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Starting Over At 30


TetRefine

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I joined GA over twelve years ago when I was just 17 and still in high school. If I think back to that rock bottom point in my life, I would never have imagined then that I'd come to enjoy life as much as I do now. I honestly never thought I'd make it to now, on the brink of turning 30. The last time I wrote a blog entry on here was in August of 2019, a time in my life that was so immensely exciting and filled with never-ending hope for the future. I had met and fell deeply in love with a boy, had moved to New York to be together, and had spent that summer traveling, partying, meeting new friends, and finally achieving my life-long goal of living in the greatest city on Earth. I felt invincible, and for a kid who spent his teenage years in deep depression never thinking he'd become anything, it was as though the world had finally made right what it had wronged me for. It was a natural high on life stronger than any drug. While the high eventually tamed to the hum-drum of everyday life, I was finally a happy person. I finally felt like I could have a real long-term vision for where I wanted to go in life: a career and money, great friends, a nice apartment in a desirable neighborhood, asking the guy I loved to marry me. I had achieved all but the last, yet was planning on putting that part into motion. Then I found out, basically by chance, and all of that disappeared in an instant. I woke up that day thinking life was as good as ever, and by the end of what turned into a very late-6am the next day thing, it was gone forever. 

Now the weather turns cold, the days get shorter, and I stand on the brink of my 30th birthday, feeling like I have no idea where to go. I always felt terrified about turning 30, as I always heard gay men joke about how it's the age you "die a gay death". Too old to party, too old to get young hot things to sleep with you, when they finally put you out to pasture. For whatever reason, I really internalized that attitude in my early and mid 20s, and only finally began to shake it off the last year or so. I felt at peace, as I realized most of that was bullshit anyway and that I had so much else going for me that turning 30 wasn't going to change that. But now that so much of that security is gone without warning, I'm terrified again. I have to completely reconfigure my life in a way I haven't had to do in a long time.

My single friend in his 30s told me that your thirties being single is just as fun as it is in your twenties, yet you have a lot more money and life wisdom to enjoy it with. I think there's a lot of truth to that. While I feel crushed, a part of me also feels liberated as well. I really did enjoy those couple of really wild years in my 20s where it was just me doing whatever felt good in the moment. I had a sense of freedom then that naturally goes away as you settle down more. One of the reasons I think I feared turning 30 was because it represented being just that much more removed from that time where I felt liberated and free to live my life how I wanted for the first time ever. Even through the sadness, I've really noticed how that bliss of pure freedom has returned. I'm free to make completely selfish decisions and indulge again because now, it's me and only me. I live in the city that never sleeps, have a solid job, a great group of friends, and haven't lost my looks quite yet. I can do whatever I want, and I have been. 

The more I think about it, the more I realize how my friend is right: this new chapter is just going to be an enhanced version of the previous. I've learned in the intervening years how to enjoy that untethered freedom while avoiding a lot of the dumb mistakes I made the first time around. So much physical, emotional, and sexual freedom awaits, and I feel well positioned to really enjoy it. It's not what I asked for, but it's what I got. 

 

Edited by TetRefine

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The 20s are for being young and dumb. 30s are for being wiser and enjoying life on your own terms. This is the start of my 40s decade, and I find my kids are entering late teens (Can you believe my oldest graduates high school in June and my youngest gets his driver's license in July?!). I was faced with deciding what to do with the rest of my life and changing mid-stream where I thought I might go, or maybe finding the path to where I wanted to go is a better way to phrase it. I'm doing that, as hard as it is, because I wanted to do something for me. I think, in many ways, we hit on these decade years as times of introspection and moments of change, when in reality, we can make life what we want it to be any day.

So, my final thoughts a decade ahead of you is just don't let anyone else's opinions dictate what you can and can't do or what makes you happy. It feels like such a short time, but that's a lot of years we've chatted through all these years you've been a part of GA, from those crazy teen years to now. I popped onto your profile the other day and saw you had just been here, and I was happy to see this blog post updating everyone on where you are now in life. Be you, be happy, and just don't tell anyone but the bouncer and bartender your real birthdate. ;) 

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