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Approaching 40 – Blink And It’ll Be Here

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Approaching 40 – Blink And It’ll Be Here
by Guest Writer Paul, from the The Little Gay Blog
One of the strongest memories I have of turning 30, is of my mother leaning in to me to give me a kiss as she handed me my birthday present. Knowing her as I do, I was expecting her to whisper something lovely and heartfelt into my ear. Her exact words? “Blink and before you know it, you’ll be 40.”
Initially, I was slightly taken aback. I knew her comment was intended more along the lines of being a commentary on how quickly time flies, but I couldn’t help but feel a slightly sinister undertone too. It’s as if turning 40 was something to fear or dread. And for me, a gay man, would turning 40 actually be something I should fear and dread?
In the few years since my 30th birthday (full disclosure – I’m currently 33), I’ve spent some time really thinking about not only what my mother said, but also the impact those words have had on me. With time, any negative undertones have been replaced with a sense of genuine acceptance, and even excitement at the prospect of turning 40.
On the one hand, as men we have a longer societal lifespan than women do (it’s unfortunate, sexist but ultimately true). Archetypes of the sexy older man abound (think George Clooney). We’ve turned getting grey hair into something to be celebrated (hello the silver fox) and gay sub-cultures of mature daddies and bears are all the rage, in part fuelled by social media and hook up apps.
Yet on the other hand, as we get older, we realise that despite all the blessings, lessons and amazing things that come with age, there is one thing that we lose. It just so happens to be the one thing, the only thing in fact, that we can never get back again, no matter how much wealth, power or fame we have – our youth.
So, there’s a tension between realising there are so many great aspects of getting older, and an almost innate human desire for that which we know we can’t have. The good news is that we can choose which aspect we choose to focus on, the positive or the negative.
For me, I’ve made a choice to focus on the positive. There’s no way to avoid getting older, so I don’t want to spend the rest of my life living in fear of the next dreaded big birthday. I refuse to be a prisoner to a number.
Yes, my body is changing and it will continue to keep changing. Lines may appear, hair may disappear. And that’s OK. Because while my body is changing, so is my heart, my mind, my outlook, my circumstances, and all the other aspects that make me who I am today – and who I’ll be tomorrow.
And while all of these things about me and around me change, I want to be present to enjoy the experience. I don’t want to blink and miss any of it. I know that life is short and time really does seem to go by quicker each year. As I approach the next few years on my march towards 40, I want to make sure I have savoured all the unique, beautiful and insightful aspects of life that come with getting older.
Turning 40? I say, bring it on!
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1 Comment

  1. Shawn

    October 8, 2017 at 4:28 am

    You’re article was spot on and the topic was the reason I actually found this pretty cool site in the first place. As a 39-year old man who’ll be turning 40 pretty soon, I found myself pondering what “gay life after 40” would entail as I will soon say a fond farewell to my thirties. Ironically, I was always excited about growing older and wiser ever since I was a kid. I look at turning 40 as a badge of honor and nothing to be ashamed of. Cheers!

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