The Important Things Stay With Us
A few nights ago, I read an article about the rate at which the body turns over its cells. I was trying to figure out how long it takes to become a completely regenerated version of yourself. No surprise, the answer does not button up into one neat round number. The different cells in our blood last anywhere from 3 to 120 days. Fat and bone cells can last up to 8 to 25 years, respectively. The heart that beats in your chest? Those cells have been going at it for 50 years. And there are even specific cells that never turn over – in your brain, your central nervous system, your eyes. They are with you for a lifetime and, in some cases, can live on beyond your death.
I find it all very romantic. To think that my heart is the very same heart that carried me through childhood, the birth of my kid, through relationships and friendships. Knowing it is now opening up to a new universe of possibilities … well, it makes a girl’s heart skip a beat. I have great affection for this heart, even though it has a mind of its own from time to time.
We all know so little about the world, and the more I learn about how things work, the more I come to the conclusion that it all feels a little bit like luck and magic that we’re even here at all. Sometimes I yearn not to think about any of this, but the brain I’ve been issued doesn’t like to stay idle. There is a will and a wonder in there that keeps pushing me. It’s exhausting, but the drive has always been there.
These past four months have been incredible, but the value I am getting from the time off is waning. More downtime will probably have diminishing returns from here on out. It’s time to get on with it. Perhaps this is all a facet of middle age. I’m at the top of the hill and can pretty much see all the options in front of me. I just need to start making choices. Take the well-paved highway, meander through the side streets or take a left under the cover of the forest – ultimately, it all leads to the same place … our demise. The only real decision is the route we take, and even then, we leave so much of it to fate. But this is living. The important things stay with us for a lifetime; everything else is fleeting.
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