New Years. It has always been a holiday that tugs at my heart and looms like a gray cloud over my otherwise sunny disposition. The reflection on the past year is consuming, was it a year that will be worth remembering? But when the calendar turns to January 1st I always make my resolutions, maybe as a way of coping with another year gone. Usually my resolutions are forgotten by February as life seems to sweep them away. This year though I will make it my daily mantra to focus on one and only one: letting go.
It all started last year. It started with my consuming and almost debilitating fears going through In Vitro. It started with a conversation with my best friend. Every single step of IVF was calculated, was planned, was ridden with percentages of what could go right and what could go wrong. I couldn’t get my mind off the latter. So I shared this with Spencer and he single-handedly removed my blinders and opened my eyes. Spence and I came from very different backgrounds. He has faced more than a lifetime’s worth of adversity in his young life. Faced things that were completely out of his control and completely heart breaking. But he’s one of those people that continually rises to the occasion, fills the world around him with a sense of ease and love, gets shit done, picks up and moves forward. His resiliency is rare and unmistakably incredible.
Myself on the other hand grew up with little adversity, which is not a bad thing at all, I’m very grateful for my life. But I do believe that this as well as my belief in karma have created a mindset based on control. I have believed that every choice I’ve made in the past, has had some influence on things that are happening to me currently. It has literally taken over my waking moments. For example, I truly believed that my infertility was the culmination of all the bad things that I’ve done, people I’ve wronged, mean things I’ve thought. It was the punishment that I deserved. I felt like if I thought about things enough, then I would actually be able to change them or make them happen or make things work. Completely insane and ridiculous? I know. Because how does that explain what Spencer and a million other good people have had to go through? Needless to say, I’ve since obliterated this from my thought process because the truth is, it doesn’t work that way of course. In life there are just some things a person can’t control.
Which brings me to the final point that Spencer made. The reason why he’s always overcoming adversity, always keeping his tenacity and wits about him is that he figures out what he does have control over and makes sure that he does everything he can possibly do to influence those things. And what he doesn’t have control over? He lets them be. He lets them happen. He faces them and deals with the controllables. This was my wake-up call. I had never looked at life this way…ever.
Since then I vowed to open my mind and do what I can with what I can. It’s a daily struggle to overcome the years of feeling like I could control everything but it’s more refreshing and freeing than I ever thought possible. It’s left room for me to discover solutions to my solvable problems so that I can better handle those that will be there no matter what. I came up with this exercise as we entered into the embryo transfer and it blew my mind:
1. I wrote down what I had control over. I seriously just scribbled and brainstormed like a maniac, writing down only the things that pertained to what I had been worrying about and toiling over at that moment in time.
2. Then I wrote down what I didn’t have control over. These are the big ones. These are the ones that were consuming me.
3. I compared the lists and was dumbfounded. When I started my scribbling and my brain was on auto-pilot, I felt like it was so full of all these uncontrollable and anxiety-ridden situations and problems, that I totally figured I was going to have a couple pages of those. Lo and behold I was stopped in my tracks when I geared up to write down all of the things I didn’t have control over and I could only find two big ones…only TWO! But those TWO things had taken up all of my time, my energy and my thoughts for months! And when I looked at the things I could control…there were about 15…I realized I wasn’t spending any time on them.
4. Once I got over the shock from my discovery in the first three steps, I made another list and dove into the things I could control by writing down what I would do to make sure I was making the most of each one. How I was actually going to carry them out and DO something about them. My game plan. And then I started doing those things. Started spending my energy and time and thoughts on what I could actually make happen. Enter a sigh of relief.
So, needless to say I’ve got a lot on my mind this year. The most obvious thoughts are about the birth of our miracle boys this spring. Spencer and I will go through the biggest change of our lives as we dive into parenthood. This team will be tested, tested to the utmost capacity of love, acceptance, sanity and rolling with the punches including, but not limited to, poopy diapers, sleepless nights and 2v2 tactics. I will hold strong to this single resolution of letting go. Yet to come, is the finest test of my ability to let go of the uncontrollables in order to make way and do my best with the rest.