Tight Rope Walking by Emily Levine
By the time things had advanced enough for me to have a cane – but no energy to brandish it - I was resigned to life as an old person. Then – miraculously – I was diagnosed with acromegaly. All the symptoms I’d associated with old age were in fact caused by a benign tumor in my pituitary gland. Not only that, but the doctors promised, curative surgery could reverse the symptoms. I’d get my mind back, my energy back and my wit back. My skin would be smooth again. My hair would regain its luster. I thought: “I’m going to be young again!”
Eagerly, I looked in the mirror every day expecting to see myself as I was when the tumor first began. What I’d forgotten was that I was now twenty years older. So although in some respects I was growing younger, I was still growing old. I was growing older and younger at the same time! That’s when I had my epiphany: “So are we all.”
Biologically, we are in a continual process of degeneration and regeneration. The balance shifts as we grow older, but we are still part of that process. Focusing only on one side of the equation throws us off-balance. It’s not Lillian Hellman I want to emulate now; it’s Kurt Wallenda: tightrope walking between living and dying, growing older and younger, denial and hope.
Emily Levine has recently upgraded herself from philosopher-comedian to oracle. www.emilylevineuniverse.com