I feel as if I’m on the verge of death

Kristine Gill

I remember crying to my mother on my 10th birthday saying that I didn’t want to be aging into the double digits. Even then I had an inkling as to the horrors which lie ahead for those who age.

The first decade of my life ended with my 10th birthday, a joyous occasion. I knew that at the end of my second decade on earth I’d find myself at college having the time of my life; yet another reason to be happy. I’m 19 now. In a few months my second decade will end and I’ll find myself on the brink of a third. This time, the destination at the end of my 10-year path is more fuzzy but still most definitely bleak.

By the time I’m 30 I hope to be well into my career, married and starting a family, though not necessarily in that order. How terrifying is that? Extremely. It’s extremely terrifying. I’m still working off the freshman 50 and you’re telling me that in a few years I’ll be gaining it all back when I’m pregnant?

Well, that’s quite the incentive. Get thin, attract a mate, get knocked up and watch your hard work disappear with your feet as it’s swallowed by the shadow of your stomach.

I’m sure pregnancy and marriage will have their perks, perhaps more perks than my 10th birthday had, but I would rather not think about them. Turning 10 opened the doors to possibility and opportunity, but turning 30 is going to slam them shut.

Once you’re married and have kids, life starts going downhill. Nothing good can come after 30. You aren’t going to get prettier, skinnier or smarter. You might get wiser, sure, but that’s at the expense of getting uglier, fatter and slower. And I’m sure I won’t discover one of my hidden talents or have the energy to begin a new hobby.

It’s fine though. I’m sure that by the time I turn 30 and have to worry about those things that I’ll have reconciled with the idea in some way. That, or they’ll have come up with a cure for death.

Cure or no cure, I’ll eventually move into my fourth decade. During that time I’ll watch my kids grow up as my skin sags down. I’ll watch them learn things as my memory goes, and my hair will gray as they grow into vibrant youths. They’ll get excited about going to college, and I’ll struggle to remember what it felt like to have the world at my fingertips.

Then the brats will leave for school and somehow getting them out of my hair won’t bring as much relief as having them back for the summer and holidays. Then my kids will start their third decade and I’ll invest in a cane and bifocals. And from my permanent seat on a moth-eaten sofa, I’ll watch my children’s children run around.

I don’t care to delve into the mysteries of my final decades. I don’t think I could stomach the horrifying prospects of writing a will or investing in a stained, airtight box. Until then I just have to worry about making the most of things.

I’m getting old. I’m no longer the carefree 9-year-old stranger to double digits and mortality. I’m getting old, and while I don’t have a lot of years left to live, I guess you could say I have a lot of life to start living. Nine-year olds don’t value things the way a 19-year old does. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy the coming decades, however few, depressing, miserable or uneventful, that much more knowing how precious they are.

Kristine Gill is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].