I was in the process of applying to medical school when it started to become obvious that I was sick. I chose not to complete the application process out of fear that I would be accepted and too sick to attend. I ultimately got much worse and would definitely have been too sick for medical school. As it turned out, I was sick for several years. And in the last couple of years, I have been too sick to do much of anything.
I am 31 years old. I finished school almost eight years ago. I have been sick for that entire duration. Somehow in my mind, being sick is recent, a brief interruption to my normal state. Eight years is not brief. I have now been sick longer than it took me to complete my undergraduate and graduate degrees.
In the middle of those years is the time when most people transition from one stage of life to the next. It is the time when you take fun vacations, go to parties, focus on your career, meet your significant other, marry. They achieve their earlier goals and move onto the next ones. They grow up, calm down and settle down.
I was sick for those years and never really made that transition. There is still a riot, loud and unyielding, in my heart.
I have dreams for 31, but I also had dreams for 25 and 28. When do you have to let them go? At what point do you not have enough time?
In some ways, it is easier when all of your dreams are washed away at once. It is harder to choose which dreams to lose. It is hard to accept that those years weren’t lost, but that they prevented me from achieving these things that are so important. Those years may prevent me from ever achieving some of them.
I feel a lot better these days than I have in a couple of years. But now that I feel more functional, I find myself constantly taking inventory of life, of the things I never did and the things I might still be able to do, if I start right now. It is overwhelming sometimes. It feels like the shadow edge of hope.
I knew I would one day run out of time to do everything, that eventually pushing things into the future would mean they fell over the edge and disappeared forever. It just happened sooner than I thought.