I’ll bet you didn’t know that the idea of New Year’s resolutions dates back 4000 years to Babylonian times. Back then, as today, we wished ourselves to be better souls going forward into another year. To be sure, making resolutions is a part of our cultural DNA.
But you’re infertile. Beat up, tired and living with a blown budget. You never thought for the life of you that it would happen to YOU. But it did, and it hit hard — maybe as hard as anything else has in life. You are struggling with strange feelings, like depression and anxiety. And now it’s the holidays. Families encircled by the howling laughter of children; parents reveling in the enchantment written on the faces of children hearing stories. It’s like having walking pneumonia — it just never seems to get better. And on top of this, you’re supposed to make resolutions? Bah humbug!
Let me propose some reasonable, bite-sized things that you might consider this year instead of the usual, formal, full-year, “turn over a new leaf” resolutions. Think of them as Bites of Life:
Breathe. You are a real live organism, not a machine. Take in the moment. That cool crisp air. The aroma of firewood burning. The stillness of snow falling. Turn off the phone and the iPad and stop those circular thoughts leading to the same place: nowhere. The present can be utterly beautiful and often magical.
Vent. Don’t hold it in; let it out. Life can be so ridiculous that your only response is a big-ass belly laugh or a primal scream. Write down what you feel when you feel it. Letting it out can be incredibly cathartic.
Get physical. Take a walk, a run or head to the gym. Exercise works wonders for resetting your emotional state. Something about those endorphins that surge through the body with activity can make all the difference in your day.
Enjoy. The company of your partner, whom you chose to love and with whom you would love to have children. They are right there with you in life and they understand as much as anyone what you are experiencing. Grab their hand. Ask for a big hug. You are not going through this alone; this is a ride for two.
Step. Backward, forward, anywhere. Because, in the words of my friend and runner Laird Malamed, “Every step is a step in the right direction.” Think about it: when you’re moving, you’re always headed somewhere.
Plan. But start simply. Maybe plan to take the next month off from trying to conceive and start again after the New Year. Then maybe plan to talk more about matters of the heart. Any mountain can be climbed with enough small steps.
In the words of Lily Tomlin, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”