I had a funny thought this afternoon. It went like this: ‘Forty more years. If I could live until 100, I think I might have enough time to realize my potential.’
It bites to be such a late bloomer when one has a terminal illness.
In reality, I am just hitting my stride. Sure, my physical self is declining in a way that has nothing to do with cancer (advancing age–who knew?). And there is no doubt that between lung cancer and treatment my body has been beat to shit. Once upon a time my oncologist told me that platinum chemo ages one on a cellular level by fifteen years. And in my case, that would be times three.
Then again, culturally I am far more a millennial than a boomer. All over the map, I am.
But back to those forty years. It would be so fucking cool to imagine that it was a possibility. The odds are not with me on this one. However, there is nothing to stop me from dreaming. I mean, my dad lived to 83 and my mom to 79 and they both had cancer. Of course, they weren’t diagnosed at the age of 45, as I was.
However, even though old age is a statistical improbability, I think I’m going to just take my time here. Continue hanging out and hanging on. Aim for 65, and then 70. Wrinkles and saggy triceps? Bring it. I’m going for the long haul.
As the feast that was a prelude to a major land grab (how’s that for gratitude) Thanksgiving is likely no longer politically correct. But whereas Columbus Day is just a lie (you can’t discover a place that is already inhabited), Thanksgiving Day still has some major merit. I would argue that any holiday with thankfulness as the centerpiece is worth saving. Add in what to many of us is the ultimate in comfort food and a good dose of family and it becomes pretty much the perfect way to spend the fourth Thursday in November.
My father Ollie and baby Linnea
Some of my bias is strictly personal; I was born on Thanksgiving and seven birthdays hence have coincided with turkey day; tomorrow will be the eighth. Perhaps only someone who believed they’d never have the chance to grow old is so eager to share their age; I will be turning fifty six and am both damn happy and proud of it.
In the morning Peter and I will head to Longmeadow MA for Thanksgiving with the Lee family. Melinda Lee is preparing the traditional turkey and a Korean repast. As we give thanks I shall think of all the ways in which I have been so blessed. My three wonderful children and all of my extended family. Dear friends like Melinda, who I have been close to since we met in the third grade. The wealth of other friendships–ranging from my neighbors in the lofts to my lung cancer community (many of whom I know only online but increasingly those I get to meet in person as well). My wonderful oncologist Dr. Shaw and the rest of the medical team which is working so hard to give people like me a chance against cancer. And of course, the simple (and yet astounding) fact that I am having yet another birthday.