in another of my lifetimes, i lived and traveled in central america. one of my stops was with an ex-patriot hippie family living in the mountains of guatemala. the father of the family, in addition to still using the phrases "groovy" and "outta sight," earned his living by writing horoscopes.
the process for developing someone's horoscope turned out to be quite involved. i had to write a comprehensive list of all the important events in my life--complete with dates and times that they occurred. it was difficult to amass much of a list as i was only 19 years old, but i did what i could. for two days my astrologer consulted tomes and scribbled notes and peered at the stars for guidance. at last i was presented with a multi-page handwritten document that outlined the rest of my life.
i read eagerly all the predictions the pages held. at the end, i was exhausted and shocked because these forecasts told of unhappiness, sickness and an early death.
so in my mind, the countdown to death began when i was just nineteen years of age.
one month later, i would meet my future husband. not long after i met my husband, he counseled me to destroy and discard the negative horoscope. he didn't, and to this day doesn't, believe in astrology (or destiny or fate for that matter). he believed and convinced me, that all those pages did was serve as a roadmap for unhappiness...a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.
two years later i married him. three years after that i gave birth to our beautiful son. i was already making inroads to living a decidedly happier life than the one predicted. but still there were lingering doubts.
now, i am counting down to my fortieth birthday...a milestone i was predicted not to live to see. each day i feel a caution creeping in...with less than two months to go, i feel like the proverbial police sergeant going out for one last raid on the morning of his retirement. each time i see a movie like that i want to scream at the the screen, "don't go! don't you know you will undoubtedly receive a fatal wound trying to save your young rookie partner?"
next month i go for my six month screening appointment with my oncologist. i love her--so cheerful and bright and optimistic. and she has every right to be. those who have the type of cancer i had and have it removed at the stage at which i did have only a 5% recurrence rate after five years. so the odds are with me. but i can't help but feel trepidation and reserve.
i know i'll live to see eighty, at least. my grammie will be 85 next spring and my grandfather will be 94 on the same day. again, i'm the odds-on favorite. but i'm holding out placing any bets until september 15...the day AFTER my fortieth birthday.