This might end up being quite morbid, apologies!
Most people reading this will know that I turned 27 on Wednesday! Considering that when I was diagnosed I was fairly sure I wouldn’t make it to the end of 2017, getting to my birthday feels like quite an achievement (next stop, making it to 2019). Many people will also be aware of the so-called ‘27 Club’ – a group of (mostly) musicians, artists and actors who died at the age of 27. Apparently a statistical link between being 27 and being more likely to die has been disproven, but nevertheless, the idea carries a popular cultural value.
The list includes Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, with more recent additions being Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. Richey Edwards, of the Manic Street Preachers, was 27 when he went missing, presumed dead, and Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the recent Star Trek films (and was one of my personal favourites in them) was run over by his car at the age of 27. It’s a very impressive calibre of star (albeit this list is very male)! Some of my personal favourites narrowly missed out on the 27 club; Nick Drake was 26 when he died on the 25th November 1974 (so nearly 44 years ago now!) and Sandy Denny was 31.
I hope I’m one of the lucky ones – I have no particular ambition to join the 27 Club, and given the choice between it and a long life full of the things I want to do, I’d choose the latter everytime! I think that there’s often an element of romance around those who die young – questions about what they might have done had they lived permeate (in my case, almost certainly nothing as good as anything produced by the people mentioned above!). There seems to be a link to Remembrance Sunday (yesterday, the 11th November) here, albeit in a very different context. When someone much older dies, people sometimes say that they ‘had good innings’ and when someone young does, people talk of wasted potential or the things they didn’t get a chance to do.
I’m not quite sure how to finish this post – I feel it calls for some inspiring insight, but I don’t think I have one. So far, being 27 (albeit for less than a week) has been good, if not entirely devoid of the ‘aaaargh, I’m in my late twenties’ fear. I’ve seen the Cursed Child in London and we’ve played numerous games of Trivial Pursuit, so it’s hard to imagine a better birthday week under my circumstances. I can probably no longer pretend it’s my birthday celebrations though!
So we’ll just finish with a hope – bring on 2019, and bring on turning 28.