old mind, it was such a jolt. Such a terrible tangent off that path of what should-have-been. I could deal with the lack of sitcom, the fact that I didn’t cure cancer, and my dearth of British real estate. But I could never quite reconcile that eight-year-old idea of parenthood with what was happening in reality. I felt so sad thinking about my excited eight-year-old self. How sure I also had been about reaching parenthood in 20 years — a length of time which felt impossibly old as a child.
No one writes that they’ll be infertile when they grow up.
Image: Becca.Peterson26 via Flickr
No one writes, Well, I’ll probably be struggling with money or in an unsupportive marriage or a dead-end job. But I have friends who are living out those realities. No one writes that they’ll be rejected from the college of their choice or in an abusive relationship or end up with cancer. We write only happy, exciting things.
Are they wishes or expectations?
Or a little bit of hopeful thinking that if we write it out, it could possibly come true?