Friday, January 21, 2011
This year it rolled over to 52. I have no idea how it did that. Today my sister rang me for my birthday and asked, absent mindedly (she is older than me…), “So, how old are you now, 31?” I answered truthfully, then added: “But 31 works better for me.” And, it does.
This is nothing new: I’ve always had a disconnect between the age I am and the age I feel inside, moving from one direction to the other. When I was in high school, I felt much older and it frustrated me that adults treated me like just another teenager. Sometime not long after university, my real age caught up with my perceived age—but it kept on going and my perceived age didn’t.
I don’t know what age I now “feel”, apart from younger than I actually am. That could be a simple, “Wait, what? I can’t possibly be that old! Last thing I remember, I was celebrating my 30th!” And there’s truth in that.
But there’s also truth in my knees that are somewhat less reliable than at chronological 30, or my stamina, never great, that seems a shadow of what it was at 25. Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who IS that old guy staring back at me? Some hair dye usually fixes that.
I became a “bottle baby” (old gay slang for a gay man who dyes his hair), originally, so I could better compete with the younger people in my industry and now I do it simply so my outside is a better match with my inside. I see no reason why I should look older than I feel when something so simple can help fix that. There will come a point, I know, when it’ll be more than faintly ridiculous to continue to present how old I feel rather than how old I am, but that day is not today.
I’m actually, in a weird way, looking forward to being to being the kindly and wise old guy who offers support and encouragement and continues to revel in the new. I’d love to be the nonagenarian so enraptured with new technology that the news puts him on as an item of curiosity. But that, too—fortunately—is not today.
Right now, I’m just 52, an age of no particular importance. Inside, well, I feel much younger. One day, the two will probably merge again. That’ll be when you can watch for me on the evening news as the old guy using and loving the latest cool technology. But you’ll have to wait some four decades for that. I’m fine with that.
For the record, I had a nice birthday: I relaxed during the day and then Nigel took me out for dinner. It was a very good day.