Facing Forward

“Do it While You’re Young”

I’ve heard older people say, “Do it while you’re young,” throughout my entire life.  And the definition of young changes depending on who you’re speaking to.  There was a time when I was undeniably young and now I feel relatively young.  I used to think 70 was old and now that I’m back in NYC with my parents who are in their 70s I know 70 is not old.  Hell, if you see Cicely Tyson on Broadway you might start to think 90 isn’t old either.

Yes, I now agree, it is better to have success when you’re young and then you don’t have to worry so much as you get older but things didn’t quite work out that way for me.

I read an article that said having a major illness when you are young is good for your character.  While in a certain way I do agree, there are so many ways to build character that this idea definitely looks on the much brighter side of things.

I realize now that many people go their whole lives and never have a major illness.  They never stay in the hospital for more than a week and have many many years of uninterrupted health.  They don’t tell you that when you’re sick.  They tell you about all the people who have the same illness as you who are doing well.  They don’t tell you that 1% of the population has what you have and there’s a 1 in 5 chance of never recovering.  And once you do recover you have to read articles about how having a major illness when you’re  young is good for you – but only if you live.

Yes, being sick at a young age helped me build a lot of character.  And with that character comes a heavy burden I could happily live without.


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