It’s time for me to make one of the most bittersweet decisions of my very young life; a decision that I have been battling internally with for months now. One that is taking me a lot longer to come to terms with because of the circumstances. I am not one for being still, not one for moving slowly or taking time off, or “giving myself a break.” Truth is, I love living fast. I love having a million commitments all at once, stretching myself just thin enough to accomplish a world of things while remaining relatively in tact. I love being involved, and I love being busy. I love those really late nights and super early mornings. I guess in my mind I always equated busyness with successfulness, or productivity. I always had to be doing something. I could never just sit down, because when I did sit down, I crashed. My body would fall apart, I’d sleep the days away and I’d just feel like I wasn’t being a contribution to society. So… I just kept moving.
I graduated from high school in May of 2006 and went to college early that June. I did what every freshman/sophomore does… I partied my ass off. I became such a social butterfly and kind of forgot about the college part. But, I paid the price: fully loaded summer terms every single summer with no spring breaks in order to graduate with my peers. I brought my GPA up from waaay down in the dirt to an above 3.0 GPA, joined a sorority, landed a dope internship and graduated in May 2010, exactly 4 years later. From May to August I did my internship with the Boys & Girls Club, and by the end of August, drove from Georgia to Washington to join a 10-month AmeriCorps program. During that program I had 3 jobs. I worked in an elementary school from 8-3, then an afterschool program from 3:30-6, and during the nights I worked at “Latino Night School.” I did this all the while participating on community chapter sorority events, maintaining my gym membership and again, partying my ass off with my teammates. On average, I was clocking in over 93 hours of service each paycheck from AmeriCorps alone. I drove back to GA in August 2011 with my then-boyfriend Tommy (who was living in GA) after the program ended and we got married that December. I started working at Old Navy during those months. What was supposed to be something just to keep me busy, turned into the primary household income, as Tommy was still a college student and stopped receiving military student aid. I was driving an hour to Savannah to work minimum wage, trading shifts to make rent & utilities. He was supposed to graduate that May, but things just didn’t work out. We couldn’t afford his summer tuition, and I ended up cashing in my AmeriCorps education award just so we could make it.
Earlier that year, in April I believe, I was standing with Tommy in line at Old Navy, when I got the email that nearly made me pass out. I had been accepted into the Master’s of Social Work program at NEW YORK UNIVERSITY!! That school has been my dream school since I was a child. NYU was everything to me. So, it was settled. Tommy and I decided that I would go and start at NYU during the fall of 2012 and he would stay behind to finish his last semester at Georgia Southern. It would just be one semester apart, I have family in New York so no big deal.
Then I got sick.
Actually, I had been sick all along. Sick for years, but I was too busy to really notice. Or care. It’s an addiction, the fast-paced moving and shaking. If I had a pain, I’d pop an Ibuprofen. If I had a cold, I’d pop a NyQuil. Stomach ache, heartburn, skin rash? Tums and Neosporin. NEVER a day off! I wasn’t listening to my body.
I was spending the summer preparing myself for my move to New York since school started in September. UW had denied me, and George Mason accepted me… but come on, there was NO way I wasn’t going to my DREAM SCHOOL. So here I am going to my OB/GYN for a bladder infection & routine pap in July suddenly I’m having surgery in August. I had a laser laporoscopy on August 17th, stitches removed (early) on the 24th and I was on a plane on the 26th. During that time, it was suggested that I consider having babies really soon because of the endometriosis and the PCOS. I also needed another procedure for an abnormality on my pap smear, but that shit had to wait because I WAS GOING TO NYU!!
Yea right. I was an NYU student for all of two weeks before I had to take a medical leave of absence. I’m on a plane back to GA and in another surgery just days before Tommy graduates from college in December. We’ve been here in GA ever since. I was supposed to submit my paperwork to come off the medical leave in January of this year, but I haven’t yet done so. I’ve been trying really hard to get my health in order but just can’t seem to get a handle on it. Tommy isn’t too keen on being in NY while trying to start a family, and honestly, neither am I. My NYU dreams are toast!
Sometimes, I feel like I’m having to choose between two very important things. Do I try and start a family now, because I may not be able to later? (This includes fertility drugs, treatments, tests… the whole nine.) Or do I continue to follow my dreams? (Go to graduate school, join the Peace Corps, save the world and try for babies later when it MIGHT be too late.) I get so frustrated because everyone else gets to have their cake and eat it too, but me… I’m falling apart. While I was walking all over the city post-surgery, doped up on painkillers… I was damaging myself. I was in so much pain and developed internal hemorrhoids. I was being incredibly irresponsible and reckless.
I’m taking the time now to really take care of myself. I’m eating better, working out, actively listening to my body. It’s telling me that NYU is a no-go. More so then my body, my marriage is telling me NO. Neither one of us, at this point, want to go to New York anymore. I don’t want to start a family there, it’s so damn expensive, and I wasn’t really crazy about the curriculum anyways, but still I get caught up on what NYU symbolizes. NYU is fast-paced: it’s grad school classes and internships, papers and busyness, late nights and tears, stress and accomplishment. NYU needed single Jenn, able to run around like a crazy person with no commitments Jenn. But I’m not her anymore. I’m married, ready to have a home Jenn. Ready to start a family with the man of my dreams Jenn. Ready to live life slower, because not only does my condition require that, but my quality of life does too.
I mean, we haven’t ironed out the details of our “baby-making” timeline because we still have so many other possibilities out in the universe. We’re still waiting to hear from UW, did I get in or didn’t I? We’re still waiting to hear whether we can move forward with the Peace Corps. We’re in between the references and interview phase. We’re still trying to figure out what state we want to make home base, and while all of those possibilities will iron themselves out one by one, I know there is one thing I can actively eliminate. My medical leave is turning into an academic withdrawal, and I am okay with that. One decision made, a million more to choose from.