2019?! Now Even I’m Impressed With Myself

Okay, I know that must read kinda strange as it probably seems like no one could be more impressed with me than I am. A nice lady once told me that I have the confidence of a mediocre white man, a description that made me laugh like a drain. But I digress.

2019 is a year that sounds impossibly futuristic to me. Did anyone ever conceive of a non-post-apocalyptic 2019 without flying cars or vacations on the Moon or a colony on Mars or a cure for every disease/condition/affliction except the common cold?

As I have said many times before, here and elsewhere, I never felt like someone with terminal cancer, never felt as if I were dying even when I was undergoing chemo. I’m fortunate in that—so far—I have never been in pain, never felt like I couldn’t go on, never had to stop doing anything I wanted to do, especially writing. I never felt as if I were sinking or declining.

And yet, to my great surprise, I have discovered that I actually never thought past the end of 2018.

Now, that’s really odd because my original expiration date was sometime in 2016. When it became plain at the end of 2015 that I was obviously going to live longer than expected, I realised that I had torn all the rest of the pages out of the calendar, so to speak. I had mentally written off anything past the end of 2016 and I had to consciously acknowledge that I was going to be affected by things I had thought wouldn’t be my concern/problem/responsibility. Among other things, I was going to have to deal with the twin madnesses of Brexit and President Trump and, unless some bitch drops a house on me to steal my shoes, Cross-Rail will be completed in my lifetime.

(I should have known better—scroll me if you’ve heard this one: Over half a century ago, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I asked my mother as she was putting me to bed one night if she thought the US and Russia would end up bombing us all back to the Stone Age. “Fuggedaboudit, putschka,” she said. “Nothing’s ever going to happen that will get us out of having to go to work and school tomorrow.” She was right back then and she has yet to be wrong.)

But…2019. Holy guacamole.

It wasn’t that I didn’t make any plans. I’ll be at the world science fiction convention in Dublin. The weekend after that, Peadar Ó Guilín and I are co-Toastmutants at EuroCon 2019 in Belfast. With any luck, I’ll get back to KU in June. Amanda and I have been talking about visiting Iceland (the country, not the supermarket). But 2019 seemed abstract, or like wishful thinking about some time far in the future—except it isn’t. Now it’s 1 January 2019, and I feel no less alive and immortal than I ever did. No, I didn’t imagine feeling any different, but I didn’t imagine feeling, period.

I do have a few things to get through. I stop buying green bananas on 14 February, before my appointment with my oncologist at the end of the month. If that goes okay, there’ll be two more of them. I’m optimistic but I still have cancer—recurrent uterine cancer doesn’t go into remission. I can’t take anything for granted. I’m doing great but I can’t make plans too far in advance, especially if there’s a non-refundable deposit involved. I swear, that’s not a whinge. It’s just that when someone asks me if I want to join them in traveling around whatever part of the world is hosting the world sf convention beforehand, or stay to visit friends afterwards, I can’t commit before the fares go up, or the non-refundable deposit is due.

Maybe that’s what happened. I was so busy figuring things out in sixteen-week instalments, the time got away from me and before I knew it, it was 2019.

2019. Damn.

Kick out the jams! Happy New Year, everybody!