I come out of my doctor’s office after having been told that “I need to have babies now if I want them (…) that if I wait any longer, it could simply be too late.” I’m thirty-six years old.

About a month ago I sit across from two new friends, and listen to how one is literally left at the Alter after a ten year relationship, and how the other breaks off her own engagement because he simply is not ‘the one.’

At the start of the summer, I spend time with a girl who lost her mother to a surprising and tragic brain aneurism. We spend the five month anniversary of her mom’s passing diving into a lake where it’s the first time she swims in water since her mom’s final moments in the ocean.

And still, by the end of the summer I spend hours into the night drinking wine, and listening to a woman speak of leaving her husband after two kids and thirty years of marriage.

I don’t reflect on these women in order to grieve or feel sorrow. I reflect on these women because they are simply extraordinary. Each one has been or is currently at a crossroads, and the decisions that each are faced with exemplify power, strength and exceptional integrity.  I seek my power from them.

When my fifty one year old friend divulges the painful and arduous intricacies of divorce, she does so with humility and class and ultimately has decided that being treated with kindness, respect and love is more important than staying in a marriage where one feels used, abused and tolerated. She makes the decision to leave knowing it will hurt those around her, but also knowing it is the only way to model strength and courage for her daughter and son.

I see a woman my age, as close to her mother as I am to mine, grieve the moments she won’t have in the future while paying tribute to the moments she had in the past with her own mom. I see this woman pull on her yoga tights and lead meditation classes while running her own successful fitness studio and all the while pausing, breathing and sharing funny and sometimes not so funny stories about a lady I almost feel I know because of the sheer grace and will of her daughter’s voice.

I am speechless when my sweet friend from the UK sips wine at a bar within Dubrovnik’s city walls and shares her story of putting the pieces back together after watching her fiancé pull them apart. I smile when she giggles and sarcastically comments on relationships, dating and the ‘perfect man,’ because despite a heart that was blown apart, she sews it up, heads back to work and a few years later confidently  opens up about it while traveling through the Balkin States. She still hopes for ‘ever after.’

I listen eagerly and openly when my second travel buddy meanders between knowing she did the right thing by breaking off her own engagement, while wrestling with the heartache that comes with knowing he will be married to another in a few short weeks. Instead of building picket fences and expanding her brood, this chick has traveled to every part of the earth developing her own character and worldliness. We chug back our beers and excitedly plan the next day’s travel.

And now, I sit in my car after my not-so-tactful doctor tells me I am running out of time and asks me, not even rhetorically, why I can’t just get pregnant now.  I cry and then quickly acknowledge that I am at my own crossroads, even if it’s been shared by many. I draw strength from these women and hope that like them, I will make a decision that nurtures who I am while still paying tribute to the notion of making the decision at all. I have met and continue to meet extraordinary women. And what’s most extraordinary of all is how all these women make monumental decisions daily with a serenity and quiet strength that just comes with being a woman. That, to me, is what makes it all so extraordinary.

 

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