My birthday is at the end of March – the 30th to be exact. And although I joke with my family and friends that I’m perpetually 29, I actually have always really liked my birthday.
It’s not like I go overboard; I’m not one of those people who insist on a huge party every year or celebrate a birthday month. And some birthdays have been better than others. I’ll take the surprise birthday party Kelly held for me when I turned 30 over my grandmother dying the night I turned 20 (well, technically early the next morning).
But since the boys came along, my birthdays have taken a decidedly stranger turn. Five years ago Gus gave me a motorcycle-riding Robin action figure. Cuz nothing says, “Happy birthday, Dad” like Batman’s boy toy riding a bullet bike. Last year I got a gnome.
Although I think I grow self contemplative every year around my birthday, this year it seems a little more so than usual. I’ve had a couple of epiphanies this year.
The first is I’ve realized that at 46 I’m now officially closer to 50 than I am to 40; and secondly, I’ve been with the same guy for exactly half of my life now.
I realize that for a lot of gay men hearing someone is in his 40s is like hearing he’s a walking corpse. The gay community is even more youth-obsessed than society in general. And I know that there are plenty of men older than I am who recognize I’m still in my prime.
The boys are really good about helping me realize that too. And it’s not because I regularly get to watch cartoons and play Battleship.
No, in my opinion, I’m a much better dad at 46 than I ever would have been at 26. Besides being far more financially and professionally established, I’ve already had most of the adventures that should be part of any gay man’s life. I’ve done the late night parties, marched in the protests, taken the exotic vacations.
For me, the boys represent the next adventure in my life. And that’s exciting.
In fact, the only time I even realize that I’m middle aged is when I think about the other people around me. I mean my heck; my oldest brother is turning 60 this summer. 60! And two of my brothers are grandfathers.
Then there’s my second realization: Kelly and I have been together for exactly half of my life. On one level that is incredibly cool. On another it’s a little disturbing.
I’ve heard about people who meet someone and immediately understand that they’ll spend their lives together. I think even my parents were like that. But that certainly wasn’t Kelly and me.
In fact, I bet the first time we met both of us figured we’d never see each other again in our lives. In spite of my friend Aimz’s insistence that I was going to love her new neighbor.
So imagine my surprise that half a life time later, Aimz was right.
And in spite of some really annoying habits and an ability to snore loud enough to wake the dead – in Argentina! – the second half of my life so far has been really great because Kelly’s been in it.
Growing a bit older has also helped me view our relationship differently, too. I don’t sweat the small stuff. And I suppose that all those really annoying habits he has don’t bother me any more than mine probably bother him. Though I think he’d be pretty hard-pressed to name a bad habit of mine. I guess, over the years we just accept those bad habits as part of who the other is.
Well, that is unless we’re driving together: Then we freaking send each other over the deep end! I mean seriously, how long do you have to wait after a stoplight has turned green before you push the damn gas pedal?
Like I said, now I’m older, I don’t sweat the small stuff.