I turned 48 yesterday. By doing that, I outlived myself by eight years
I was 16 when I first understood that my illness could rob me of happiness for the rest of my life. Until then, it was something I dealt with bravely every time I encountered it, without giving it any more importance than a short-term obstacle. It is hard to articulate how sad I felt the moment I realized its true power over my life. And what brought this realization was not the disease itself, but the medication I had to take to survive it. Those were not the days of Google, but being the daughter of doctor teachers, I had enough reading resources to figure out that the steroids I had been put on will soon rob me of my looks and youth I took for granted (as they surely did).
But that was not all. Somewhere around then, I got fixated on the idea that I would live to be at most 40. I don’t recall where it came from and why it seemed so plausible, but 40 was the magic number. So here I was, a 16-year old girl, sure she would die at 40. Not hard to understand why this young girl would hang on to every bit of joy she could gather, however socially unacceptable its source.
Then one day 40 arrived, and I was very much alive. That girl was wrong, but then again…
I first began to breathe freely at 40. It's a fact that I haven’t had a life threatening asthmatic attack since I turned 40. And because I could breathe freely, I started considering my body my ally for the first time and began to care for it. At 40, I started dancing for the first time and teaching others to dance. It was at 40 that I made a huge leap in my career (accidentally). I also decided to be a mother again at 40. It was indeed a magical age, almost as if at 40, I transformed into another person.
So here I am, eight years past that given 40. Now I take every day as a gift, and like any smart person, I never look this gift horse in its mouth. I take what comes my way with gratitude. I cry a lot, I laugh a lot. I am a good girl when it makes sense to me, and I am very bad when I feel like. I thumb my nose at silly rules. I flow with the flow without caring where it takes me. I don’t question why I feel instant connection with some people- I accept them into my life with wonder. I wake up with excitement every morning for another lovely pointless day. I do not know the answers to so many questions, and that’s OK for me. I am done being a seeker- let the effing answers seek my questions for a change. I love taking care of others but I am no saint. I am selfish, irresponsible, prodigal and full of myself.
But I am alive, and Goddammit, I am 48!