Being “Older”

I often wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning to panic attacks either from nightmares or thinking I have to rush to get things done NOW, despite still being sick and being so close to possibly not being sick. What I mean is that I have this terrible fear that I am just getting older and older and I am going to end up broke and career-less without any skills or experience and thus on the streets and dying after I have fought my whole life to live.

I know this is a bleak topic for what is a bleak and rainy day (at least it is here!) – it is, truly, the grey/black cloud that hangs over the heads of anyone who has any sort of systemic or degenerative chronic illness.

What I really want to point at is something like a timeline. It might feel like the decade or so we have “missed out on” is a massive amount of time right now compared with our peers and everyone we know. However, if we were to write out our lives on a timeline, from 0 to 80 or so, that 10 years between 20 and 30 (or whatever the specifics may be for you) is not so massive. Even if it is a much greater quantitative amount of time than that, please look at it in qualitative AND quantitative terms – that is, if I were to finish my undergraduate degree next year at 34, start graduate school and finish residency by 39-40, I would still be about 10-15 years behind the “regular people” but in the span of the 30-40 years left in my life and especially in my career, that amount of missed time is just a blip on the radar.

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