I’ve been sitting here the last few days of 2017, watching the clock wind down. It’s been a whirlwind the last couple of weeks of the year because no part of planning life ever works out. This is especially the case when you have people you need to interact with, like family and friends for instance.
You’ve heard the saying, ‘no man is an island.’ I don’t know who said it, but it’s true. We may want to be an island sometimes. And those of us who are introvert homebodies try to be an island, but the fact is, we live on a sphere with almost seven billion other people. We must participate from time to time. That’s just the way it goes.
Another saying I have heard, probably loosely taken from The Bible, is ‘While we are planning our lives, God is laughing.’ Because we all know nothing goes as planned when it comes to life. The fact is, we should plan. Because there is yet another saying, ‘those who fail to plan, plan to fail.’ So, planning is appropriate, wise, and mature. But we can’t really get bent out of shape (too much) when things do not go as planned.
My suggestion: leave some wiggle room in your life for the unplanned. If you do not, you will become one of those bitter, tired, angry, sad, lonely, frustrated, and the list goes on; people that we see daily. We work with them, we drive alongside them in traffic (scary), we may even live with them!
If you maintain wiggle room, you still get to grieve loss or the unexpected left turn; but chances are you will find a way to live with your new reality. Let me be real, wiggle room can even lessen the possibility of contemplating suicide. And wiggle room can create a new platform from which to help others.
Wiggle room can save many lives—yours and those who see you struggle but make it through, scars and all.
Wiggle room does not completely alleviate stress, it lessens the stress. Wiggle room allows us to make good decisions during the stress. Think about how to create wiggle room for yourself and your family in 2018.
Here’s a tip, wiggle room goes by other names:
margin, like leaving a little bit of margin in your checking account. Having a savings account. And generally watching your spending.
grace, like not being on ready when someone offends you or cuts you off in traffic.
time, like giving yourself extra time to make an appointment.
attitude, like having a good attitude in front of your kids when interacting with another adult, no matter how you feel about that adult.
Planning, I know we talked about planning earlier. But yes, we still need to have a plan.
Thankfulness, like realizing that if you are reading this, you are doing so much better than most of the people on this planet.
Those are just a few types of wiggle room. I’m sure you can think of some more. Create a list of your own, use this list, or combine the two lists. Then refer to the list regularly during 2018.
We will get caught off guard from time to time, but wiggle room along with a positive mindset will generally allow us to bounce back faster! Create some wiggle room in 2018!
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I was in a group get together experience recently, and all the family members were asked to find each other and hold hands. At that moment, I remember thinking ‘I don’t have any family members here.’ I felt out of place as I watched family members running around looking for each other, as I just stood there.
There were people in the service that I got along with. There were friends and others there who had no family to run to. I was not the only one. But the thought crossed my mind that although I have loving parents, siblings, nephews, even brothers- and a sister-in-law; the fact was and is, I have no family of my own.
As childless not by choice women, and even more so, in my opinion, childless and husbandless women; we can often fall through society’s cracks. Society forgets us, and in some cases, mocks us. In some cases, society even physically hurts us. Human nature tends to either ignore or question what is not ‘normal’.
I am not saying I was being mocked in this service. I am sure the leader of the service did not recognize what was happening. Why would they? In fact, this person was recognizing what is normal to most human beings. Most humans have or had a marriage. Most humans have children. The ‘odd’ person is forgotten not out of spite, but because it is not most people’s normal. In fact, most people are not walking around wondering, worrying, or thinking about the person who has a different lifestyle. They are not aware.
So, what to do? Well, I suggest that we do not cower in the background of life. I suggest we stand tall in our childlessness and our husbandless status. Why? Why not? Why hide what life handed us? We should instead find out what we are supposed to do with the life we have been given, and then get to work. We do not need pity. And we should not seek it out.
It’s true, life did not give us what we planned and hoped for. We assumed we would have the same life as our friends and family. Realizing we would not have the life we dreamed of was a shocker. It was for me, and many of the childless not by choice women I know say the same. Many of you deal daily with the shock and surprise of finding out the issue is infertility. Some are saddened by the life circumstances that kept them from having a baby.
No matter the reason for your childlessness, do not allow those reasons to stop you from living life open with head held high! Face the monster of childlessness by admitting your feelings to yourself. Admit your sadness, your pain, your anger, your jealousy. Whatever the emotion may be. Trust yourself to grow through the pain. Accept the process. Accept the stages of grief. One day you will be able to acknowledge to yourself that there is a missing puzzle piece, but you are OK. All will be well!