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2020 Vision

April 18, 2010

Looks like four months past BFN came and went.

When I knew that failure was a possible reality back when I didn’t know what direction to take in attempting to build a family, I wanted to know how women who were not successful in getting pregnant coped. As much as I would like to provide that perspective, it has honestly been hard for me to focus on my life post-failure. I would like to try to document this process, both for me and for the reader out there who is in a similar situation or who may in the future be in a similar situation. But part of me just wants to go on with my life, because life does go on, even if your dreams are not fulfilled.

I recently participated in a leadership group at work. We met once a month for 10 months, going to a different department in our local government each month. The hosting department would give a presentation about what role they played in our local government, and there would usually be some sort of exercise involving a leadership topic. One of the hardest exercises was the NASA exercise of what you would take with you if your lunar pod crashed on the moon 200 km away from the mothership, and you had to survive the trek back to the mothership. I did figure out that matches are worthless on the moon (no oxygen for combustion), but how the hell was I to know that a compass doesn’t work on the moon?!

One of my favorite talks was by the director of our department that provides aid to families in need. As you can image, there is a lot of need right now, but unfortunately, state budget cuts have forced this department to do a lot more with a lot less. This director talked about how you can do the best you can, make the best decisions, and you can still fail. He told us that what makes leaders great is that they fail, but they keep trying. Eventually, you will succeed. He used the metaphor of Michael_Jordan. Nobody focuses on how many baskets he didn’t make. They just focus on those he did. If you look at his statistics, he failed half of the baskets he did shoot. This message really hit home for me. You just have to keep making shots on goal.

About a month ago, we had a graduation ceremony for our leadership class. The first speaker talked about his friend who succeeded in life with a successful career, marriage, kids, the whole 9 yards. His friend wasn’t always like this. It was only when he had a vision and goal for what his life would be like in the next 10 years did he succeed. I sat there thinking, what if life doesn’t go how you planned? What if 10 years go by, and your vision didn’t work out? Then what? Both my husband and I are in this position. For me, I got married late, which wasn’t in the plans, and so I was waaaaay behind in getting started with trying to get pregnant. The whole IVF thing didn’t really go as planned, and I didn’t really count on how long it would take me to process all the losses, so I really was beyond the end of my useful egg life trying IVF at age 43. For my husband, he didn’t really plan on the whole world economy crashing (who did?) when he was at a crucial point in raising money for his new business. We still haven’t recovered financially from October of 2008.

The next graduation speaker was one of my former bosses, a retired head honcho of our local government. I really loved this woman, so it was great to hear her speak again. She talked about her career in politics, and how she was just a young housewife who worked her way up to a state senator. Then, she came back to work locally. She talked about her daughter and how her daughter had the career first, then the kids in her early forties. She described how she loved being a doting grandmother to her two grandchildren, and I almost lost it at that point. I thought about how my own mother could care less about being a grandmother, and how I would never have that kind of support in my life. When I recently told my mother that I needed her guidance if I ever get pregnant, she said, “What’s the big deal? You get pregnant and have a kid.” As if it’s that easy. In fact, my mother is such a horrible grandmother that my brother calls her “the anti-grandma”.

Then, several of my classmates got up and talked about their experience volunteering. Volunteering was a requirement of this leadership class. One woman got up and gave a tear-jerking account about her volunteer work with recruiting foster parents, and her experience as a foster parent herself. She told us about her foster son, who had just returned from service in Afghanistan. She said she was happy he had a home to come home to. Pass the kleenex please.

The theme of the graduation was this 2020 Vision, or at least having some sort of goal, short or long term. I did not want to set any 10 year goals, as I didn’t trust that I could fulfill any vision that far out. I’d already been sorely disappointed. So, I recently set a smaller goal, which is part of the reason you haven’t heard from me in a long time, because I spend much of my free time training. I decided to run a 10 k race on Memorial Day that is quite famous in our city. It seems like everybody and his brother has run (or walked) this race, except me. I didn’t think I could run a 10 k, but I decided “what the heck” and that I’d go for it. Running is challenging for me. I have a heart condition in which my heart beats erratically if I get stressed. I have to be really in tune with my body on a daily basis to keep my heart from freaking out while running. Sometimes, I forget to take supplements that I know helps this weird electrical anomaly that I have. If I get a heart palpitation or sudden rapid heart rate while running, I know I’d done for the day. One screw up, and it can be over 5 minutes into my run. I’ve been working on this since December, ever since my last IVF failed. I spent Christmas Day sick because I over did it exercising the two days before, and my heart was palpitating just getting ready for a get away we were supposed to take that day. We canceled our plans. Christmas was spent being depressed on the couch watching shows of happy family endings that I know were written by grownups from dysfunctional families. I know that because I have a brother who tried to get into the entertainment business for 20 years, trying to get the attention he never got as a kid from our parents.

I have now surpassed the 5k mark, a goal I didn’t really think I was capable of! I have even thought of trying a sprint triathlon in the fall. I know I’m not at a 10k yet, but I’m not giving up. Just yesterday, I ran 3.6 miles for the second time, but unfortunately, my heart started freaking out about 30 yards from my goal. I was running a faster pace the second time around, so it probably was a little too hard, a little too soon. I kept going, even though I watched my heart rate peak at 190 on my heart_rate monitor. I know that would freak some people out, but I’m used to my heart doing this. Luckily, since I am in pretty good condition, my heart rate came down pretty fast once I stopped running.

For now, I’m focusing on small, attainable goals. The larger ones seem out of my reach.

Share with me your 2020 Vision, if you have one. Did you, too, have a 10 year plan that didn’t work out? If so, how did you cope?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2010 11:34 pm

    WOW a 10k! That’s pretty awesome, good for you, hon! My dad just completed a 11 mile race (walking) and came in 13th out of the 15 participants in his age group. He’s no spring chicken (68) but loved every minute of it.

    As far as goals go, I can’t look THAT far into my future. I feel as if I’m on small time goals, right now. My goals are completing this term with a 4.0 again, without a broken hand and surgery ;o)

    I’m glad to read your words again. I’ve been thinking of you often. Sending you SO much love and peace.

  2. April 19, 2010 7:12 am

    WAy to go on the running,
    As for the 10 year plan that didn’t work out, I planned on having a career (I am a freaking secretary with 10 years of uni education), I planned on becomming pregnant (that will never happen). I didn’t plan on having such a huge debt thanks to being infertile, getting a wicked infection & being hospitalized for almost 3 weeks in 1 year, and the list it seems woudl go on and on.

    Setting new 2020 goals, and hopefully the next 10 years will go a little more along the plan.

  3. April 19, 2010 7:47 am

    Woo hoo for the 5K! I’m impressed and proud!

    As far as a 2020 goal…first off, it scared me to read the year 2020 and think that’s less than a decade away. Where is time going?? And I so wish I had 20/20 vision for all of us to see where we’ll be in nearly ten years…I guess I’ll be a chicken and just commit to a ‘goal feeling’ rather than any specific goal, because I’ve learned far too many times not to make any concrete plans. I just want to be happy and at peace. I think I’m pretty much there now, so maybe just continued happiness and peace, with some good adventures thrown in for good!

    By the way, I told my Dad about your backpacking trip offer and he said “Go do it!” then he added, “But llamas are smelly.” It was really cute.

  4. April 19, 2010 8:16 am

    Sounds like a worthy program, and that you’re getting a lot out of it.

    I am one person who has not run that race, although I usually am present to watch my husband and sisters and their families cross the finish line.

    Congrats on stretching yourself, on getting in tune with yourself. I’ll be thinking about you during the race.

    And I would love to see you before then if you have time.

  5. April 19, 2010 3:25 pm

    Looking back 10 years, there is no way in the world that I imagined I’d be where I am now. I was on a totally different path, with totally different plans and things (mostly bad things)….just…..happened. And kept on happening. For a long time (and this has nothing to do with the baby stuff) I really wondered if I was cursed.

  6. April 19, 2010 9:34 pm

    That damn lack of magnetic field on the moon. (-; Sorry, the nerd in me couldn’t resist. I know you’ll still love me.

    10-year plan. Hmmm. I think the last couple decades have taught me to stick with smaller concrete goals and a broad overall vision rather than giant life altering goals to check off my list. I want to be happy. I want to be with my husband. I want my husband to be happy. The little goals will keep us moving forward and the rest I will let fall into place. I’m trying so hard to live in the “now” at this point. Still have the vision, but it’s much less detailed and anal than it used to be. (-;

    Congrats on the running! Very impressive. I’m also getting all over-protective and worried about your heart. We lost a dear co-worker who was a marathon runner and twice had heart issues while out running. Both times he was found by medical professionals (who were out and about by chance just doing their own routine), but the second time he was found too late. I’m not saying it to scare you, but his story is still pretty fresh and scares me and I wanted to just throw it out there. If your doctor is on board, then so am I…but I’m still going to worry about you. (-;

  7. geeksinrome permalink
    April 20, 2010 12:03 am

    way to go!! the nice thing about running is that sense of getting in tune with your whole body so do listen to her!

    I totally agree setting babystep concrete goals is the way to go. It’s weird to think what the heck the world and our lives will be like in 2020 (53 yo — super cougar!)

    My guiding philosophy throughout life has been to never have a place or thing ahead of me in mind. All I strive to accomplish is to be happy and to surround myself with good friends and challenging tasks i.e. jobwise, to push my comfort zone in trying new stuff, to take interesting risks, mine the unknown, talk to friendly strangers, do little things that add more kindness and courtesy to the world…

    I have to say that by living as honestly and authentically as possible (which is a challenge sometimes) and really trying to leave behind a trail of good karma, that this has opened up tremendous and unexpected opportunities for me. Being a good person to the nobodies and everybodies in the world has resulted in job opportunities, fabulous networking buddies, and support people etc… and just when I really needed them.

    I’ve always felt I could have a great life even being a janitor because what I do isn’t as important as how I do it and how I live my life and the people I surround myself with. So I’ve never been under pressure to achieve , so ironically I have achieved much more in my life than I thought possible because the good people around me have lifted me up here, too. I am where I am because of my hard work and character, but also because people have opened amazing doors for me. I just want to keep walking this road and can’t wait to see what is in store!

  8. April 21, 2010 10:43 am

    Congratulations on training for and running the 10K! If it’s the one I think it is, I have run it the past two years. It is amazing to finish!!!

    This year we won’t be able to run and I’m really bummed out. It is a great race. Well worth the effort. Good luck!

    As for my ten year plans, I just created a vision board to help me capture what I’d like my life to be like in the future. I’ve found that a lot can change in ten years…so I am waiting with a hopeful heart, filled with lots of faith (and patience)…

    One last comment: I can’t believe in ten years it will be 2020! YIKES!

  9. April 22, 2010 2:21 pm

    I am awed by your 10k aspiration! Holy crap!
    Good for you!
    and to choose something that you know is such a stretch- not just on that day but on each day- that is brave as hell. I think your heart racing is such an amazing feedback loop–too fast, too far, not today- and i am so glad you know it well (sorry you have to), so you can heed it with a sort of friendly familiarity: I know you, I know what you are telling me.

    Holy shit, if only, in every area of our lives we had such clear messages! (who knows? we may and are just so trained to push on anyway…lalalalalala)

    I have never been good with goals out there- future wise. Always been amorphous- I want to be doing things that I can about, or, I want to feel less stressed.. but never a set goal, a relationship, a degree, or even — and no I am not kidding- a family. All I can do is focus on what is now and what is next. Shortsighted! Embarrassingly so.

    Anyway, all this by way of saying: good for you brave one!

    sending love,

  10. April 23, 2010 2:32 pm

    What a phenomenal goal – a 10k race is a big challenge. I’m glad that you’ve got something that you are focussing on and succeeding at.

    My short term goal is to finally finish my BA degree that I started in 1990. For a multitude of reasons I dropped out of school after 2 years. With the encouragement of my husband, and to the delight of my parents, I went back to school a few years ago doing part time online courses. I have 1 and a half credits left – I start a course in June that is my final .5 credit elective. Then in September I will do my final full credit course to achieve my Bachelor of Education in Adult Education ( I started out as a communications major, but switched over when I returned to school).

  11. Denver Laura permalink
    April 27, 2010 8:10 am

    Way to go on the running! I could never make it past the 5K mark on a treadmill. There’s a gotcha at those type of meetings like you had recently. I went to one where as a group we had to come up with a diverse team consisting of no more than 11 people, with 3 resumes to look over and a consultant of our choosing. After looking over the entire list we thought we had the perfect team until we were told that we had created a team without counting ourselves as part of that number. D0H!

    I got married at 20 the first time around. I had my whole life planned out: first kid born when I was 26, second at 28, reenter the workforce at 33. Well, at 28 I was divorced, no kids and actually pretty thrilled about it. He was an alcoholic so not having any ties to him made leaving that much easier. At 30, I got remarried. You’d think 30 isn’t old to get pregnant, but 4 years later and it hasn’t happened. Not even once.

    I hate the 10 year or even the 5 year goal in job interviews. Brand new textbooks in college were all ready out of date once they were printed. I always respond that in my field, things change so often that I try to keep my eyes open and continually read and learn about new opportunities. I have a bucket list, but it changes too. I think that’s the fun of it.

    Last year when we decided enough was enough, I gave myself some time to grieve. I set a non-baby related goal. I think the redirection helped me heal. Occasionally I would burst into tears but it got better over time. I still avoid pregnant bellies and baby showers. I also avoid some fertile myrtles too. I don’t care if it hurts their feelings because they really don’t want to be around me all sullen and weepy anyway. Although I did go to an adoption shower, but that was waaaaay different. My family still hesitates to tell us when someone is pregnant. I think they feel they can wait until the kid graduates from high school before telling us.

    My 2020 vision? Still employed, loving my job, learning new things, haven’t gained any more than I weigh today, have memories of a long vacation in Europe with the hubby, have all the projects finished in the house, new car (lol), no major health problems, and totally able to go to a baby shower without resentment. I might have a few more but those are the biggies.

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