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When we are children, we delight in running around, making forts out of huge cardboard boxes, and playing hide-and-seek. In ourteen-age years, some of us struggle with puberty and hate the world and prefer to drive a car than ride our bicycles. And then there are all those years when we simply pursue our lives, either investing our time and energy in the routine demands of living and in staying well and healthy—or not.
But at some point, mortality sneaks up and we realize that our bodies are wearing away and falling apart. I became acutely aware in my 30’s that my body was not going to get itself in shape on its own. So I decided to take seriously the effects of the passage of time.
When did the truth of mortality’s stalking occur to me especially hard? Right now, as I recover from breast cancer. It’s been nagging at my psyche for quite a while. At 71, I have many fewer years left than I’ve used up. But six months ago, my predictable lifestyle of the joys of retirement, regular exercise and diet was interrupted. And I had no idea how challenging it would be to work my way back.