No Two Journeys are Alike
If I have learned nothing else in my 31 years of life, it is that no two journeys are alike. Two people may experience the same event and have a completely different view on what happened. The different viewpoints determine the journey of a person’s life, which in turn means that no two journeys are alike. There will always be some difference, great or small, that separates every person’s journey.
It applies to everyone. Siblings on an outing with parents, spouses in agreement of a child’s discipline, witnesses to an accident, people in the same class, people reading the same book or watching the same movie, are only a very few of the examples I can readily name. The full list could be quite endless. It even applies to anyone reading this blog. I am expressing my views, and you may read something in what I write that does not even phase someone else.
My realization of this fact has allowed me to be a generally calmer, more rational human. When I do have stress get to me, I can often talk myself down. I also like to think that this has led me to be more compassionate and more empathetic.
My Journey and Realizations
Growing up, I was always a little different. A very quiet child, reflective. I was a watcher. In elementary school, I would stay apart on the playground. Other kids would mostly leave me alone. I was “weird.” Yet, sometimes, a couple of kids would come to me with a dispute. I became a mediator at a young age. They trusted me to be impartial, because I was apart, and didn’t take sides.
I was also very creative. Way back then I wanted to be a writer.
In middle school I never could get the hang of being social. There were a few people I liked as friends. I loved activities like singing and school musical productions. There was just always something a little different about me. I preferred my imagination, my online friends, my daydreams. Even then, I wanted to help people, and in little ways that it was possible, I did.
At some point, I started focusing on wanting to be a teacher, because I wanted to help.
High school was a blur. At some point I made my grand master plan to finish high school where I was, move for college, then move to Alaska after college. I even bypassed a scholarship to Cabrini to pursue that goal.
Events unfolded in Florida completely not in line with what I anticipated. The best part was that I met my husband. Along the way I decided to become a nurse.
It was then, somewhere around age 20, that I began to finally find some perspective.
During the recession we had in the early 2000’s, I had my first epiphany. I was employed. I had a fairly decent job, had insurance, could pay my bills. I made a promise to myself that I would not be miserable when I was working. While I may have bad days, most days I can keep it together with that focus. I am not a person who can stay home 24/7.
My mother has ingrained it into be that if you are an able bodied human, or handicapped but mentally able and have the necessary adaptations, you work. You pursue gainful employment, or higher education, or both.
Now, I have also learned that while this is right for me, it is not right for everyone. The only ones I have any judgement toward are those who meet my mama’s criteria but just don’t want to work. I understand the stay at home parents. But not those who sit at home once the child is in school enough to allow you to at least work part time. I know that some people do have legitimate, “over the top” mental illnesses that do not let their minds function properly to work. To those people, I give major kudos when they function in society. I just don’t like true lazy people.
This does not include people with hidden illnesses. I have gotten better about reading between the lines of the “I’m okay” and “I’m fine.” There are days when I have pain that won’t quit, or my brain won’t turn off. To those that are worse off, and function, you have my admiration.
I just knew that I was lucky to be able to hold down a job, and if needed, find a new job. So many unknowns in this world. I will continue to be grateful when I can wake up and work. Even on days when I have the gripe of “I don’t want to work today!” I know that it will pass. I enjoy my job.
While I had always had a problem with my weight and facial hair, it wasn’t until my husband and I wanted children that I realized I had other problems. After much investigation, the only reason to my infertility that was given was PCOS. The solution offered to me? Weight loss. Or if we decided not to have children, hormone birth control to regulate my cycles.
Some of most depressing times have been watching others get pregnant and have children with what appears to be such ease. I grew jealous, envious, and bitter. I began to seethe with resentment at every new announcement. Every time my period began I would cry. There was a stretch when I would use a pregnancy test just before every cycle, even when I was 99% sure there was no way it would be positive.
The roller coaster of persistent heartbreak and failure was beginning to rule my life. I knew that I had to figure something else out. I joined a few support groups and took a good, hard look around me.
This was not my curse alone. It only felt like it, because problems women face seem to be highly taboo. My journey was different. My PCOS symptoms were not as severe as women who needed a hysterectomy, or had such bad periods that they were literally out of commission for days at a time. And yes, my PCOS is causing primary infertility, but I have not gone through the torment and heartbreak of one or more miscarriages.
I encouraged my mind to not be so self critical. My husband and I focused on our pets and our lives as a couple. I learned to cherish and celebrate baby announcements, even if my heart might still pang. New life if a good thing. My journey, is mine alone. I do not feel the overwhelming grief as I used to. I still allow myself to hope but not focus solely on what I do not have.
In a way, it has been a blessing to be childless during my husband’s cancer journey that began last year. It has allowed me to be closer to his side than if we had a little one. I would not be able to stay overnight when he is in the hospital. My attention would be divided.
Although, if we become so blessed, we will adapt!
Following Joe’s journey, I have learned so much. I have to advocate for him. I help him through treatments and at home. I have insight that I never expected to have. In the support groups for his cancer, I am able to help with minor advice now, where I needed all of the support in the beginning.
This journey is still unfolding, and if I have learned that no two journeys are alike from anything else, this is it.
Most recently, I have begun to recognize tendencies in myself toward mental health issues. It’s nothing I have been officially diagnosed with, and most often I can use a creative outlet to get away from whatever is bothering me. Many people have it worse off than myself with regard to mental health.
I find that if I make appointments to talk with my doctor, someone in the office, or someone like that, every few months I can hold it all together. Here, too, I am not as bad as some people. I have more good days than bad. I am constantly trying to help others even if it’s just lending an ear to their problems. Not going to delve too much into this, as it’s a more current issue that I’m figuring out.
If I stay on my current track, I will be able to self manage for life. All I need is the right people to listen.
The Point Is…
that I could be someone other than this empathetic, caring, quiet person that I am. I have gone through some things that would have broken some others. I have seen some people go through things that would have almost certainly have broken me. No two journeys are identical. I have a husband who loves me and supports me as I love and support him. Others have not found their other half, or for whatever reason find the wrong “match” that ends badly.
We do not have children, but love our hamsters. Others have a child or more. We rent our residence, where others own. We both work, some struggle with that. He fights even with cancer, some have been destroyed by it. Some have no problems with weight, where I struggle.
I hope that my trials and the paths that make up my life’s journey continue to encourage me toward being kind, compassionate, and understanding. May what I have to offer help others but get me lost in the process.