It’s 9:30 in the evening, and it’s quite possible I won’t have to “backdate” today’s blog. I’m writing earlier than normal because I have morning appointments the next two days, and I’m tired of depending on coffee to put one foot in front of the other. Okay, that’s forty-five words in three minutes. Things are looking good. That being said, my home internet connection has been slow this weekend, and it’s been making my armpits sweat. So whereas things are looking good, they’re not exactly smelling good. But really, I’m the only who’s bothered by this. As my dad said yesterday, “It could be worse. Someone could have their nose in there.”
I should be so lucky.
This afternoon I went to the library, answered emails, and paid bills–something that lately always makes my blood pressure go up. My first thought was, Shit. I’m screwed. But then when it was over, I thought, Okay, that wasn’t so bad. I’ll live to see another day. Afterwards I went for a walk around the park, and it was nice, but nothing spectacular happened. I mean, no one put a ring on my finger. Then I went for a smoothie, and while I was waiting in the drive-thru, I noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of me that said, “Are you THIS CLOSE to Jesus?” Currently I’m trying to decide if it was funny, passive aggressive, or both.
I’m thinking probably both.
When I got home tonight, Mom was reading last night’s blog to Dad, out loud, so I pretended to be doing other things, but I was actually listening to her read, glued to every word. This is still a weird phenomenon for me, the idea that other people–my parents even–read what I write. Of course, I love it, I just haven’t quite wrapped my head around it. I’m not sure I’m supposed to. Before I left for the library earlier, I got a birthday gift–a lovely book–in the mail from my friend Amber. The note inside said, “This reminded me of one of your blogs.” Again, people read this stuff. Wow.
So this week I turn thirty-seven, as in “years old.” This is another fact I can’t quite wrap my head around. I’m not sure I want to. People say that age is just a number, but I think that’s kind of like saying, “McDonald’s is just a burger joint,” or, “John Stamos is just another pretty face.” I mean, there’s a certain amount of bullshit in all those statements–you know it, and I know it. Maybe every society doesn’t do it, but this society praises youth and beauty. Seriously, I watched a video today about guys who have started getting Botox injected into their scrotums to make their nuts “more aesthetic.” I’m not kidding, they call it “Scrotox.” So let’s not pretend we live in a culture where growing old and having wrinkles–anywhere–is something we get excited about.
Honestly, for the longest time, getting older hasn’t been a problem for me. I mean, I still feel young, have tons of energy, and enjoy pretty good health. Granted, my metabolism occasionally goes out for a smoke break, but we all have our challenges. That being said, maybe because I still use words like, “totes,” “adorbs,” and “fo sheezy,” my sister says I’m the teeniest-booper thirty-something-year-old she knows, which I take as an “on the serious” compliment. But despite my youthful frame of mind, forty is getting closer and closer, and there’s something about that number. In the gay culture, it’s pretty close to death. This, I think, is a mentality we could improve on.
You can’t change your age, but you can change what your age means to you.
Several of my older friends say there’s a point when you become invisible, when other people stop noticing you. I’ve never said this to them, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. Ultimately, I think we all have to get our validation from inside, not outside, ourselves. Clearly, we’re all headed to one place. You can put Botox in your forehead or your nut sack all you want–that’s fine–but it doesn’t change the fact that all of us have a one-way ticket out of here. One of my friends, who’s well-passed retirement age but works harder than any twenty-year-old I know, says she dyes her hair not to impress others, but to avoid the constant reminder that she’s “old” or “incapable,” at least by society’s standards. This, I think, is the key. You can’t change you age, but you can change what your age means to you.
In my case, I’m choosing to look at thirty-seven as the year I was reborn, the year I started over. Earlier tonight, as part of a creativity exercise, I wrote myself a letter. I won’t get it for a couple of days, but one of the things I told myself was, “Your past is only a springboard, a jockey (small warm-up) before the real dancing starts.” If this is anywhere close to the truth, if I’m not just blowing smoke up my own ass, I have a lot to look forward to.
Look out, forty, here I come.
Some of you might not believe this, but I’ve taken more selfies since starting this blog than I ever have before. Part of me likes it and part of me hates it, but since I try to have a picture with each blog and my stuffed animals are camera-shy, it is what it is. Anyway, tonight when I took a picture in my room, I noticed that all the walls are green. I mean, I’ve noticed before–I’m not blind–but I’ve never thought of the room as “the green room.” But tonight I did think of it as “the green room,” which–I’m sure you know–is the theater term for a star’s dressing room. Better said, it’s the place you wait before you go on stage.
Sure, I don’t know that I’ll end up on stage or be “a star.” But I like thinking of this time in my life as a waiting period, a sort of rest before the curtains open to whatever’s coming next. When my dad talks about getting older, he always says, “It beats the alternative,” and I’m going to have to agree. Even if it means a few more wrinkles, I’m willing to stick around and look forward to all the coming attractions, things like starting all over, living to see another day, and maybe–just maybe–having someone’s nose in my armpits.
Quotes from CoCo (Marcus)
"We can hang on and put everything safely in its place, and then at some point, we’re forced to let go."