Can Time Turners be used to go forward in time, or just back? I guess we'll never know. In any case, the Two Week Wait (TWW) sucks. It's like the weeks leading up to your sixth birthday or your sixth Chanukah - except there is a solid possibility that the celebration will never come. Today, I give to you, 14 ideas for how to pass the time during the TWW besides obsessively Googling "pregnancy symptom or side effect?"
1) Pinterest Project
Scan through your Pinterest boards and find something you pinned a few years ago but never got around to trying. Could be a baked good, a gardening project, a craft - pick one that is ambitious and challenging. I'm thinking of trying this one - I know how to knit, but not how to crochet (everyone tells me crocheting is easier, but I don't know about that...).
Find a podcast that can fill all that solo time in your car, cleaning your house, lying in bed feeling suspiciously ill. My criteria are, a) the podcaster(s) take their time - average run of at least 45 minutes per episode, b) there is a backlog of at least a year's worth of episodes. My TWW discovery as been The Bechdel Cast - two hilarious comedians and a special guest discuss movies specifically with regard to the treatment of women, as measured (in part) by the Bechdel Test. Other faves that aren't fertility-related are Totally Married, The Mash-Up Americans, and Matrimoney (this one is short, but it inspires me).
3) Old Friends
Call a friend you haven't spoken to in awhile. If you are being more private about your fertility journey, this will give your brain a nudge to think about all of the other aspects of your life so that you can hold a decent conversation. If you want to share what has been going on, it's an outlet to do so with someone who hasn't heard it all before!
Money is one of those things that is both related and not related to family building. Whether you are doing fertility treatment or not, creating a family comes with financial commitments, and more specifically the need to set financial goals. Creating or reviewing/revising your budget takes time and diligence, so it keeps your mind off the maybe-baby. At the same time, if you want to be thinking about what could be coming down the line, financial planning is future-oriented and less emotionally fraught. Bonus points if you use Mint and haven't categorized your transactions for a few months - that can really pass the time!
Pick a language that you want to dip your toe into. Download the app and start playing the lesson-games! As long as you don't think you are going to become fluent by using a free app for two weeks, it will be a fun distraction.
Pick a place that is typically about an hour or two away by freeway. Set the GPS app of your choice to "avoid highways" and go for a drive! You'll pass through neighborhoods or natural areas or industrial areas you've never seen before and you might find your new favorite restaurant, an unusual museum, or a great park.
Pick a room in your home that you haven't cleaned out in awhile and go through it with an aim towards simplification and minimization. Turns out, I don't need all those spiral notebooks and three-ring binders now that I'm not in school anymore. I probably won't wear that sweater that doesn't go with any of my pants because I'm never going to buy the pants that would only match that sweater! Like financial planning, minimizing is baby-adjacent. It's necessary no matter what, but will come in extra handy when there is another little human (with all of their stuff) in your home.
When I am stressed out or anxious, I like to sink into the familiar. My curiosity and excitement to know what comes next on my favorite TV show fades away and what I really want to do is watch Veronica Mars, The West Wing, or Gilmore Girls for the gazillionth time. There is something comforting about knowing what is going to happen next and sinking into warm embrace of nostalgia.
Same goes for books. For this one I don't necessarily need to journey back 10-15 years to The Golden Compass or Harry Potter (or do I?), but I do want to read something I've read before. Next up on my list is Landing, by Emma Donoghue, my favorite author of all time.
I love puzzles. Hard ones that make you want to pull your hair out. This is one of those, "once you have kids you won't be able to do things like that for 18 years" pieces of advice that I vaguely disagree with but respect since I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to parenting.
Make a playlist that includes your single favorite song from every album you own. Force yourself to pick JUST. ONE. SONG. This could take me hours.
Eat your feet! No wait, that's my cat talking. It's her favorite past time. Instead, get a pedicure sans nail polish. An aggressive scrub is good for the heel and good for the soul! Just be sure to pick a place that has good ventilation and bring your own tools.
Research shows that gratitude is strongly linked with happiness - YouTube said so. You can journal or keep a list, or just take a moment to text a friend whose support your appreciate. My wife and I have started sharing three things that happened throughout the day that we are grateful for - every night. It's a fun twist on "so, how was your day?" and it slows us down enough throughout the day to recognize things that make us grateful so we can catalogue to share when we get home.
14) Tikkun Olam
Tikkum Olam is a Jewish concept – doing kind and helpful acts in an effort to repair the world. Service, basically. It can be easy to get really wrapped up in ourselves when we are going through fertility treatment, and for good reason. But this is one time where we don’t have appointments to run to, where there is nothing we can do to but let time pass. Which makes it the perfect time to turn our attention to others. Find a local organization that takes volunteers – food pantries, soup kitchen, and animal shelters are usually pretty easy to get into. If you are more into politics, it’s time to register people to vote, legal organizations are seeking volunteers to help DACA recipients through this cruel and tumultuous transition, and local ballot initiatives require phone banking and canvassing. There are tons of things to do, they just take research and time – both of which are excellent distractions!
Best of luck to anyone who is in the TWW with me!