I don’t think this life is going to happen.
But here would be my dream.
It’s very simple.
I’m 80 or 90 or something.
So’s Anne. I assume so is her SO. And my other roughly same-age friends (for some reason I don’t have many) like Joelle.
We get to hang out as old people and reminisce over a lifelong friendship.
That’s what I want.
I don’t expect it.
But it’d be massively cool.
Anne is kinda my cognitive doppelgänger. She’s the other human in this picture (her SO took it, so he’s kinda in the picture if you count behind the camera as in the picture):
I want to be old and I want Anne to be old.
That’s what I want in life.
Full head of grey hair and a friend or two to use up all that time with. And as many cats as can safely work out for everyone.
As it is, I count every grey hair as an accomplishment. And right now I’m working on making it to 40, which I had a good chance of never seeing, so that’ll be an accomplishment too.
I don’t think it’s wrong to want this.
I do think it’s realistic to expect it’s unlikely. But there’s a chance. I’ve got some good longevity genes. They might make up for all the other crap. They sure have with my mom, who’s managed to survive a number of codes with some of the same conditions I have and is in her seventies. Her mom’s in her nineties.
Anne does longevity research for a living, and says I actually have longevity genes that are known about. I could’ve guessed it from the long lives of many of my relatives, but it’s reassuring. Some part of me wonders if the longevity genes are how we survive to adulthood at all with some of the medical crap running in our family.
But at any rate, that’s most of what I want out of life. No matter what my life looks like at that point — that’s part of the interest in life, is you can’t predict it. Right now my life is looking kind of sucky from the outside, but I value being alive just as much as ever, and I can’t stand the idea that being old or disabled is a ~fate worse than death~ and all that. Right now I’m living on a bed in someone’s living room and we’ve both been in the hole financially since the beginning of the month, and that’s just the start of a long description I won’t go into. Suffice to say that my sense of time makes managing finances without help about as possible as managing meds without help. We’re tightening our belts, but it’s hard.
I just want to be around for life. I don’t need to be healthy, I don’t need to avoid dementia or anything like that, I just want to be there. I’ll have plenty of time for death when my time comes.
But I already feel lucky.
Because I’m here and I have had so many times I almost wasn’t.
I’m already older than I or medical professionals predicted.
Nobody — nobody — is guaranteed any time at all. We get what we get.
So every moment we’re alive is a chance to experience that life, to live, to love.
And every piece of us is gunning for us.
And then in the end we die and get to become part of other kinds of life, that wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for us. Just like the mushrooms and asparagus in the fridge — some of our last fresh veggies my roommate made into a delicious tube-soup for me — get to be part of me in a minute. They had their time to be part of a fungus and a plant respectively, and now they get to be part of a human being and the assorted things that live in and on the human being. I love the idea of being part of that whole chain of life.
But I still want to be here as long as I can.
And I do love that this is biologically a part of what life wants, so this isn’t just a directive from my brain, it’s a directive from every living part of my body. And I do feel like I have to take into account the opinions of things most people don’t think of as having opinions. I think of humans and other animals as basically very very very weirdly complicated and specialized fungus-like or slime-mold-like creatures living together and cooperating inside portable bodies, alongside assorted hangers-on and symbiotes.
Not exactly, but that’s as close as I can get with words, so take it or leave it. I think it’s cool. And given how much I rely on my entire body, I care quite a lot about my survival as an entire organism, not as a couple of thinky bits that like staring at themselves a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I like my thinky bits as well as the next animal, but they’re not all there is to me. And I think things with thinky bits do tend to get a little bit intellectually vain about the whole matter when it’s just the way our bodies grow.
Grey hair. Friends. Cats. Longevity, or hell, even just slight old age. Want.