I never thought I would live this long.  Pretty simple.  Until I turned forty, I never envisioned a life after forty.  I still find it difficult to picture a future of any kind for myself.  I worry about the future for those I care about, fret about the impact their mistakes have on their future.  But my future is rarely part of the vision.

When I was about fourteen I visited a fortune-teller at a local carnival with a group of friends.  I didn’t want to spend any money on something like that, not having expendable funds like my friends had, and only gave in after the peer pressure became more than I wanted to bear. I wanted to be liked afterall.  The rest of the group received glowing fortunes involving tall, dark, handsome men, with love and riches in their futures.  I went last, hoping that interest would be lost before my money was spent, and we could move on.  But, as luck would have it, I wasn’t going to be able to talk or wait my way out of this situation and my palm was read.  The gypsy/witch/whatever she was supposed to be passed her hand and fingertips over my palm and told me to enjoy life while I had the time, as time was short.  What?  I remember thinking. What? They all get tall, dark and handsome, and I get ‘live while you can’?  The group of friends I was with all laughed and the game was over.  I was miffed my money was gone for that but happy to be part of the experience, part of the group.  And we moved on to the next ride.  Did I believe my fortune that day, let it stink in a bit, and not see a future for myself?  No, I didn’t.  I knew it was small time carnival non sense and it had no impact at all.  No one at that age pictures themselves ‘old’.  We all know that at fourteen, twenty is old.

As the years passed and the topic of the future would ripple through conversations, I began to realize, I was never in any vision of the future.  I can easily see my husband, my children, and others, but not myself.  I became more and more interested in the past and the mark one leaves on those around them.  (This is still something that interests me.)

I sometimes wonder if I have lived my life differently than I would have if I could picture myself older, living into my very senior years.  I wonder if I would have embarked on my ‘double’ life if I thought I had a happy senior life awaiting me. Or has my inability impacted anything at all?