If you think that I might be obsessing about turning 40, you're probably right.
Age didn't really use to matter to me until about the age of 6... when I read the myth of the Apis bull. I burst into tears, and the thought stayed with me well into adulthood.
The Apis bull ( which for some reason I was named after) was killed before the age of 25, to avoid it the troubles of old age ( or so the book said when I read it). I took this to mean that I had to figure out my life and adventures before then, because I was likely to die an early death. I was a peculiar child, and my thoughts had a tendency to dwell on the things that I felt I could not change. If it was a given ( and to my mind it was) then I had to make the most of the allotted time; there was no time to waste on things I did not care for.
I turned 25 after I was already living in Vancouver, and it dawned on me that here I was... having made it to the ripe old age of twenty-five. Presumably, the one immutable predestination that I had based a lot of my life decisions around had been wrong. Here I was, twenty-five ( and a day), and had to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
Little changed. It took me a few weeks of mild panic to realize that the way I lived my life had much more to do with my own needs and dreams than with a terrible possibility. I acknowledged that I liked who I was, who I was becoming and who I loved. This was also around the time that I married the love of my life, coincidentally. I felt like I was whole, and that whatever uncertainty may lay ahead I would find a way to face it.
Cancer came when I was 37, long after I had made my peace with the Apis bull Myth. Long after I'd stop worrying about each day and every dire possibility, preparing for every likely scenario or anticipating the likelihood I could survive a zombiepocalypse. Here it was, the Thing that had been sent to get me. I had thought that at that point I would have seen it as inevitable, but the opposite happened; I had spent so many decades dreading the Thing that went it arrived I was no longer terrified of it. Worried? Of course. Particularly about my son and my husband, but no longer terrified or convinced it was inevitable. I wasn't that lonely six year old anymore, wondering just how I would have to plan out this epic battle on my own. I was a grown woman, and I had prepared for it with years of anxiety and 'what ifs' plans.
We battled, and won. But for a minute there I thought about the next milestone, the 40th birthday all our friends talked about. How far away it seemed, at 37! I might as well have been 6 and dreading my 25th birthday all over again. So I promised myself ( and my two lovely men) that I would fight my hardest to be there for that birthday, to celebrate it together in style. Because suddenly age mattered, and I wanted to reach it.
I am now 40 years and two days old. I look forward to the next 40.