The irony doesn’t escape me. It’s 5:15 am and –thanks to our dog — who refuses to sleep, I’m wide awake.

It’s not as if I’ve had a difficult time falling asleep … it’s more that I can’t seem to stay asleep. If anything, all I want to do is climb under the covers and fall into a deep, deep sleep. Depression can obviously do that.

And with me, depression can cause waves and waves of anxiety, which only add fuel to the insomnia-fire.

Recently Hubby and I had one of our long discussions (one of many we’ve been having lately). This one happened to start off with an innocent comment our 15-year old nephew had said last Sunday when we met them for lunch.

“Auntie,” he told me, “you look sad” . And I couldn’t tell him any differently, other than to say that I’d been tired a lot lately.

My husband brought that up during our discussion as a means to show me how even a 15-year old could see my depression. And if he could see it, how many other people would see it as well?

All I know is that over the years, I have changed. Oh … I think the heart of me — my center — will never change, but the way I’ve looked at things or approach things have definitely been altered from my life experiences.

I know these thoughts are no different than any other person in their late 30’s/early 40’s. After all, isn’t this when we begin to look back at our lives to where we were and compare them to where we are now? Isn’t this where we reflect back on those dreams we had in our early 20’s and think about whether we’ve achieved them or not?

You see, as I approach 40 this year, this is one of the anxiety-ridden things I think about frequently. I think about our early post-college years where then-fiance and I would dream about our future together. We’d dream about our married life together; of kids and the large house in the suburbs. We’d talk about how our kids would be into sports or some sort of activities where we would be the proud parents who’d show up with video cams in hand to record such moments. We talked about vacations as families.

And, of course, I also had my dream of wanting to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom for a spell, while waiting for our four (yes, four) kids to all be old enough to go to school. I also dreamt about making friends with other Mom’s; friends of our kids, where we could hang out and commiserate about daily life with kids. I dreamed of arranging playdates and birthday parties and all these wonderful things I could do when I became a mother.

But we all know where those dreams went. Our best laid plans … right down the potty.

While making the decision to live child-free has lessened the “blow” to my need to maternalize (is that even a word?), it hasn’t taken away the fact that I have had to face the “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” when coming to terms with my infertility.

In other words, in order to figure out what our next step in child-rearing would be … Hubby & I had to walk that “boulevard” alone. Together, yes definitely … but alone.

So now that the we’ve passed that boulevard … and even though it’s been almost two years now … what do we do now? What’s our next step? What’s our goal? I know that children aren’t in our future, but so what is our new future?

It’s all of those worries that keep me from having a full night’s sleep. It’s what causes me anxiety in the middle of the night.

Which direction in life do we need to be heading? What we can do with our lives now that we’re closing in on 40 … the decade where we should feel more “settled” in our lives?

It has all the makings of a dreamless night. A night where I’m not sure what our new dream is going to be.

Which, again. The irony doesn’t escape me.