When I was a child, I remember sitting in the car, and it was the time around the new millennium, that magical year of 2000, the year that people speculated about and argued over and wondered what would cause the end of the world. I didn’t know, at my young age, what exactly was happening. But I knew that this year meant change. As I sat in the backseat, a thought suddenly popped into my head.
“Mom, how old will I be in the year 3000?” I asked. Pausing, Mom added in her head and then answered with my age plus the additional 3,000 years.
“But,” I struggled, “I won’t still be alive by then, will I?” Well, not exactly: alive in spirit, alive in heaven, or twinkled, becoming perfected and full of glory. I thought over that, and that night was when I really realized my mortality, although I probably didn’t completely comprehend what that meant.
When I was even younger, I wanted to be everything: a teacher, a dance instructor, a gardener, a chef, an art teacher. My future home was designed to be four stories high (each story a different arena of specialized knowledge). There would be a perfect backyard and a little side house so Mom and Dad could live nearby, as well as a white gate that would connect to the house next door where my brother would live so our children could grow up friends. I decided to create my own utopia. But during the millennium, after that night in the backseat of the car, my idealizations fell, like a desolate sun sinking from the sky.
I’ve had depression for years now, although I couldn’t pin-point a date of when it precisely begun. And for a long time, I felt like my future was small, day-by-day decisions. My biggest goals were doing well in high school, getting into college, finding some job. For me, the future just meant that I’d work for fifty or sixty years until I’d die.
The word posterus is Latin, meaning following, next, or future. And that word sounds pretty close to the word preposterous to me. A preposterous posterus seemed to be destiny—my destiny. I have health problems. Learning had always been a struggle, and making friends and socializing was difficult.
The guessing game has never appealed to me. I’ll probably continue to have health problems—that’s not going away any time soon. My time will be more limited at certain times due to stresses, and money will sometimes be tight. Sometimes I’ll be alone; sometimes I’ll have support. I’ll lose loved ones, and eventually my body will also be laid to rest in its crumbling grave.
However, by the end of high school and through my college years, I found passions. Through my love of language and lyrics, history and harmonies, travel and turning pages, I finally realized that although I really love literature, I truly love learning.
What will I do with my life? What will I accomplish? I will experience life, not just endure it, by turning my preposterous posterus into a prosperous posterus.