I can’t say that for my entire life I’ve always had a back up plan, but I can say that it is true one for everything I’ve ever done has been in place for as long as I can remember.
I learned very early on that disappointment, well, sucks. I didn’t like the way it felt and how much it would bring me down. From that point on, I always had an alternative to every little thing. I didn’t get the car I initially wanted? That was fine, there were two or three others that may have been more likely to find themselves in my driveway that I liked just as well. That first college major? In case that didn’t pan out, let’s add another major, just in case.
The story of my life.
Sure, it doesn’t defeat disappointment all the way around. It still sneaks in there from time to time, but the blow is certainly far less.
I spent six years in college achieving my MSW in social work (counseling) , and alongside that (well, four years of it), I got my BA in both journalism and photography. If one job didn’t pan out, one of the others had to. I tried for years to land in my state’s Department of Health and Human Services, or private sectors of social work, but failed. Hiring freezes because of budgets became the enemy. Fortunately, I had the fall back. Which is where I landed, as a photographer and journalist for three local papers. Now, I can add being the editor of a local magazine to the credentials. I still go to follow one of my dreams, I still achieved a job in a field that I dedicated a lot of time and effort to.
As you get older, it gets harder to find an alternative road that you’re okay traveling down. At the age of 20, I was 100% anti-kid. I’m sure it had a lot to do with the man I was in a very toxic relationship with. By the time 25 rolled around and I was in my second year of teaching pre-school, the idea began to roll around my head. It was still easy at that point in time to have two paths, one having a family, one not. Either one at my quarter-century age was fine. When I turned 26, that all changed. I had been with someone for almost a year at that point who clearly was “the one” and we began talking about family. Were we going to have one someday? If we did, how many? What about adoption if we can’t conceive? Millions of questions it seemed, swarmed us.
Knowing that I had an uphill battle with my spinal disease, I had a niggling fear that natural conception may not be possible. I was totally okay with adoption, and knew that my family was too. My significant other on the hand? 100% against it. I had to sit down and figure out if I could live without children if it was not possible to conceive them naturally. The answer at that time was, no. So it was the first time in my life that I didn’t have a back up plan. The fear of disappointment began to sink in long before we started actively trying to conceive.
Two years ago, I was given the stamp of “Infertile” alongside another of “PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)“. Not a deal breaker, it just made the road even steeper. A new question came into play: How far did I want to go with this? There are medications, treatments, specialists, etc… that all shout and scream at me “We can make you pregnant!” But just how far did I want to go, just what did I want to put my body through?
That was when the back up plan started to form, finally. If I couldn’t have a child, then I would throw myself into the throes of training and get myself into top notch shape — and compete. I live and breath fitness and a healthy lifestyle, so the plan just came naturally. I’d already been close before, it wouldn’t take much to get back there.
A few months ago, we hit the wall to where we said we were going to stop. No more drugs, no more specialists, I was done putting my body through the rigmarole that it had been going through for more than a year. I feared the long term side effects of some of the medications and even though I’m not afraid to go heavy at the gym, I was afraid of taking another pill and what it could do to my insides. Cancer scares the bejeezus out of me.
We gave it one more cycle and if nothing came of it, that was it. I sat down and started to formulate my new workout programs for the next 12 months, looking up the closest (distance wise) competition that I could potentially compete in, oddly complacent about what was going on. The joys of having a back up plan that you like just as much as the initial plan.
Then the adoption talk came about. If it didn’t work that last cycle, we should consider adoption. After a lengthy discussion, not only did I have my back up plan still in place, but I had a new option, a new road to travel down as well. One that we were both okay with, that made us both happy and left feeling fulfilled.
So here I sit, not at a fork in the road, a place where I sometimes find myself, but at a cross-roads almost. Slightly down the way, I see where these two roads potentially merge into one another. Maybe two back up plans is far better than just one?