Friday, 26 December 2014

The Apis Bull Myth

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.


  1. I've never heard of that myth before. I'm glad you were able to meet your 40th.

  2. 40 looks good on you sweet friend. I wish and pray for 40 more. What does a bull know anyway?! xoxo