Thankful for Struggle and Stress
Erin’s sister, who’s Pagan and probably going to officiate our wedding in June next year, posted a Facebook status earlier today saying how thankful she was for the stress she has in her life that gives her what she has, and I realized that this was a very accurate assessment of how I felt.
While I have lived a privileged life growing up, I’m no stranger to struggle. I’m no stranger to the stress that life brings, and I’d be lying (anyone would, really), if they say they live without stress or struggle.
Everything I have, I have worked hard for, and I rely on no one to survive and make it. If (in some off-chance alternate universe) Erin and I were to break up, I know I would be able to take care of myself. And the same goes for Erin. Erin was living with roommates before we started dating, but she was paying her bills on her own without the support of her family. While we support each other, she doesn’t technically, financially need me, and I don’t technically, financially need her either.
Thursday was Thanksgiving. We went to my parent’s house, and Erin and I ended up having a long conversation about our future and our lives together. I have always felt like I am in a constant state of being behind, and with the debt that I have, I tend to feel like I’ll never get caught up or get to the life I imagine myself having: married, with a house and a yard full of our children.
Erin pointed it out to me that things will happen when they’re supposed to happen, and that we are working towards building the home our future children deserve instead of just trying to accomplish everything all at once.
We tried this past month to conceive a child. We went to a reproductive endocrinologist and through a cryobank because A) we can afford to and B) it was safer than using the known donor we had selected. We didn’t want to put him at risk or ourselves at risk for any legal trouble down the road, and while we could have afforded the lawyer fees associated with writing up the paper work to protect everyone involved, we decided that it would just be cheaper to go through a doctor and a cryobank. Luckily, we did go to the doctor because he did a lot of bloodwork and I was diagnosed with PCOS, the most common form of infertility in women; however, the case that I have is considered a “mild case” and the doctor expected that I would have no problem getting pregnant within the first three months. The good thing was that my insurance would cover the costs of my treatment, making everything a whole lot cheaper.
We were also given fertility medications to increase our chances of conceiving, which increased our risks of multiples. Went through the whole procedure, did the longest two week waiting period of my life, and then found out that I wasn’t pregnant. But during the two week waiting period, Erin and I had a lot of time to talk, and we decided that if I didn’t end up pregnant this cycle, we wouldn’t try again until after our wedding, or just before our wedding, whenever we decided the wedding was going to be.
If I had ended up pregnant, we would have “shot gun” our wedding at the courthouse after Christmas with our immediate family, but we didn’t (and I’m glad we aren’t going to the courthouse to speed things up now because I don’t want to take anything away from our ceremony that we’re going to have to dedicate our love and partnership before the Gods, our family, and our friends. (Also, 150 people coming to our party is a lot more exciting than 4 people coming to our legal wedding.)
I’m grateful for the experience we had with trying to conceive this month. It was stressful, and it was a struggle to deal with the idea of infertility again. (Which is a horrible, horrible thing to have to grapple with, and if you’ve never had to experience that, then there is no way for you to understand.) But this month gave me hope: hope that when we try again in eight months, we’ll be better prepared for what to expect. We’ll be more aggressive, and we’ll keep trying until we succeed. And who knows, maybe we’ll end up with twins (which often happens with people in my situation).
I’m grateful for the struggles in my past. Each relationship I had was a stepping stone to where I am today, and I am thankful for all the people I have interacted with in my past, no matter how bad things were. If it weren’t for my ex, N, I never would have left North Carolina. If it weren’t for my friend, J, I never would have applied to the college I eventually graduated from. If it weren’t for my ex, L, I never would have moved to Massachusetts to get my Masters degree, and if it weren’t for my ex, K, I never would have left Massachusetts, which means I never would have met Erin, and I wouldn’t be getting married in seven months in June.
I’m grateful for the struggle and the stress of my debt because it has taught me to be more careful with my money and who I let use my credit cards. The bills are always paid, and we will eventually be completely debt free, but I am grateful for this stress and this struggle. It is a constant reminder of my past and where I am glad I am no longer, and knowing that I am with someone now who balances me more than anyone I have known.
I’m grateful for the fact that even with the debt we have, we are still able to purchase things we want after providing for our needs and the needs of our animals. (Like our new 55-inch TV and stand or our honeymoon to Europe in July.) We are truly blessed to be able to live a life of luxury (by our standards at least) even with the struggle of the financial burden we are in.
I’m grateful for the stresses of my bills because the give me my house, my electricity, my water, and heating. I’m grateful for the stress of my job because it allows me to affect the lives of hundreds of people every year and provides the money I need to take care of my family in a way that the deserve to be taken care of. I’m grateful for the stress of Erin’s graduate school because it gives her the opportunity to rise up through her company to become a supervisor within the next year or two by giving her the education she needs to succeed. I’m grateful for the stresses of her job because she get the opportunity to change the lives of children with autism every day.
Often times, I take for granted what I have been given by the Gods. I’ve gotten to the age in my life where my Facebook feed is constantly filled with “Just Married” and “We’re Pregnant!” announcements. It’s hard not to get jealous from time to time, but the truth is, I’m glad that I am right where I am.
Yes, Erin and I have our struggles and our stresses, but they’ve led us to what we have and where we are today: planning a 150-guest wedding in seven months, followed by our honeymoon and the expansion of our family. We live in a beautiful home with our wonderful animals; we have food in our fridge and pantry; our bills are always paid in full on time; and we have plenty of time for fun and games (and Black Friday shopping) afterwards. The Gods have blessed us this past year, and I know they will continue to bless us in the future.