There are things I believe will happen. For some of them, my belief is nestled in things that have happened to other people, to my friends, to my parents, to me. Some of these things I believe are based on statistics and what I know about people in general. A lot of them are based on nothing other than feelings.
I believe I will get hit by a car while riding my bike.
I believe I will get seriously injured at least once more in my life.
I believe some part of my body will be permanently changed in a way that negatively affects my quality of life.
I believe I will ride my bicycle up a hill quickly.
A steep hill.
A long, steep hill.
Some day I will move cities again. At least once.
I believe I will be a writer. I won’t just be a person who writes. I will be well loved by my fans and well respected by my peers. Someday a teacher will teach something I wrote. Someday I’ll meet a kid who loves my writing and I’ll tell them something deep and meaningful.
I will have a fight with the boy I like. It’ll be a big fight, the kind that involves screaming and yelling and crying and maybe even throwing things. I will storm out. I will curl up on someone’s couch that night where I will cry and cry and cry. I will ask myself what I did with my life that got me to that point and why I did those things. I’ll wonder if this is it and if things are over. I will wonder what I am going to do and who I am going to become.
And then things will get better.
I will buy a property and live on it. This will not be a perfect place—it will need work. I’ll do this work with my own hands. I’ll ruin things and cry and consider calling someone to fix it, but instead I’ll call my dad and he’ll help me figure it out. He’ll be thinking about retiring and take this as cause to do so. He will let his company run itself and live with me for a month or two or three. We will work on the property together. We will run wires and fix pipes and put up dry wall. He’ll miss my mom and the dog and they’ll come up. My mom will paint the walls bright colors. She’ll take pictures. One day, I’ll find her crying. She’ll hug me and bury her face against my neck. I will push her away and lean my head against her chest. I will hear her heart beat and pretend, just for a few moments, that I am seven again.
Someday, I will live near my best friends. We’ll see each other often. They’ll come over for dinner and we’ll go out for coffee. We’ll sit outside and go for walks and talk and talk and talk. I will babysit their children, who will preface my name with “Aunt.” They will wrap their little arms around me and hug my neck. When they’re older, I’ll tell them dangerous stories about their parents that will make them laugh. My friends will scowl and then relent and smile. We’ll drink beer together at their kids’ birthday parties, and every year we’ll wonder how we still get away with it.
I will continue to try and do the things I’ve always done, even though my life will no longer resemble what it was at twenty-four. My friends will help me with my children as I helped them with theirs and they will be the ones called Aunt and Uncle. We’ll try harder to not let our kids know we drink beer at their birthday parties. We’ll sneak out for ‘us time’ and pretend we weren’t doing things we were, and say we were doing things we weren’t. We’ll watch the shows we used to watch and listen to music we used to listen to and our kids will shake their heads and call us old and we’ll wonder how we got old.
I will get old and my body will change even more. The years I’ve been mean to it will catch up and things will be harder. My skin will become too loose and my tattoos will look funny. I will need to sleep more. I will be slower. I will be mad at myself for these things, but I will push and push and push and keep trying. My knees will hurt and I will get them replaced. I will not look like Helen Mirren, but I will try. I’ll do yoga and swim.
I will live to be over a hundred.
I will enjoy being over a hundred. I will go to places I’ve never been before and see things I’ve never seen before. I will wonder how I became so old and I will be amazed that there are still so many things I’ve never seen before. That there are so many things I still don’t know. I will wonder if I can ever see or know everything I want to see or know. I will realize that I won’t. I will become okay with this. I will become okay with the idea of dying.