Moments of Truth
Took a COVID test recently, one of several I’ve taken since I was exposed to the virus. To my relief, the tests have all been negative. At this point, I am free to go about my business without fearing that I am Typhoid Mary, 2022 edition.
As I sat waiting for the magic second stripe to (hopefully not) appear, I recalled the many pregnancy tests I’ve taken over the years. In most of those cases, I was rooting for a positive (and, “several” times, that result came to pass). For both of these types of at-home tests, however, I was well aware of all that hinged on the outcomes. With the one: was I infected, and about to become ill? If so, had I meanwhile been sharing the “gift” of coronavirus unwittingly? With the other: was I expecting? If so, was I prepared to be mom of (fill in the blank number)? While that was an exciting and mostly happy prospect, memories of my previous lengthy and excruciating back labors pretty much crowded out any incipient joy.
Life is filled with these moments, isn’t it? When so much hinges on a single new piece of information, and all you can do is wait for it to be revealed? College letters come to mind (for my kids, not me. After high school I took a gap year, then enrolled in George State University, which in 1975 only rejected you, I think, if you misspelled the name of the school, and maybe not even then). But for my offspring, those fat envelopes held a significant clue about their paths forward. When Sheridan received his letter from Juilliard, he got on the phone with a friend who was super stressed, and they opened their acceptances at the same time (btw Sher ended up happily at Curtis).
I’d like to reassure the legions of worried young people that it will be OK, no matter what the university letters say. After all, look at me! I didn’t even finish my degree, and I’ve had a fabulous career in neuroscience!
Oh, wait…maybe that’s a bad example.
As for the other results, COVID has taught me to take every vaccine and other precaution (who WANTS to take their chances on a ventilator? Not me!) but then realize, as those infernal mutated variants continue to appear, that at some point I may get it after all. So a positive test wouldn’t be the end of my world. And the false alarms when I thought I was pregnant and wasn’t? Maybe it just wasn’t the right time for a child to be born.
The course of our futures may hinge on a few pivotal moments (the job offer accepted, the house bid rejected), but our reactions to those opportunities and setbacks do make a difference. Whether it be “no” from Yale or “yes” from the sellers of a first home, the answers, and our responses, create the up-and-down, unique and precious adventures that are our lives.
We got this, friends.