Tuesday, July 29, 2014

staving off the feel-good blues

Yesterday I visited my acupuncturist, and our conversation went something like this:

A/P:  How are you feeling?
Me:  Pretty nice.  I've been taking my supplements....teaching more zumba.....trying to get my knee healed to dance again, I might try some pilates....enjoying swimming.... I got a massage last week....we're going to the beach soon.....
A/P:  Oh, so in other words you're living like a normal person.

You know, it's never occurred to me that the lifestyle was abnormal, at least until that fateful RE appointment in June when I learned just how badly my egg reserve sucked.  I think I had some basic understanding that ttc when you're a 40 year-old with three consecutive miscarriages under her belt is not for the faint of heart. But peeing on sticks, having hundreds of vials of blood drawn, getting scanned and poked and vaginally prodded on a regular basis, all of this was my normal. And then I was exhausted.

This calm summer, where I do things like order only somewhat goofy fertility yoga videos (more on this in another post, I PROMISE) and take nice long walks on sunny days, all of it feels sort of , I don't know.... indulgent?

I have a somewhat high-stress do-gooder activist job, I get paid to advocate for people who are struggling for economic security.  Part of that involves really absorbing the struggles that people are enduring in my City, whether it's single mothers who are trying to make ends meet or elderly workers who are exhausted and unable to retire.  But ultimately I do what I do because I love it, and as it happens professional empathy pays my bills.

Prior to my doomed pregnancy with the cancer baby, a ballet class or two a week was enough to keep me (relatively) sane and happy, even with this career choice.  Sure, I've been and always will be that person who cries easily.  I've been and always will be a little high-strung.  I've had and always will have a touch of OCD.  But seriously, there's nothing like carrying a succession of babies that will never breathe to suck the joy and calm out of life. And in turn, morph a relatively sane woman into a walking basket case.

Confession time:  you know that cynic who smirks when she sees facebook posts about wellness and zen and internal peace?  Yeah, that chick was me.  "How the hell can I think about my own inner peace when there's such a god-awful tumultuous world of suffering out there?" said the obnoxious, sanctimonious cynic.  (I should add that being raised in the Jewish faith and cultural tradition doesn't help matters on this front).  And then check it out, the universe gives quite the smack-down to the cynic.  "Oh, you think it's frivolous to  read about personal wellness?  Okaaaaay, here's some personal suffering.  You want to do something mundane, like have another baby?  Think again bitch!"  (OK, so the universe probably doesn't talk like this).

I'm sick of feeling existential guilt for doing nice things for myself. That kind of thinking stops right here, right now. Because I feel good and that is not indulgent.  It is awesome.

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