Monday, March 02, 2009

On the verge of a new decade...

In about a month, I'll be transitioning from one decade to another. This has been weighing heavily on my mind and thoughts, probably moreso than it should. I keep telling myself this age milestone is "just a number" and doesn't mean anything and that I'm still the same person I was prior to reaching "this number", except a day older. I don't feel old and don't think that I act old, and I don't want to be old. But, I can't help but feel that my "good years" are behind me and this is it...

We went and saw "Benjamin Buttons" as a family and that didn't help. I found myself contemplating how many times I have dreamed of aging backward, at least back into my prime! How many times have I fantasized about being younger, stronger, fitter, better looking, more attractive? To see Benjamin turn into "Brad Pitt" perfection was about all I needed to put me certifiably over the edge.

So why is this such a big deal? How come I can't accept this inevitability with open arms? Why do I feel the need to be dragged into the next decade kicking and screaming? Could it be that I have led a life half-lived? Could it be that my closeted and late-coming-out-ness has filled me up with nothing but regrets and time wasted? Or am I just an old geezer deep in a midlife crisis and should get over it and look forward to a bright future of old age?

In this blogging community the majority are much younger and are making their choices that I should have faced and made decades ago. They have their whole futures ahead with lives full of confidence and authenticity behind them. What can I learn from them? They are already so much further down life's journey than I am. Is there really anything more that I can say to contribute to this community? Particularly from someone soooo old, but void of wisdom?

This is so shallow and frivolous a post...

P.S. My wife knows that I don't want to be around on my birthday and that I DO NOT want a birthday party of any kind this year. She knows that my family (my sisters in particular) are driving me crazy and teasing about this change in decade. So, she's promised to take me away on a secret junket far away from here - I don't know where, but just knowing she's scheming something up means a lot.


Abelard Enigma said...

As one who crossed that threshold a couple of years ago - I can certainly relate with how you are feeling. The harsh reality is that we have more years behind us than ahead of us. And, to add more salt to the wound, you'll probably start to receive mailings from AARP :)

You are grieving for your lost youth. But, you and I are from a different era. In our day, we would have likely been excommunicated for simply acknowledging that we are gay - never mind that we've never acted on it. Your family may have even been threatened with church discipline if they did anything that suggested acceptance of a gay son. Not to mention some of the things they may have tried to 'cure' you.

I'm not trying to suggest that gays have it easier today - as increased societal acceptance has brought about new problems. I'm only saying that it was different back then - and our choices were far more limited. The choice you would likely make if you were young today probably didn't even exist as a choice back then.

So, from one old fart to another - the only thing we can do is try to make the best with the hand we've been dealt.

Kengo Biddles said...

FWIW, I'll be 29 again this year, so you can be 29, too.

And I have to say that Abelard's hit it right on the head.

--and holy racy picture, batman!

much love from this quarter!

Bravone said...

Beck, I am sooo glad that I so much younger. :) Don't worry about it. It's just another day. (remind me about that in a couple years okay) Yes, many bloggers are younger and have things figured out sooner than we did, but we are so blessed with wonderful wives and families and life experiences. I wouldn't go back.

Mille grazie per l'more che mi dai anche quando sono stupido.

Beck said...

ABE: It's nice to know that there is someone older and wiser, who knows where he's going and is blazing the way for me. :)

Yes, I agree that we need to "make the best with the hand we've been dealt", but still give me some space to moan and groan about my "lost youth" and lost opportunities and lost life-filling experiences that I can never go back to no matter how much I dream or fantasize about it.

KENGO: I think that I don't look as old as I really am (maybe that's wishful thinking), and I certainly don't act "that old", but it would be a push for anyone to believe that I was 29! Ha!@#!

As for "racy picture", I didn't mean to push you over the edge - just an illustration of what once may have been but never will be with my current muscle-mass and metabolism, no matter how hard I work out...

Thanks for your love, my 29-year old friend!

Beck said...

BRAVONE: Yes, thanks for the reminder of HOW MUCH younger you are than I am. Thanks a lot! :(

"...many bloggers are younger and have things figured out sooner than we did, but we are so blessed with wonderful wives and families and life experiences. I wouldn't go back."

I see and know this and feel it deep down, and no, I wouldn't go back to take away all of these blessed experiences of wife and kids and life. I just wonder about the "what ifs" and knowing that as I get older (magnified by certain birthdays) it just confirms how firm and absolute those "what ifs" will never be realized, experienced, understood, imagined.

I would love to have all the experiences that I do have, but still have the youth, and the associate options of youth, to go with it.

*sigh* this is just a rant and emo session of another "old fart" as Abe calls me. Oh well, I need to slap myself and get on with living life and acting young and looking young but being wise and sage and intelligent in my choices as I go forward boldly and bravely into senility!

Ti penso spesso pregando che troverai un giorno la forza dentro di te per rimanere l'uomo di cui vuoi essere.

Abelard Enigma said...

It's nice to know that there is someone older and wiser, who knows where he's going

If you're waiting for me to blaze the trail - then you are in a heap of trouble.

I'm probably more lost and less sure about where I'm going than you are

Scott said...

A "young" personality is much more valuable than a young body--and I don't think your personality is much (if any) older than mine is. :)

... but if physical appearance is important to you ...

I don't think there's anything wrong with haircolor to cover grey, if it's done right (assuming you have any).

And the right hairstyle can shave several years off, appearance-wise (even without color--grey can look young too).

And it's never too late to start using skincare products (us gay guys are all about the product, aren't we?). Wash + exfoliate + moisturize can give you a youthful "glow".

You're already working on the physique and the couture, right?

Go ahead and have a mid-life crisis and roll the clock back a few years, physically, if it helps you feel better about yourself. As long as you keep in mind that it's what's inside that matters most, I don't think there's anything wrong with a little vanity. :)

As for: Is there really anything more that I can say to contribute to this community?

The answer is a resounding yes! I can't point to any one specific thing that you did or said or wrote, but I do believe that your blog (and the one-on-one email conversations and our one in-person meeting) had a lot to do with me getting to where I am right now. There's nobody quite like Beck, and your passion and enthusiasm for life and love can have a tremendous influence for good. Keep it up! :)

Beck said...

ABE: I think I know where I'm going (though my actions don't always show it) and I think I have a feel for where you are going. Keep keepin' on, because I'm right behind you...

SCOTT said: "A "young" personality is much more valuable than a young body." Yeah, that's easy to say to someone who's over-the-hill. I mean, what else are you supposed to say to someone like me? :) Seriously, I appreciate it and I know that is more important than other concerns of getting older.

As for appearance, I'm working on it and a little vanity does help the esteem, and a little correctly placed hair dye and hairstyle can help the allusion, but ultimately, the reality that life has slipped by and those opportunities of another path, and authenticity at a younger age are forever gone, and there is a certain remorse and longing that comes with that realization.

No, I don't feel old, don't act old (in fact at times I act quite juvenile)and I try not to look old, but that omimous age is still looking back at me! Aren't I entitled to a little funk?

"As long as you keep in mind that it's what's inside that matters most..." I appreciate that and need that reminder, though it's easy for you younglings to say it. :(

"There's nobody quite like Beck, and your passion and enthusiasm for life and love can have a tremendous influence for good..."

Thanks, Scott. I needed to read these words today. This has touched me. They mean a lot to this "old fart".

Sometimes I wonder what I can offer anymore as the "community" gets younger and seems so aware of themselves and where they are going and what they are doing, and I'm still lost on my own trail (well, maybe Abe is lost out there on his trail, too).

Thanks for your kind and heartfelt comments.

Ned said...

My dear brother Beck,

Do you remember how you felt big in sixth grade, then small again in seventh, and experienced as a high school senior and then green again as a college freshman.

It's the same deal when you turn 50. You're at the young edge of the second half of your life! Also if you look at it as half-time, think about how second halfs are so much more interesting than first halfs.

Remember, I'm not telling you this as some young guy in his twenties or thirties. I'm testifying as young senior who will be 60 in just five short years. For me, my fifties have been way better than my thirties and on a par or slightly better than my forties. I agree with Scott about the advantages of being young at heart.

Thanks for blogging today, Beck. I was concerned that we hadn't heard from you in a while. I also agree with Scott that your voice is welcome and needed here.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Beck, it's so easy to look back and yearn for what was. It's easy to look at others and look longingly at what appears to be greener grass. But what was is gone. All you can do is keep marching forward. The future hasn't happened and the past is in the past. All you have control over is the present. Learn to be happy in the "now."

Beck said...

NED: Thanks for your perspective. I like the "second half" being better than the first. That's true as you push to the finish. I like that!

It's just that right now, this month, it is easier to look back and reflect on what was, and to feel the angst of lost opportunities and lost youth, and lost relationships and lost integrity.

As for blogging, I'm approaching my 3rd year anniversary and I don't know what I still have to say that I haven't said. This blog is still what happens along the way, as I come to terms with who I am, but in many ways, I've come to terms with it. A lot of the angst is gone and right now things are pretty calm - I'm still hiding things from my wife, I'm still sorting through "what I want", and I'm still blazing my unique path - just don't know how relevant such things are for everyone else to read. But, I'm still here. Thanks for reading and encouraging me on.

CODY: I am trying to learn to live in the "now". This post does not reflect that I'm living in the past (though a lot of my thoughts do dwell on the "what ifs", particularly with the what ifs of my coming out twenty or thirty years earlier), as it reflects a pensive mourning for the past as I cross a key threshold.

I am moving on. I am excited for the future. I no longer hate myself. I am confident in my love(s) and my desire to have complex relationships while married. I look forward to adventures and freedom and rewards of children entering adulthood, etc. There is much to look forward to... But, youth isn't one of them, and I regret that I've lost my youth and not lived the past to the fullest.

Living in the closet, and hiding from myself, and hating myself for so many years is a deep regret. Yes, it's water under the bridge, but I can't help but watch it flow downstream longingly.

Sean said...

where the heck did you get that picture of me in my undies?

oh and it is good to go away on secret junkets.... especially with two people. that way one can watch the luggages while the other tries to communicate with the natives.


and if it is any condolances i started getting my AARP membership when i was 27. no kidding!

aka: loyalist

Beck said...


1) How in the world did I end up with a photo of you in my files? Hmmm... Sorry about that. Hope you don't mind.

2) Big high-five for the reference to "Enchanted April". I hope there will be orliander planting going on wherever we go. But knowing my luck, she'll be planning on us checking out "senior communities" or "rest homes".

3) Yes, I've been invited to join AARP. I guess one joins to get the "senior discounts" like Earl says in Pickles.

Good to see you still kickin' around my friend...

Anonymous said...

i don't remember 20, 30 was okay. 40 was hard. 50 was okay i think because there were a lot of powerful 50 year olds around (i turned 50 when clinton was prez). but 60 a few months ago was very hard. i find myself reading obits, adjusting back long-term professional plans, a lot of self-pity. i think i'm now shaking off some of that, but it has been a profound milestone