I don’t think anyone warned me that at a certain age, everywhere I turned, people would be getting divorced or getting cancer.
Or maybe I was warned and I just didn’t listen. Or I listened politely, but immediately dismissed the warnings. Which might speak to a certain hubris and youthful arrogance, but in my own defense, didn’t most aging-related things people said feel not-quite-true? Were we supposed to believe that after forty years of being a certain circumference, suddenly one day, counter to all laws of physics we’d ever learned, every stray cookie or handful of walnuts would affix itself to our middles and never again leave?
Were we supposed to believe people with creaky hips whose face fat had migrated to their necks when they said such things had happened overnight, with no advance warning—like in a horror movie or a Star Trek episode? Even now these claims seems implausible. They seem highly suss.
Which is probably why, even if someone had told me, I would have doubted other predictions: Like that our couple-friends— whose couches I’ve crashed on and whose kids I’ve played with, and who I’ve only ever known as each others’ lobsters— would decide to uncouple and unfriend.
Or like that in the space of less than a month, I would hear that my mother-in-law, my brother, the best-man at my wedding and and another friend as well — have all been diagnosed with cancer.
On this last point I understand that, given my history, I don’t get to complain about being on the receiving end of this kind of news, but I’m realizing there was part of me that believed the people I love (and thus, *I*) would get a pass, whether because I assumed I’d already paid enough dues, or because I was holding on to the willful hope of my younger self.
But it seems there are no free passes, so here we each are, with whatever burdens have been assigned to us, reluctantly suiting up for the next leg of the race.
I’m not a fan of the course, but I like the people I’m running alongside. And I’m happy it’s not the kind of race where we have to kill each other like in The Hunger Games. Instead we can cheer each other on all the way to the end