Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

She had so much to live for

and in an instant, all her dreams and aspirations were over. I was saddened to read of a 21-year-old who died of a heart attack the other day. She had been a child model, actress and cheerleader. At 15 she'd had an enlarged heart and had to have a heart transplant. She had graduated from college, was set to start teaching this fall, and had just gotten married earlier this month to a medical student. They had just returned from their honeymoon when she died.

She seemed to have crammed so much living into such a young life. She had so much to look forward to; she was truly poised to live out her dreams.

And I have to admit, along with the sadness, came a tickle of embarrassment that I am here, almost forty years old, and have not really lived as fully as she did. What would someone really say in my obituary? What have I really accomplished that I set out to do? Alright, I am a librarian, I have a bachelor's and master's. But I always saw myself getting a PhD. In terms of relationships I have to say I'm a failure, both in the ones I have and in the staying out of them for as long as I have.

But I still have hope. And I suppose I do affect other people's lives to a small degree just by being me. I have good friendships. I have my dog and cat. I'm a little lonely, sure, and not as active as I should be, but I'm also working three jobs and just trying to make ends meet. So I suppose I'm doing okay for now. Still, with the big 4-0 looming in the not-so-distant future, I'm looking back at my wasted youth and wishing I'd done things differently, and looking forward and thinking of ways to do so. It'll probably be harder to do some of them now rather than then, but I have to try. Otherwise, am I really living?

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