So I went for my MRI and it was a really fucking scary thing. Being cooped up in that magnet coffin with all that whirring and banging.
There was an alarm sound that kept going off. The machine was the only thing in this big sterile room, and the operator sat in a booth on the other side of the wall. It was seven thirty in the morning and really cold. They gave me headphones with music to drown out some of the noise, and it was on a preset station. Ozzy Osbourne was playing, believe it or not. There was a time when that would have been funny to me. But it was just ironic or pathetic. Nothing could have felt more irrelevant to my life at that moment than Ozzy Osbourne. I was really scared of what they were going to find.
And the funny—no, sad—thing was my life didn’t flash before my eyes. Not at all. I’m thirty-eight years old and there were, like, two things I had in my mind—the way my little son’s hand feels when I hold it and how I didn’t want to leave my wife behind to do it all on her own. What seemed plain to me was that I wasn’t scared of losing my past. I was scared of losing my future. I felt like almost nothing in my life mattered up until just a few years ago. I realized that all the good stuff is still to come. I was so sick and panicked that I might never see my son ride a bike, play soccer, graduate from school, get married, have his own kids. And my career was just getting good.
Nothing is wrong, thank God. But this has made me face some things. I saw my regular doctor a couple of days after the MRI, and I told her she needed to keep me going for a good twenty years at least. She said she sees that a lot now. When people had their kids at twenty-two, it was pretty much a given you’d be around to finish what you started. Nobody worried about it. Now she says a lot of parents come in and say, “Hey, I need to be healthy at least until my kids are off in college. Please be sure I make it that long.” How screwed up is that?
What I can’t figure out, and what I feel like I am grieving a little, is why I spent so many years on nothing. So many years doing things and hanging out with people that don’t even rate a memory. For what? I had a good time in my twenties, but did I need to do all that for eight years? Lying there in the MRI, it was like I traded five years of partying or hanging out in coffee shops for five more years I could have had with my son if I’d grown up sooner. Why didn’t someone drop the manners and tell me I was wasting my life?
Meg Jay(PhD), author of The Defining Decade. The brain and the body – Everybody. Pg 186
While I was on compulsory exile from the internet, I read this awesome book and would review it shortly. You need to get it!