Second time’s a charm

Just over eight months ago, as they pulled my gurney out of the operating room, I remember thinking “half-way there,” then snuggling down into the warm blankets and the miraculous pain-free-ness of my epidural.

Halfway there. On my way. Almost able to see the finish line.

While I don’t actually remember when the pain began, I do remember being one busy, active, independent middle-aged woman. Despite my inability to go to sleep if we don’t have some spare cases of my favorite soda, the fact that my favorite fruit is the strawberry filling inside the dark chocolate Lindt bar and on my puffier days, I share the same dress size as Marilyn Monroe (look it up!), I was unreasonably healthy, with a 115/75 blood pressure—a good number for a 20-year-old—and the ability to breeze—no, dance— through a 50-60 hour work week that included the day job that I love plus at least a few nights or weekend days of consulting.

But somewhere along the way, I stopped being able to stand for any length of time, my knees gradually ached so much that I used to rest a hot cup of Starbucks on them during my commute just to ease the pain and when I got off a chair, it sounded like someone was rattling a bag of broken china. Genetics didn’t help—my father suffered both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, his life ending at 77 due to an immune system destroyed by the meds.

I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t angry. I just wanted to be fixed.

Last December’s left knee replacement was a voyage to the unknown. An adventure. I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t afraid. Just anxious to get it done, get started on the road back to my life. I was shocked that the hardest part wasn’t the pain or the hard physical work to walk again—it was the feeling of stepping away from who I was for months on end. At the end of this month, three days before my favorite long weekend of the year, I’ll be back in the operating room for a replacement on the right side. My sense of adventure isn’t quite as strong as the first time around. But my sense of being in progress of getting back to being me is, for good reason, even stronger than before.

Yes, the pain is going to be pretty rough. For the first couple of weeks anyway. That I know. Walking with a walker is clumsy and frustrating and there will be days when the anger and exhaustion feel like way more than I can handle. But other days will be full of victories. And yes, I’m going to have to work like crazy to get my strength and flexibility and extension back—and I’m probably going to feel the same sense of being cut off from all the things that constitute my normal life.

But in just a handful of months—there will be no stopping me.

I’ll be able to break into a wildly entertaining dance in an empty grocery store aisle when a golden oldie comes on the store PA system.

I’ll be able to reunite with many of my beloved shoes and boots—and of course, my handbags too—not having to give a second thought as to whether I’ll be able to walk or manage to carry the weight. I’m thinking of a new Fossil Emerson satchel in caramel brown—just because I can. Soon.

My rock star walk will be more Stevie Nicks or Grace Slick than Ossy Osborne. That still matters.

I’ll be able to stand in line at a bank. I can go to movies and not worry about fidgeting in the seat. I can go shopping without having to call in every so often to point out that I haven’t been transported to the ER and I can go for walks. Oh walks.

Most of all, I’ll be walking, running, dancing me again. I’ll feel at home in my body again, not like the slow limping stranger who inhabits it now. This is my second chance. And frankly, it’s about time.

fossil-emerson-medium-leather-satchel

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Get bent!

Despite being a fine arts major, I wasn’t all that bad at math, particularly geometry because it involved pictures. And one thing I know for certain is there’s a fair bit of difference between a 90-degree angle and one that’s 120 degrees.

That’s the difference my knee has six weeks to bridge.

Never mind the fact that I can now tolerate walking for 30 minutes, double what I could 10 days ago. That I’m doing a much better job of sleeping through the night. Or the fact that I can clean out the dishwasher, put the dog in the yard, do laundry, feed the fur babies, make a meal, put on my own boots and (sort of) carry stuff upstairs, all by myself—things I couldn’t do just a short time ago.

Nope, according to my doctor, I have to get my knee to bend 120-degrees. It’s imperative. It’s possible. Apparently he did it while I was on the operating table.

The fact that I was so severely drugged up that I have no memory of this and temporarily paralyzed from the waist down at the time didn’t figure into that conversation.

It wouldn’t have mattered. I was too lightheaded from the Cirque du Soleil audition they had me doing in X-ray to make a witty retort. And slight nauseated from the sharp pain him of shoving my knee further back than I’d ever taken it.

The answer? Every 10 minutes, I am to bend my knee back, pulling my lower leg under me as far as it will go. Farther each day. Every 10 minutes. Doc wasn’t making a generalization. He meant every 10 minutes. As in six times an hour.

“Do you want more meds?” he asked before I left. “Yes, please,” I thought. “And while you’re at it, throw in a pound of medical marijuana, a bottle of Absolut citrus for Cosmos and a couple of quarts of Ben & Jerry’s. If you expect me to get through this bending thing.”

“Next time you see me, we should talk about getting you on the list for the right knee.”

I smiled and nodded. I’m sure he didn’t hear me say “oh goodie” as I entered the hall.

It took the rest of the night and the better part of the next morning for the disappointment and self-loathing of my tight inflexible body to dissipate. Then anger filled in the blanks. I would do it damn it. I would show him and the world that I could bend my fake knee just as well as anyone else. False bravado makes me feel better, more in control.

And not being able to walk properly after going through all this is, frankly, more than I can bear.

So I am bending. While waiting for my love at Lowes. Reading in bed. While drinking coffee in the morning. While typing this piece. Every time I think about it, which is really often. It’s the monkey on my back. The song that won’t get out of my head.

No, it’s probably not every 10 minutes, but it’s an awful lot of bending and trying to best myself each time.

I’m working on making it become an unconscious habit.

I’m hoping it stops hurting so damn much.

 


Ten things I didn’t know

I planned for the recovery of my knee surgery pretty much the way I approach every task—armed with a numbered and prioritized list of tasks and some clear cut goals. I love lists. I have lists of lists. I shudder to think what portion of my income gets spend on bright white neatly lined index cards and for the important, more long term lists, piles of Moleskine notebooks and calendars, in a range of sizes and colours. I am a fool for that creamy eggshell satiny Moleskine paper, beloved by writers for decades.

I tend to be a determined sort, so it’s not surprising that the only person who dared to suggest that I just might not be up to rearranging my office or finally filing all my writing samples or even dusting off a thriller I started writing a couple of years ago, was my boss. We tend to be brutally honest with each other.

Turns out she was right. It’s been six weeks since the surgery, I’m halfway through my (thankfully!) paid short-term disability period and my master list remains unchanged by a single check mark or cross off.

Truth is, I had no idea what was to come. I expected a few painful days in the hospital (which weren’t thanks to modern chemistry and residual effects from my spiral block that kept the worst at bay) followed by gradually better, more active weeks ahead. I wasn’t even close. Here are 10 things I didn’t know.

  1. I didn’t know I’d develop some problems with food. I opted for a spiral block and “cocktail” because I didn’t want to deal with the affects of anesthetic—including the loss of appetite. Nope. While I get odd food cravings at strange times—and try to eat one decent meal a day, generally dinner because I know I’m being watched—I could pretty much live on homemade smoothies and toast. As long as the world doesn’t run out of frozen strawberries and pineapple, I will survive.
  1. I didn’t expect to be an intellectual dullard. The other reason I didn’t want a general anesthetic was I knew how cloudy it could make one’s mind. None of that for me. I didn’t know that post surgery pain generally makes one temporarily confused and mentally slow. So much for the list of books I wanted to read (which were all professional development-type tomes) and pieces I wanted to write. Lately making of sense of a reality TV show is more like getting through a Ted Talk. On science.
  1. I didn’t know I’d be so tired. I take naps in the morning just to soften my entry into the day. I have to rest after exercising twice a day. A 15-minute walk, as prescribed at this point in my recovery demands an hour of lay-down afterwards. It’s ridiculous.
  1. I didn’t know the pain would bloom to its worst three days after I got home. I was drugged pretty well throughout my hospital stay. The nerve numbing qualities of the spinal lasted longer than I had expected. I was so gleeful at just being home the weekend I was released, the happy endorphins floated me on. And then Monday came—with a throbbing pain that felt like someone was smashing my knee with a hammer. Good thing that lessened a little each day.
  1. I didn’t know that for quite some time, just about everything would feel overwhelming.
  1. I didn’t know there would be setbacks. Days of gradual linear progress felled by one bleak depressing day where nothing went right, my knee wouldn’t bend and I was struck with the fact that I might never walk normally again. But I also didn’t know I’d be able to let them pass, accepting them as inevitable, then finding the strength and determination to start pushing forward the next day.
  1. I didn’t know physio was going to hurt so damn much. There, I said it.
  1. I didn’t know that so many people would be checking in, texting, writing, calling, supporting me, cheering me. That’s been a pretty wonderful discovery.
  1. I didn’t know that I would feel so proud of myself for doing a load of laundry, making a simple meal, showering without a spotter outside the door or being able to walk by myself for a whole 15 minutes. I tend to beam these days whenever I can do anything that makes me feel like me.
  1. I didn’t know that now, when the pain is more often discomfort, that I would realize how much I now appreciate simple gifts like comfy blankets and fresh sheets and pjs, the pain-easing chill of a frozen bag of peas, my favourite take-out sub—the little, but massively important parts of being cared for by someone who loves you.

Now I know. I’ll be better prepared the next time.


Not So Standard Operating Procedure

“It went beautifully Joy. I’m going to go talk to Lynn now.”

I’m peacefully foggy but recognize my surgeon despite his cap and mask and I realize the surgery–the event that my entire life has been pointed at, on hold for, for the past 18 months, is over. I feel a goofy grin spread over my face. It dawns on me that I’m wearing a paper hat. I wondered if they were short-staffed in the cafeteria.

In recovery, with a nurse admonishing me to breath deeply and cough, the events of the morning fall into order. The fistful of pills I had to down with a thimble of water. The space age inflatable blanket, powered by what it looked like a cross between a rental floor cleaner and R2D2, that wrapped me in a weightless cocoon of warm air. The catheter hooked into the back of my hand, through which a whole lot of drugs travelled into my bloodstream. The tiny bit of dread that made me ask Dr. Eva, as she checked my airways in the event of an emergency intubation, if I was going to hear or see anything—I had opted for a spinal and “cocktail” instead of a knock-out to the core general anesthetic—a choice that had friends calling me the bravest person they knew. Still, I knew some heavy equipment would be used to attach the new joint to my leg bones and the last thing I wanted to hear was workshop sounds.

“No way,” she grinned. “We let you see what’s going on and next thing you know, you’ll be wanting to give all your friends new knees at home. We couldn’t risk letting you cut into our business that way.”

I liked this woman. She had kind eyes and I could tell she was going to light me up good.

Once we got into the operating room, the team asked me to crawl over on to the operating table and I did just that. I rolled over and crawled across the table, exposing all that wasn’t covered by my tiny little gown to those assembled. “No, no, sweetheart,” someone said, “We need you on your back.” The sedatives must have been working because I was rather amused that I’d mooned the room. I also vaguely remember being held up by someone, whom I may or may not have been hugging back. Took me a day or two to connect that encounter with the faint bruise on my lower back from the spinal.

Yes, I was that out of it. Gratefully I still couldn’t feel anything below my waist. And I would continue to slug back a cupful of pills every few hours and ignore the morning ritual of a heparin shot to the stomach. During my stay, I didn’t mention the hallucinations the pain pills were creating, neither the multitude of cats I thought were walking around my room, nor the fact that a gift basket brought by a friend kept turning into a Carmen Miranda-like figure. I wiggled my toes every hour as prescribed. I gained the appreciation of the nurses because I wasn’t afraid of needles (we’re a small group apparently) and I didn’t flinch, whine or ask unnecessary questions. Even when the interest in my health moved north. Around dinnertime on the day following my surgery, a porter showed up to take me to x-ray. I had already been there in the morning to check my leg, but this time they did some chest shots.

That’s the beauty of heavy post-op drugs.  I knew something was wrong—but I could’t work up the effort to ask about it.

The following day, one of my surgeon’s residents showed up to explain that my blood oxygen factor was too low and my heart beat too fast—and there was a slight effusion (scary doctor talk for a bit of fluid) on my lung. That explained the chest x-ray. There was a fear that I’d developed a blood clot, which could be really dangerous. An ECG later, I learn I’m scheduled for a CT scan sometime later that day. That’s when the real adventure begins.

CT scans are wider than MRI machines, so I avoided the claustrophobic sense of panic I was expecting. But despite the technician’s warning, I wasn’t prepared for the effects of the dye they shot into my veins through yet another new catheter on my arm. A smoky, metal taste exploded in the back of my throat, I went hot all over and an intense headache crept in immediately. By the time I got back to my room, I was shaky, my blood oxygen was way too low and my blood pressure was scary high. I could feel my heart bumping in my chest. My night nurse, funny and refreshingly heavy on the profanity, told me I was having a mild allergic reaction to the CT dye. The doctor on call was called. The only thing to be done was flush the dye from my system.

For the next three hours—the duration of the final episode of Survivor I was watching on my iPad—I alternated between sips of water and watered-down Coke, using a spare gown to swing my stapled up knee to the floor so I could steer my walker and my overfilled bladder into the bathroom. Eight trips later, past midnight—and just after the winner of the series was announced—my vitals were in an acceptable range. As my nurse tucked me in and made sure my call button was handy, he leaned over and whispered, “Now go the f#*% to sleep.”

I did. And just after my sort of French toast arrived in the morning, another resident showed up to tell me all the tests had cleared. The problem was that a small portion of my lungs had collapsed just a little during surgery—a fairly common event if you aren’t intubated and something that would work itself out with enough deep breaths. I’m surprised he bothered to tell me the good news—at first I didn’t realize he was a doctor and asked him to help me clean up the dirty cups and mess that had accumulated on my tray. Good sport that he was, he followed me and my flapping gown to the garbage pail outside the room.

He also decided it was safe to release me.

“You tend to run a little hot,” he said. “You’re in fine health, but your vitals are just a touch higher than most people.” I smiled. One of those times I’d have preferred to be struck with the status quo.

A wheelchair ride down to the car, a cup of good MacDonald’s coffee from the drive-thru and a shower later, I was wearing my own pjs and lying on my own couch, drinking a decent Coke. Plenty of pills and pain and physiotherapy were still ahead. Along with the same operation on my right leg, to be scheduled once my left fully healed—but now I knew what to expect.

Thanks to all the tests, all that we had learned and all the mysteries that had been dispelled, the second time around would be standard operating procedure.

 

 

 


Dishing on disability

My dad was in a wheelchair—due in part to the disease I’ve inherited—for the last ten years of his life, so I thought I knew a lot about public reaction to a disability.

I’ve had my share of yelling matches with perfectly able-bodied jerks who park in the handicap zones, stared down serving staff whose sensibilities were ruffled by the presence of a wheelchair in their section and apologized for accidentally steering him into store end caps. What I learned from him is screw them all, do what you want and be where you want to be.

My love, whose own father was challenged with Parkinson’s disease, was good at grabbing my dad by the back of his belt and hoisting him out of our then very low to the ground Mustang. I’m sure there were times he was nearly spitting cotton, but it didn’t matter. He was enjoying an outing. He was having fun.

But it turns out there is so much more to learn. Nothing about my recent education would be news to anyone who has had to deal with any sort of physical, mental or psychological challenge, but it’s all new to me and therefore a little fascinating. Here are just a few of the things I have picked up.

This may be racial profiling, but young women of Asian and Middle Eastern descent are my best friends on public transportation. I have had young female Chinese students race to give up their seat and once a teen girl in a hijab nearly cleared the entire front of a bus for me. She yelled, people scattered. I think it might have something to do with their upbringing and cultures that actually value aging relatives who might need a little extra consideration now and then. Makes me wonder—when we talk about diversity and tolerance—many we should be taking about how much these new Canadians have to tolerate from us.

Like anyone else, I appreciate you holding the door for me. It’s definitely preferable to getting hit in the face with it. However, understand that you are making a commitment and you should do so graciously. I’d rather open my own door when I get there on my own time than feel the need to step up the pace to get that disappointed look off your face.

Understand that no matter how close you walk or stand behind me, it’s not going to make me more flexible or quick. Doesn’t work like that. If it did, I would hire someone to walk very close behind me just to keep me in motion.

Don’t give me that look when I eschew the stairs for the elevator. Yes, I look healthy, relatively young for my age, I’m usually fairly neat and well dressed and I don’t use a cane or any other sort of aid. I’m not lazy, seeking sympathy or feeling sorry for myself. Trust me, attempting those stairs is going to ruin my night.

Yes, I do know you’re in a hurry and you want to get around me, but try not to dart left and right; just pick a path and go. Whether I see you coming at me, or feel you behind me, I can’t react to your sudden motion and it makes me freeze in place. Which does neither of us any good.

And to the several people out there who seem disappointed that I’m still working—get over it. Currently, the toughest thing about my workday is getting my tights or stockings on—and that’s only because the bend-ability of both knees is less than ten percent of what it should be. Summer, with cute dresses that can be flung over one’s head and wriggled into, along with bare legs and slip-on flats sans socks will make the mornings much easier. Besides, it’s my brain that makes the money—and as long as I can limp, wheel, crawl or roll up to a laptop, I’m working.

Take note—there will be times when I am simply not myself. Dealing with even low grade chronic pain can cause brain fog, mood swings and feelings of frustration and exhaustion. The pain pills can sometimes cause headaches or stomach woes. All temporary. It all could be so much worse. It’s not cancer. It’s not dementia. It’s not any one of many other horrible things one can get. It’s just hurts to walk. Sometimes. But only until the doctors and I figure out how to fix it.

And that point is never lost on me.

 


When I am old(er): A manifesto of sorts.

As one ages, people tend to ask what does 50 feel like, or 40 or 25 or whatever number they can’t quite get their head around. Thing is, we baby boomers seem younger in our aging process that any generation before us.  My grandmother seemed very old at 53…at least older than I am now. But maybe that was just my perception, as someone much younger.

Sometime in the 1990s, I found a book in a Provincetown (MA) bookstore entitled When I Am Old I Shall Wear Purple Humm, I thought. Being a 30-something dyke in the 90s, purple was my gang color, the genderbending mid point of pink and blue. Leafing through it, I loved the premise of how aging offered women a chance to shed their inhibitions, stop playing by the rules. By losing value to society, they gained freedom. But had I known that the title poem would spark the Red Hat Society—well, clearly they didn’t get it. I hate the spectacle this group makes of older women. The emphasis on the wrong things, the portrayal of aging women as comical (and color blind) stereotypes. Besides, you don’t need a group to tell you how to celebrate your individuality. Think about it.

As I have written about here before, my love and I are in the process of looking for a home that will suit us as we grow older. One floor, requiring little housework, walking distance to stores and not too much space to stuff things we’ll never use again. We want to be free of all that. But it’s made me think about the fact that old age may be the only stage of my life I get to consciously plan. Childhood is not a choice; adulthood is generally thrust on one after leaving school. And I don’t mean retirement planning. Hopefully there will be a little Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security left for us — we did pay into it all our lives. Plus I’ll have a small pension from my job and someday our investments will start to grow again. Besides, sailboats make my queasy, I don’t ski, I don’t play golf and I never liked sitting on a beach when I was young, so why would I want to do it when I’m older. I’m talking about planning how I will age, what kind of older woman I’ll be. And I think I’ve got the basics covered.

When I am old(er):

I will not ride public transit at rush hour. I have all day.

I will avoid bingos, casinos and Tim Horton’s. They are time and money wasters and I won’t have a lot of either.

I will continue to work for as long as I can, even if it’s just a day or two a week or one project at a time. It will keep my mind active and my pocket a little fuller.

I will have weekends. Real weekends. I will do what chores and errands that need to be done a little at a time during the week. To me, this is the freedom retirement brings. Getting off the clock.

I will go to movies. In the afternoon.

I will not mall walk. They make claws for ice and snow and even if I only get around the block, it will be in the fresh air.

I will not knit, crochet or do crafts. Never liked doing that stuff. I doubt that will change.

I may however, join a church group. I’m not at all religious but they have the best bake sales and I like to show off.

I will not purse my lips so tight they eventually disappear.

Further to that, I will wear lipstick. But not old lady colors.

I will continue to wear jeans. Real jeans. With real pockets and zippers. Not mom-jeans and not that awful dark wanna-be stretchy denim with visible seams. Not denim pant suits. Real jeans.

I will not make fun of fads or fashions I don’t understand, keeping in mind the toe socks and pet rocks of my youth.

I will not go to the bank when it opens or at lunch hour. I will not take a place in line from people who have to rush back to work.

I will not wear floral prints or anything bearing the image of a cat. I will continue to wear my black arty-boho-preppy combinations until they put pennies on my eyes.

I will give away things of value before I leave this world. I won’t need them and the last thing I want my legacy to be is a fight over a teapot or some folding chairs.

I will eat right. I will wear a warm coat. I will get the sleep I need.

I will not bitch about the weather.

I will continue to nurture my sexuality. It’s good for my health and my self-esteem. And if my “little deaths” bring on my big one, think of the laugh riot my memorial service will be.

I will not guilt younger people into visiting me. We all have lives.

I will wear comfortable shoes. But they don’t have to look that way.

I will continue to talk like a sailor. Particularly around those who will be the most scandalized.

I will retain my love of things innovative linear and post-modern and not develop a fondess for doilies or poultry-inspired kitchenware.

I will keep up with the latest technology.

I will care for my love and myself as long as it is reasonable to do so. Then I will cheerfully go to a “home.” I will not allow my aging to impact the lives of others. I will not surrender my independence to anyone.

I will continue to plot, plan, scheme and dream.

I will, in as much as possible, face the end with dignity and courage. Realizing it is those I leave behind who will be saddened. Not me. I’ll be off on an another adventure.

And if at all possible, I will come back to see how things are getting on without me.


Work sucks…

That got your attention.

And yes, I do have a better vocabulary than that. But trust me, it’s the appropriate word.

Hopefully you didn’t click here because you know where my day job is, you’ve been reading the papers, and you might think you’re in for some inside dirt. Same goes for those who thought this was going to be a confession of laziness. And for colleagues who thought they might catch me in a crime against the social media policy…got ya!

Maybe what I should have said is…jobs suck. Not my job, but what appears to constitute a job these days. I thought it was only me, but a major Canadian bank has validated my opinion.  

I am a want ad/professional call for candidates junkie. Even if I’m happily employed or otherwise booked up, I can’t help myself. I have to check out one, some or all the myriad of job sites out there. Doesn’t even matter if the jobs aren’t in my field, I’m compulsively interested in what other people are expected to do for a living. I wrote recruitment communications during the tech boom when there were more jobs available than people to fill them—and got hooked.

 But I have to admit these days, I read the ads with a certain amount of repugnance. From my vantage point, it does appear that most of these jobs… well, like I said, they totally suck.

To some degree, it’s a moot point for me. I’m nearly 53-years old in a town where a lot people retire at 55, thanks to what was a good federal pension plan—until shortsightedness and volatile markets doomed it. Thing is, I have come to the conclusion that if something were to happen to the job I have, the reality is I have aged out of the market and will have to survive on my own. And I’m ok with that.

I don’t think I’m too old to consider going after a new job; I just think that over the years, I’ve developed an allergic reaction to the kind of crap a lot of companies expect their employees to swallow. When I started working nearly 30 years ago (…back in my day…) having a degree and a reasonable set of skills in a particular discipline was enough. You kept your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open, learned to think on your feet and picked up the rest on the job. Now that’s not even close to good enough. For example, in my field, I’m convinced that today, famous ad men Bill Bernbach or George Lois could walk into an interview for a junior marketing writer and not get the gig because they didn’t know “desktop publishing” or “CRM” or couldn’t use 54 industry-specific software programs, 49 of which no one’s ever heard of. And since they wouldn’t have worked for under $30,000 a year in 1955, chances are they wouldn’t do it now.

In this job market, near rabid enthusiasm and a light smattering of non-related abilities seem to be more in demand that actually mastery of a craft. Then too, one must be willing to quaff the corporate Kool-aid®, work late, be glued to the Blackberry when not in the office, be cooperative (a push-over), flexible (refer back to “cooperative”) and giggle. A lot.

There’s my allergy acting up again. 

Perhaps the sorry state of the workplace today is one of the reasons why so many women my age are becoming entrepreneurs. Men do it too, but according to Faith Popcorn, Carol Orsborn and Martha Stewart, women in their late 40s and 50s are far more apt to open a business than men. And they do it differently…they play to their passions, put their personal stamp on every aspect of the company, keep start-up costs skinny. (With equipment I already had and a never-used dining room, I opened seed for under a grand. My ongoing expenses are well under 10% of my revenue.)

There’s a theory that one of the reasons so many post-middle-age women get the entrepreneurial bug is that as the years spend out our value as sexual beings with the ability to reproduce, we become disconnected with the mainstream (read “ignored”), which offers a certain freedom to finally do our own thing. I’d like to think that our energy, our blossoming individualism and enthusiasm for taking our destinies into our own hands has a grander source than the state of our ovaries.

I think being ignored makes us restless. And dealing with life’s ups and downs all these years makes us brave.

I’d wager a bet that bravery isn’t a particularly desirable characteristic for many jobs these days. But you’d be amazed at just how valuable a quality it is when you choose to determine your own destiny by writing your own job description.