Until the music stops

There will be no way of know­ing when my heart will stop work­ing.

But it will: I am quite sure of that. Not soon, don’t wor­ry. I imag­ine I have a sol­id twen­ty years left that I can more or less count on. After that, though, I will be fool­ish not to regard each day as a com­plete roll of the dice: dice which I not only can­not see, I don’t even know how many sides they have.

This is (I believe) my first time writing—in pub­lic view at least—on a top­ic that I roll around in my head con­scious­ly every sin­gle day, and have done since the end of the last mil­len­ni­um, when what had been a sel­dom-talked-about fam­i­ly tragedy sud­den­ly became a pat­tern, a genet­i­cal­ly-deter­mined fate that there would be no avoid­ing. I was going to die of a heart attack, just like my pater­nal grand­fa­ther and his two old­est sons (so far). It was just a ques­tion of when.

But I don’t want it to seem that I feel doomed, that I am cow­er­ing under the shad­ow of a fam­i­ly health trend that haunts my every wak­ing moment. I find it near­ly impos­si­ble not to sound fatal­is­tic when I speak of this top­ic, which is per­haps in large part why I have kept it very pri­vate: I don’t feel fatal­is­tic about it. I sup­pose in a strict sense I do feel doomed to this spe­cif­ic fate, but I don’t see any rea­son to rail against it. I can do a lot in fifty years, I think, if I try hard. I have admit­ted­ly not tried very hard through most of the first thir­ty, but I feel like I am turn­ing a cor­ner now as I head into the mid-thir­ties. I am ready to live, to work at mak­ing a life for myself and my fam­i­ly that I can be proud of, and that they can be glad to have shared with me.

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