February 6, 2012

On Growing Older

Back when I was writing a blog called Every Man A Giant, one of my first essays was called "Dharma Bummer." I was into writing pieces of 100 words or less back then, so here it is in its entirety:
To prevent fraying in a rope, the ends are often wrapped around with cording. To prevent fraying in DNA, the strands are capped with long sequences of non-functioning DNA called telomeres.

Eventually any rope frays, and so does DNA. Each replication shortens the telomeres until the cell can no longer replicate itself. This is what keeps cells from turning cancerous before we can have kids. It also keeps us from living forever.

God moves in mysterious ways.
I am the emergent property—the sum total and more—of billions of cells replicating and repairing themselves countless times a day. With each transaction, there is a little less of me: a molecule here, a cell there ... lost in the shuffle. Along with my telomeres, I am fraying around the edges. I feel the cumulative impact of all those individual events registering on the organism as a whole.

Like Frost's traveler on a snowy night, I too have miles to go, I hope, before I sleep. I am reconciled to the things that will be inevitably left undone, but I am trying my best to finish strong. I can live with that.

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