When I was in high school, I was certain that I would be dead before the age of 30. No specific reason, just a certainty. After reaching 30, then 40, then 50 I decided it would be kinda cool to live to be 80 -- to see how the world changes in my lifetime.
Then, the subtractions started:
When I found out I needed surgery to correct a heart defect, I was all for it. My father died (lung cancer) when he was 71 and I was determined to live until at least 72.
Then I found out I had a type of cancer that could not be cured and for which the average life expectancy after diagnosis was only 5 years. So, I became determined to live to be at least 61.
Today I turn 57 and I’m pretty happy to have made it this far. Although my cancer treatment is going well, there is always the possibility things may take a turn for the worst, or that I will get hit by a car, or shot by one of those “good” people with a gun.
But then, the additions started:
Tuesday, I had a visit with my cancer doctor. I’ve been doing a “maintenance” chemo regimen that has contributed to my numbers getting even better each month. My doctor said “If I were a teacher handing out grades, I would give you ‘A’s right across the board.” He even smiled when he said this. :-) I asked him frankly about the 5-year average and he said I could pretty much forget about that, that he would feel confident giving me at least another 10 years, by which time there would be new and hopefully better treatments. (Out of the blue he said “I can’t guarantee you’ll make it to 80” -- which I thought was an interesting coincidence.)
So, I guess it’s true to say that -- for me, anyway -- life begins at 57!