College was weeks ago. I was 20 and boundless and too new to be afraid.
Somehow between then and now I grew babies and pounds and gray hairs and a little bit of wisdom. And yet still, if you ask me how old I am, the answer, the truth itself, sounds like an impossibility.
Yesterday I went to the celebration of life for a friend who, in my heart's memory (and yes, there is such a thing) is eternally 22. How surreal to stand there looking at a table filled with pictures of her throughout past years I don't remember. How, when there is a picture of her, right there in the middle, where she is the way she will be forever, whenever I think of her?
Those babies I somehow had aren't babies anymore. I've lived in eight homes and raised four dogs and my firstborn is taller than I am now. I went to my high school reunion and all the people who should still be kids, too? They weren't 20 anymore either.
I thought as I looked at the face of that girl who isn't here anymore and should be. I thought thoughts that didn't have words but only feelings, and then I decided to try to put those feelings into words and I failed. This is all I came up with.
That we invincible people, we have to account for what happens when it turns out we're not. We have to plan for it, we have to safeguard our hearts and our bodies against it. We have to get those scans and those scopes and those paps and those grams. We have to remind our friends to do it, too, because there's a time stamp on invincibility.
We have to find ways every day to enjoy the moment, even when it's hard, even when the day is heavy and we just want to drink all the coffee and eat all the fries and sleep till Friday. We HAVE to, because if we don't we'll wake up one day and realize we missed all the good parts because we were waiting for the next thing. And the next thing. And the next.
I can't tell you the last time I held my little boy. I can't tell you the first time I noticed a gray hair growing out of my head. I can't tell you when I last wrote in this blog. I know these things happened, though. And I'm going to make an effort, a real one, to notice the passage of time. Because she wasn't invincible, and they aren't, and I'm not. All of our days are numbered.
Best we can do is make it count.