Later this month I’ll turn 41 years old. Some say that age ain’t nothing but a number. Others consider each passing year a badge of honor they’re proud to declare and celebrate. And still others think that once you pass a certain age each turn of the calendar is like a compounding curse whose weight grows like a morbidly obese planet slung across Atlas’ shoulders.
I’ve never thought of aging so much, or even made a big deal of my own birthdays. I feel older, but for the most part, not in a bad way. My health isn’t perfect, but it’s better than it was when I was a kid with weekly fractures and chronic bronchitis. I have odd aches and pains sometimes, and I certainly could stand to lose some weight, but overall, life is great.
But one day, about two or three years ago, someone emailed me after having visited my website. They merely wanted to say hi, to complement me on my writing, and to tell me how they once knew someone with Osteogenesis as well, but who had unfortunately been hit by a car and killed. The person also proceeded to comment on my age, saying with complete sincerity and no malicious intent that I was “old for a person with O.I.”
I don’t know about you, but being told that you’re old is bad enough, but when it comes along with the implication that you should be dead already, well, that tends to ruin your day altogether. I tried to shrug it off, but it had gotten under my skin already, crawling around like a nagging little infection whose symptoms are just bad enough to constantly remind you that its there.
I found myself looking at websites like OIF.org, trying to find out what the actual life expectancy of an OI patient was. As I searched and found none, and later read of other OI sufferers who were much older than me, I began to relax.
Although I have a strong faith and don’t really fear death in itself (happens to all of us sometime, right?), it doesn’t mean one should be ready to, or eagerly anticipating, death, does it? I believe that the person meant well, as I said before, but the comment really was an irresponsible one, made out of ignorance and little forethought for the underlying message it included. I’d like to think that only one entity knows when my time is coming, and He ain’t sharing it with me until he comes knocking to make like Calgon and take me away.
However, if you, dear reader, happen to be a time traveler (or a very good psychic) who knows exactly when my demise will come and can’t do anything to change it, please keep this info to yourself. I much prefer to be surprised like everyone else.
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