Years ago, I was waiting at a red light on my way home from my oncologist's office. A boat-like car slowly pulled up next to me. I looked over and saw a gray-haired woman sitting up straight. Her gnarled fingers gripped the steering wheel at 10 and 2, as if she was doing a pull-up to peer over the front hood.
Staring at her, I had a powerful thought:
"Wow. She got to be old."
At the time, I was in my late 30s. My children were young, and my long-term prognosis was lousy.
"She got to be old!"
"Old" felt like such a long time away for me. Too long away it seemed.
The woman kept looking straight ahead. I whispered to myself, "How beautiful you are. And how lucky."
As I'm typing this, I'm looking at the crooked tip of my finger that taps the "p" key. No, I didn't slam it in a car door. (And no, it is not cancer.) This spring my right pinky developed a textbook "Heberden's node" -- a sign of arthritis. A sign of getting old.
Ah, lucky me.