I turned 39 on June 2nd. It was a big deal for me.
My family, at the end of my 39th birthday weekend.
I’ve long dreaded turning 39. I think I was telling myself I was dreading turning 40, but that was a lie. I’m not afraid of 40 – I’m excited for it, actually. It’s a badge I’m anxious to earn. But I’ve been scared shitless of 39.
My father died when he was 39, you see. He did not have what most people would consider a “good death”. He was a young man with a wife and two small children – barely in his thirties – when he was given a devastating diagnosis. He and his mother were both diagnosed at nearly the exact same time, with the exact same cancer; they were each given just months to live. In hindsight, it’s very clear that both of their deaths could have been easily avoided by not subjecting them to radioactive, carcinogenic procedures to treat their (hereditary) thyroid conditions. But in the early 80s oncology was a fledgling field, ya know…