Your Number’s Up!

Do you ever lie awake at night feeling stuck, or anxious? Like you can’t – or won’t – achieve something? That everyone else seems to be playing this crazy board game called Life so much better than you are? Like you’ve started playing the game, only to discover that there are vital pieces missing? That it must be cause and effect: you didn’t pack up the game properly last time you played it, so a few bits got left out of the box and lost…and as a result of such carelessness you’re now suffering the consequences when you try to play it again?

This year has been a rollercoaster for me. As an Aries, I thrive on excitement and adrenaline…but somehow the rush got a little too intense, even for a hyper Type A like me. I realised that I love challenges and change…but that you cannot underestimate the importance of those comforting constants in your life too. You need to feel grounded sometimes.

Being a childless divorcee can feel like a weightless state: on the one hand there’s a sense of freedom and lightness that come from knowing you only have yourself to look after day-to-day. I can live spontaneously, moment-to-moment. If I want to pack a bag and disappear at the drop of a hat, I will. I can (and do!) stay out dancing all night long, without having to pre-plan months in advance – or even make a phone call to say I’ll be late. Whatever!

However, when you don’t have a family you can also feel disconnected, unworthy, insignificant; shut out from a society that values parenting above any other role. Consequently, you’re like a balloon floating on the breeze…and sometimes you get caught on the branch of a tree. You realise you’re not invincible after all; balloons are fragile things.

Recently, I’ve had a series of challenges. It can be easy to think: “What are the chances of this (good thing) happening?” “Surely I won’t win this competition/get picked for this opportunity?” Why bother? What’s the point? Throughout my life, I’ve often defied the odds…but not always in a good way! What are the chances of being infertile? 1 in 7. I am an infertile woman. I defied the odds. What are the chances of IVF working? Well, only 25% on average per cycle…but after 3 cycles 75% of women have succeeded. I had 3 cycles. I did not succeed. Again, I defied the odds. I am now one of the 1.5 women in 10 who don’t have children. What percentage of women experience premature menopause? One in 100. Guess what? It was me. I was the one in 100.

So then I started thinking: “What were the chances of all those statistics going against me?” “How come I fell out of the Unlucky Tree and hit every branch on the way down?” But then I also said to myself: “Hang on. If the odds can go against you in a bad way, surely they can work in your favour too?” What if I start going about my life by trying to do things that I would not have thought possible before?

I started to put myself out there a bit more. Someone nominated me for a blog award, so I filled in the application. I was selected as a finalist…one of a handful of over 4000 entrants. (The awards are next month – wish me luck! 🤞🏻.) Then I applied for various opportunities…and have been chosen by brands for lots of partnerships and exciting projects. I’m defying the odds – in a good way!

The point I’m trying to make with this blog is this: life is a game of snakes and ladders. Sometimes you are climbing that ladder, feeling fearless…and then you’re suddenly knocked off course, sliding down the back of a huge snake. Your confidence takes a hit. But just when you think you’re destined to be writhing in the snake pit forever, suddenly you’ll see a chink of light and someone will chuck you a rope ladder. Don’t give up. There will be tons of snakes…but there are just as many ladders. You just have to hang in there and keep playing the game.

When I think to myself: “Why me?” I also think: “Why not me?” And that goes for good things as well as bad. Why shouldn’t I be selected? I used to hear the expression “Your number’s up” as a negative statement: you’ve had it, game over. Now I think of that phrase in terms of being chosen or winning something. (The lottery maybe? That’d be nice.) So maybe this year my number will be up: I might win something; I’ll get chosen; it might be my turn. I’ve defied the odds before, in so many ways.

Perhaps I’ll be in the 1% again.

But this time in a good way.


(As I was writing this it also occurred to me: today is my birthday. I was once a sperm who defied the odds to get to the egg. The chances of that sperm being me were about one in 300 million. If you’re reading this, you’ve already defied the odds. Now get out there and keeping defying them. You got this!)

When your number’s up: today’s number is 42. Forty-freakin’-two! How the hell did that happen?

Sam x

Sam’s other blogs:

If You Booze, You Lose
Costa Rica Chica 

Life: A Bird’s Eye View

No Emotional Thais: Sam Goes Solo
Mummy Mission
World Wide Walsh: Around the World in 180 Days
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