Since there are heavy topics and light topics, and since I'm tired and worried about other things right now, I'll start with a lightish topic: isolation.
Really, isolation could go either way, and can be very heavy, but this recent experience with it is more of a "well, that's how it is" moment than a "oh, I can't do this anymore" moment, if that makes sense. I'm currently serving in the Primary presidency of my ward--we are in charge of the Sunday activities of the children from 18 months to 12 years old, and we also concern ourselves (in a limited way) with their home lives. I am the oldest in this presidency and the only single, childless member. The women with whom I serve have all dealt with weird pregnancy issues--one lost multiples because of a uterine anomaly, one has health issues that prevent her from having anything other than C-section births--and they talk about them. That's fine. I think it's good to talk about these things so others know they're not alone and are prepared for the strange things that can happen. I don't really mind hearing about all the blood tests and appointments that come along with high-risk pregnancies (after all, I'm automatically high-risk just because of age) and I don't mind hearing about all the strange and wonderful things that go along with being a parent.
I just feel out of place when the topic moves that direction. I don't have anything but second-hand experience to contribute, and sometimes I get the feeling that my friends feel a little awkward discussing things to which I can't personally relate. I joke that I pay attention and take notes so I can be a better mom someday, but lately there's the mental undercurrent that I may never get to be a mom and the joke is losing its ability to make me feel better about my situation. One night after a meeting, the three of them started talking about hospitals and obstetricians and I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, so I politely excused myself and left.
Like I said, these moments don't make me despair (most of the time...), but they're still a little new and raw. For years I reasoned that I could deal with them because someday I'd be a mother, but now the impending loss of fertility and introduction of menopause are staring me in the face. Not that I'm going to really hit menopause until I'm in my 50s, but I'm almost 40 and my chances of having a child on my own are very, very slim, even with modern medical technology. No one in my family that I know of has had a child past 35. I don't know what to expect, but I do know the odds are stacked firmly against me and I just have to deal with that like I deal with wrinkles and cellulite. Wrinkles and cellulite are just part of life, and there's not much I can do about them, so I try not to get hung up on them. It's the same thing with being single and almost 40; it's literally a shrug of the shoulders and an "oh, well!" because there's not much I can do about it on my own.
It is what it is, and while it feels odd to be isolated in this way, it's not really disturbing or distressing. Most people don't understand, and that's ok. It's not their fault. This is just how life happens, and you either freak out about it and waste a lot of energy, or recognize that it's out of your hands (for the most part) and shrug and move on.
What's interesting, though, is that I almost feel like isolation bubble is protecting me--it's not unfriendly or threatening or sad, it's just different. And if I can't contribute to a conversation, it's ok to excuse myself and be alone in my bubble for a while.