When I Was Asked What It's Like to Live My Life on a Clock


I will begin by saying there is no real knowledge of how long I will live, which in some ways is one of the so-called normal things about me. To the boy who asked me this question, I thank you. But I also feel sorry for you.

You see, I have lived with an unseen condition my entire life — a condition that affects my heart. To put it simply, I am lucky to be here. In my 20 years on this earth, my life has been filled with many questions, but the most asked question of my life (aside from have I taken my medicine; yes, Mum!), is am I OK?

Medically speaking, no. I will never be as healthy as someone without my condition. But for someone with my condition, I am wonderful. I am writing this upon my return from spending three months abroad by myself. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever say that. It was there that I was asked this question. And it was there that I realized that without my condition, I may not be so wonderful.

There are many things I cannot do. I cannot get a tattoo or a piercing, I cannot drink alcohol or cranberry juice and I definitely cannot do athletics (I learned that the hard way). But there is one thing I can do, and that is live my life to the fullest.

Every single one of us lives our lives on a clock, it’s just that some of us are lucky enough to realize it sooner than others.

Getty image by Atosan.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Tricuspid Atresia

woman looking in compact mirror before putting on makeup

I Wear Makeup to Feel Healthy, Not Pretty

It sounds ridiculous, and as a 30-year-old, I actually feel ridiculous writing about this, but I just have to. I have to because it’s more than just about makeup. It goes deeper — deeper to a different kind of level and a different kind of difficulty that’s associated with people who live with invisible illnesses.  All illnesses [...]
Woman having a pain in the heart area

When a Woman Questioned My Choice to Have Kids Despite My Shorter Life Expectancy

Over the summer I went to my first writers workshop. While talking to a fellow writer, a woman around my same age, an author who wrote children’s books, we got to chatting and asking each other the typical get-to-know-you questions. But when you’re at a writing conference it usually starts with, “So what do you [...]
Cover images of three women

Christina 'Mouse' Jennings Wants to Inspire Young Girls With Chest Scars

Christina ‘Mouse’ Jennings has no problem showing her scars if that means it will help others. Jennings was born with a rare congenital heart disease known as tricuspid atresia. Since then, the 30-year-old has had four open heart surgeries, the last of which left her with a pacemaker protruding out from her abdomen. “My biggest [...]
couple holding hands in soft pastel tone

What My Husband Says When I Ask 'Do You Think I'm Dying?'

Christina. Something amazing and scary happened four years ago. I faced death and I kicked its butt. Actually I’ve been kicking life’s butt ever since I was a baby, when I was born with a rare congenital heart disease known as tricuspid atresia. But, the butt-kicking four years ago is my favorite. I’ve had a ton [...]