As you can see I gave the website a makeover. My author’s bio still claimed I was 34, so it was long overdue. I gave the books centre stage too, instead of the blog. It makes sense: I write more books than blogs these day (in sheer word volume anyway). They deserve the spotlight.
I’ll write an update on the books soon, but this morning (it’s 7:34 am as I’m writing this) I’ve got other things on my mind. One of the big themes in my thoughts these days is growing old. My birthday was last december, when I entered my 37th years (I count my age using the current year, like the Chinese, not the past one; somehow I find it more hopeful). I’ve got a friend’s birthday coming up, too. I met her when I went back to college. She was 6 years younger than me, and she’s in her thirties now. Another batch of my friends from my hometown are having babies. And the other day I was able to interact verbally with another friend’s offspring. Gods, I’m old. Add to that the sore muscles in my back (from a workout, but still) I feel positively ancient.
I know 36-37 is still quite young. I don’t look too shabby for my age. In fact I look better than I ever did, thanks to daily training, and certainly younger than most men my age. But this is not about simple life expectancy. What good is living to be 100 if I can’t be myself? Because that’s the big problem, isn’t it? I’m not going on 37 in my head. I’m still 20-something. Sure, I’ve got more experience than that idiot 20-something I used to be, but even so, I feel 20. Obviously I don’t look 20 anymore, but I can still wear the clothes I like to wear and live the life I like to live. The big question is: For how long?
How long till it gets creepy? How long till even I feel weird around myself? Sure I can reinvent myself then, find a new look, new habits, new things to talk about, but that means changing and I don’t want to change. I like the guy I am now and I don’t want to leave him behind to become something else. I know guys my age. I meet them now and then. One thing they all have in common: they have nothing in common with me. We have nothing to talk about when we’re together. We’re basically from different worlds. I’m the guy who writes books and has never had a real job in his life. I’m the guy who’s single and not looking. I’m the guy with the cool leather jacket, who doesn’t drive an MPV and can’t tell the difference between a baby seat and a fish bucket. Shit, I’ve still got hair on my head while most of theirs is gone. What could we possibly say to each other? And I feel trapped, because they’re who I’m expected to become.
I was watching the first episode of Queer as Folk (UK) the other day. For those of you who’ve never seen that show, it starts with a young gay guy on his first night out in the gay world. Watching that, I could still feel that rush, the rush of doing something new and forbidden for the first time. That’s being young. Not leather jackets and better-than-average looks. That’s why I ended up with a drinking problem too: I was chasing that rush and past a certain point alcohol, drugs, and sex (and sex while drunk and/or high) is the only way to approach it. I stopped doing that. I’m two years sober now. I don’t regret it. Not chasing that rush anymore, accepting it was gone the moment I touched it—gone for fucking ever—was a coming of age. It was leaving the boy behind, becoming the man. And it was good; I like the man.
Will leaving the man behind and becoming the old(er) man feel as good? I doubt it. There is nothing in my life now that I would like to get rid off, nothing making me unhappy or unfulfilled. I’m done. I’m good, thanks: I write, I train, I learn and grow. I don’t want to let go of any of that for the sake of so-called maturity. I want to be thirty-something forever. Or even forty, I could rock that. The point is…
I love who I am and I don’t wanna die.
So, new look for the website, thoughts of ageing, and making a stand. I will fight this with every breath I got. I’m going down, but I won’t go down easy. The fight will be grand. And weirdly enough, right now, it feels like I’m winning. I really think we don’t change, we just grow layers, because at the core I’m still that boy who’s immortal. When that dies, I will rot from the inside out. But not today. Today, I grow. And I change. There’s no helping it.