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Being gay in your teens is hard. Being gay in your 20s is complex. So, myself ten years ago thought that when I reached 30, my life would get kinda sorted much, much better. You would have time to hang out with a bunch of close friends; you go out and drink socially, listening to old bros’ predictable lame jokes. Life, in essence, would get simpler.
Little did I know that as you get into the workforce, your days are numbered with deadlines and projects. Not that you’re not excited about it, but you don’t have time to think about being gay most of the time – or being an emotional human being, so to speak. In places where work-and-life balance is not an everyday subject (that is in most countries outside Nothern Europe?), you just roll with the punches, push yourself to fit the mold. On better days you think you want to be different, making a legacy. Then come those days when you’re just freaking desperate – knees on the floor – begging just to be the same like everyone else that you can be equally loved and understood. When you’re twenty-something and you need cash, life is tough. Love is essential.
Of course, with love, it’s not all roses. Romance always drags along pain: the heart-breaking rejection and split-ups, the unrequited love, the loneliness after it’s all gone. I did wonder, again and again, why did I have to go through it all? Was I waiting for the wedding bells? No – there I quoted – for whom the bell tolls anyway?
So, while most guys yearned and persevered for love, my survival instinct told me that I should hold on to cash. I succumbed to taking two jobs, helping out my family, staying sane by keeping in touch with only a few friends. My love life dwindled – who has time for love when you work six to seven days a week?
When I finally reached 30, I cried.
Not for winning.
Not for losing.
But for total disappointment.
Where was my life heading to, I asked myself. In America where dreams are the substance to push forward every single day, they also become the same poison that kills you slowly as you get older. You learn to let go one dream after another until you’re running out of it – like fish out of water, gasping for life. So, I stopped myself and looked back: I had only two strong emotional attachments of which I could adequately dub them love. I had only less than ten sexual partners throughout my 20s, just because I’d rather stick to friends with benefits to avoid endless back-and-forth chats. And my sex life was pure vanilla … Just because I didn’t think much about sex toys although I loved watching porn that used sex toys.
Why was I inhibiting myself so much for the idea that my future would turn out better? Was I the only one doing that or are we all wired so?
In the gay world where rejection is part of the everyday life, it is easy to forget about self-rejection in the present time. While the desire to be someone else, someone better when you see yourself in the mirror, is inherent, the one who can and should appreciate who you are at the moment is no one else but yourself. And how to do it? You let me know.
So, here I am, thirty-something, restarting anew. I no longer dream that my life in ten years will be better or simpler. My life right now deserves to be simpler and better. I learn to let go of my impossible dreams and therefore my inhibitions. And being gay is always hard no matter at what age you are – just like being human is in general. Sometimes the key is to stop dreaming, start seeing what is really there. But when you do dream, dream something more than what you can be, something more about what you can do for others. That way, life is less lonely, my friend.