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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