“When Will It Be My Turn?”
I am green with envy. In the past month, two of my friends have called me with the great news. The IVF worked. They are celebrating 10 years of marriage. The past few years, their greatest trouble has been crossing the finish lines of their established lives – adding a child to their happy marriages. […]
I am green with envy. In the past month, two of my friends have called me with the great news. The IVF worked. They are celebrating 10 years of marriage.
The past few years, their greatest trouble has been crossing the finish lines of their established lives – adding a child to their happy marriages. All the while, I fought to make it out of the starting gate, struggling to find work and a husband, battling breast cancer along the way.
These roadblocks all occurred in my 30s, the decade when most of my friends were busy getting married, having babies, and climbing the career ladder. I grew used to climbing over life’s hurdles.
Even through the challenges I faced, I’ve been a good sport. I’ve been a serial bridesmaid. I’ve applauded hundreds of friends on marriages, new babies, mortgages, and anniversaries on Facebook. I’ve attended all kinds of new-fangled parties like the “gender reveal brunches.”
And now, it’s finally become too much. I’m sick of congratulating others on their abundant good fortune – that I wish I had even a small taste of. Personally and professionally I’ve grown despondent and tired of hearing, “We know you’re trying Jane, it’s just not working,” from my boss and my husband. I dream of a day when I’ll have the upper hand.
I thought that by age 40 I would have earned a bit of happiness and stability. I moved across the country to give an already rocky marriage a try. I have a new job I took for a major pay cut. But, instead of relaxing into the next decade, I face a husband who wants a divorce, the challenge of finding a new partner, and coming to accept that it might be too late for me to have children of my own.
It would be laughable if it were a reality show, but not when it’s my life.
A good friend pointed out that often, the people I envy – the ones who seemingly have it all – have fought their own battles. My friend who suffered through rounds of IVF lived through multiple miscarriages.
“But at least they had the opportunity to work hard, to fight for what they want,” I said. “I haven’t found anyone who wants to even try to build a life with me.”
It got me thinking about my ADHD and how significantly it’s affected my personal dreams and goals. Throughout my life, I’ve switched interests, interrupted others, and had a short attention span. But, like many with ADHD, I’ve always been incredibly forgiving, creative, loyal, and child-like in my joy.
Can I take advantage of these positive qualities to get what I want – a stable job, a partner who loves me – out of life?
Or am I caught up in dreaming of the Disney fantasy life that society and storybooks teach us to crave? Is being the perfect homemaker, wife, and mother an achievable goal? Or just one that is bound to make me feel like a failure when I scroll through my Facebook feed and see everyone who has already achieved it?
My father told me to get off social media. “It is like an advertisement – one that says everything is perfect, when often it’s not the case. No one posts their unhappy moments to their newsfeed. Think about the things you have, that they might daydream about,” he said.
Surely I enjoyed freedoms my married friends with children fantasized about – a chance to work and travel overseas, the chance to live in a penthouse in the Big Apple, a flexible job.
“Have confidence in yourself and be the creator of your own destiny. You are still young enough to turn from a caterpillar into a butterfly. Stay away from negative people. Find comfort in your friends who tell you the hard truth when you need to hear it,” my father said.
It made me realize that it’s time to become the mistress of own fate, to choose what I want – starting with giving up my belief that the grass is always greener in my best friends’ lawns.