Facing the Facts

Facing the Facts

-Judith Viorst

I'm facing the fact that
I'll never write Dante's Inferno
Or paint a Picasso
Or transplant a kidney
Or build an empire,
Nor will I ever run Israel or Harvard,
Appear on the cover of Time,
Star on Broadway,
Be killed by a firing squad for some noble ideal,
Find the answer
To racial injustice or whether God's dead
Or the source
Of human unhappiness
Alter the theories of Drs.
S. Freud, C.G Jung, or A. Einstein
Or maybe the course
Of history.
In addition to which
I am facing the fact that
I'll never compose Bach cantatas,
Design Saint Laurents,
Advise presidents, head U.S. Steel,
Resolve the Mideast,
Be the hostess of some major talk show,
Or cure the cold.
And although future years may reveal
Some hidden potential,
Some truly magnificent act that
I've yet to perform,
Or some glorious song to be sung
For which I'll win prizes and praise,
I must still face the fact that
They'll never be able to say,
"And she did it so young".

from How Did I Get To Be Forty and Other Atrocities by Judith Viorst

This poem stayed with me long after I read it. Of course I know that God isn't dead, but sometimes I wonder about hidden potential and magnificent acts.... not just for me, but for many. Since people in my generation are going to live to at least 100... we are just beginning our adulthood! There is much to do and so much time.


  1. Thank you for posting this poem. I'd never read it before, but I love it.

    And I was happy to discover that I might still have the opportunity to do at least one of the things on that list. It was nice to feel that spark of hope.

  2. aw, who the hell would wanna run Harvard or Israel? I'd much rather have a long lunch with my girlfriends. xoxoxo

  3. I love that poem, too! Thanks for reminding me of it...

  4. Loved it! This poem always hits me with that huge dose of reality... the dreams I had which are best set aside; the dreams I have which are still within reach! The two M.E. images are two of my favorites. Your blog always lifts my spirits.

  5. I am glad all of you loved it. I am with JBelle... long lunch sounds much better than running a country! Nita Jo...I am glad to find another M.E. fan.


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