Today is the day I turn 25, officially a quarter of a century old. But 25 is more than just my “quarter life crisis,” I guess you could say it is an accomplishment. Aren’t all years of a life stamped with a young life expectancy an accomplishment though?
This year is different. Because when I was born, the life expectancy for a female with CF was 25. Because even though my parents didn’t know it yet, I was a ticking time bomb and the statistics didn’t want me to reach today. But I did.
I’ve heard the term “quarter life crisis,” and according to that statistic when I was born, I should have had mine when I was 6… Not 25. When I was 7, I came face to face with the reality of my illness and had my first hospital stay. CF wasn’t just an annoyance where I had to swallow big pills and get tapped on by my parents during Barney… It was needles, and fevers, and missing my first day of 1st grade, and nights in an unfamiliar hospital room.
Soon, thanks to some pretty awesome advances, my life expectancy jumped into the 30s. And halfway through my life, through my teen years, I had my midlife crisis. Faced with the unignorable fact that I would die young, I worried, and cried, and then turned that negative energy into a zest for everything that is life. Each decision was mired in mortality. I needed to go to school and get a job quick, I didn’t have time to take my time. And I needed to appreciate every single moment, because I was already halfway there.
And now here I am, 2 weeks after taking a drug that will slow down the clock, supposed to be having my quarter life crisis 10 years after I already went through my midlife crisis. Here I am, my future expanding bright before me, my past tucked behind me, living in this one day in between. Life isn’t meant for counting down the days, or the years, or the hours we have left. I may have learned and come to terms with my mortality in the way an 80 year old has, but I’m still 25. For the first time since I can remember, I didn’t wish on my candles for more time…because all that matters today is that I have all the years, and days, and hours that I need ahead of me.