I turned 50 in October, and I'm really happy about that. Half a century. That sounds old.
It did make me stop and think, re-evaluate my life, think about what I'm doing - after all, I never expected to be alive this long, every year feels like a bonus to me, so I want to make sure I'm making the most of it all.
And life is pretty good. I could do with more money, but materially my life is ok. I have a lot of people who care for me very much, family and freinds who love me, and I'm lucky in that.
It did strike me though, that I will probably never fall in love again. It's not impossible, I know, but let's face it - the odds are getting pretty long that I am going to meet a guy I am going to want to buy flowers for and do all the silly romantic things people in love do. It would be great to have that wonderful feeling in my life again, to meet a man and revel in that sense of joy and silly happiness that being in love brings. But I doubt it's going to come my way again. I think it's just the logic of circumstance - a barely employed 50 year-old HIV+ gay man isn't such a great catch.
And that does make me a little sad - only a little though.
I don't really share this desire that seems so common now, this desire to be married. I can understand the logic of it, the argument that if we really are equal citizens, we should be treated with exact equality, so from a pure human rights point of view, ok, I get it. But I don't get the desire to mimic mummy and daddy in the suburbs, to get engaged, and have a big wedding with a gift registry. I understand, it's validating for a lot of guys, but it still doesn't grab my heart or mind. I can understand wanting to celebrate your love in front of the most important people in your lives, but marriage, hmm, not for me. And really, expecting your friends to fork out cash because you want a new $500 toaster - that's just grasping and mean.
Most of the gay men I know who are married/civil unioned or whatever are still fucking around, so monogamy obviously isn't the driver. And gay men are different from straights, we do build our relationships differently.Celebrating love makes sense - aping straight marriage doesn't for me.
To really fall for someone, you do have to suspend a lot of your hard-edged reality-based life, the world is full of butterflies and rainbows - that's the fun of it all, and that sweet, mad, intoxicating feeling of tenderness and the delight in getting to know each other - it's fantastic when it happens. And of course, it wears off over time.
When I look around at my friends, the ones in the successful relationships have been able to move from the "in love" to "love" stage, and that isn't always guaranteed to happen. Because building a loving relationship isn't about being in love really - it's about finding someone you want to be with through all the ordinary stuff in life, paying bills, cleaning the house, all those unromantic things.
I am glad I'm around, and I am lucky to be loved in the ways that I am, but a little part of me mourns that I'll probably never have that feeling again, that all-encompassing, light-headed, seeing stars when he walks in the room kind of feeling again.
But who knows - life has surprised me before.
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