At the end of 2013, around 8 months before I was diagnosed with cancer, I was in a big meeting at work where we were asked to look at a questionnaire that was being developed to help guide people through reviewing their careers and career plans and goals later in life. The activity involved working through the questionnaire yourself, then discussing it in small groups. One of the questions asked was what age you thought you'd live to. I stared at the page for a few minutes and then left the room and headed off to the toilets, shutting myself in a cubicle, doing my best not to cry. If I started I wouldn't be able to stop. I was freaking out about my mom's death, and because I'd been referred to Genetics due to the family history of cancer. I was scared.
The meeting was actually being held in the hotel across the road from my office, and my bag and things were still in the meeting room so I knew I had no choice but to pull myself together and go back in there. I sat in the toilets for about ten minutes, figuring that was long enough for the meeting to have moved on. When I returned, people were just finishing feeding back after their discussions about the questionnaire. Good. I'd successfully avoided it.
Next item on the agenda, and people were put in their small discussion groups again. I joined one. But they actually went back to discussing the questionnaire and one of them quite innocently asked me what age I thought I'd live to. I snapped back in response with "35" and I assume a pretty shitty look on my face because that conversation (thankfully) didn't go any further.
Why is all this on my mind? Next week is my 34th birthday and now turning 34 feels ominous. I said I thought I'd live til I was 35, and I'm now shitting myself. I know it's not logical, it's just the way I feel. I'm normally not all that bothered about my birthday, I'm more of a Christmas fan myself. But in a very personal way this one feels like a big deal. Not in a "ooh I want a party and lots of presents and let's all celebrate meeeee!" kind of way. But in a "well, I made it to 34 by the skin of my teeth, I wasn't expecting that to be the case, and now I don't even know if I'll make it to 35" kind of way. It's very, very weird.
People often say they don't want to get older. I desperately want to get older. In particular, if I do make it to 36 (with no more cancer) then I am going to have a MASSIVE party. No need to wait for 40, 36 is now my goal. Prove myself wrong on the 35 thing. Hopefully it'll be ok, just like when we successfully got to 22nd December 2012 and the world didn't end as allegedly predicted by the Mayans.