My Birthday

I’m 45 today. Time is marching on. This birthday has hit me a little differently from others. What have I done in my 45 years on this earth? I feel like I have either failed in life or waited too long to try to have a life. Fear has always kept me back. For most of my life, I was shy and insecure. To a certain extent, I still am, but I am becoming more confident, at least in some ways.

I’m 45 years old, and I’m still single. I’ve never had a relationship that has lasted much over a year. My two or three other relationships lasted a lot less if you can even call them relationships. I feel like I wasted so much time worrying about what my family thought about me being gay that life and opportunity passed me by. I wish I didn’t care what they think. I’m closer to the point of not caring anymore, but it feels too late. My parents have been married for 50 years, and my sister has been married for over 25 years. I’m still single, and I fear that will never change. 

I feel like I should be able to see retirement in my future, but it still seems a long way off. My mother was 47 when she retired for the first time, and my father was just over 50 when he retired for the first time. They both went on to work in other jobs for another ten years. However, I couldn’t afford any retirement savings or a retirement plan until I started working for this university seven years ago. Financial security has always seemed just out of my grasp.

Then, there is my health. Yes, it could be worse, but I still suffer from chronic migraines )probably always will), and my eyesight is not as good as it used to be. I have to wear reading glasses in addition to my contacts, but I was told that comes with being older. I guess the encouraging parts about my health is that I have lost weight, and my diabetes is under control. In fact, my doctor says he will probably take me off my diabetes medication when I return to him in January and declare me a “diet-controlled diabetic.”

I know I am bemoaning being 45, and as my father has always said, “It beats the alternative.” I am happy with my job and more confident in my sexuality. I have wonderful friends, and I have this blog, which I am quite proud of. Still, what do I have to show for the last 45 years? So, please excuse me for being a little melancholy on this, my 45th birthday. 

I know I’m being silly about this. There really isn’t a reason for me to be in a bad mood about my birthday, but I am as real as I can be on this blog. I didn’t want to be falsely cheerful when I don’t feel that way at all. It would just be dishonest.

I’m just going to treat today like any other day. I usually try to do something special for my birthday, but this year, I am not in the mood. I have the day off from work and no plans. I’ll probably spend the day on the couch watching TV and spending quality time with Isabella.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

6 responses to “My Birthday

  • Rob T

    Enjoy YOUR day today, and your time with Isabella.

  • Erik

    Happy Birthday!! I’m slightly older than you at 52. The mid-40s are the hardest. Once you hit 50, things will get better, so hang in there. Just remember that at this moment, you are safe, fully clothed, neither too cold nor too hot. You have an abundance of clean and healthful food to eat. And, as gay men we have more life possibilities than at any other time in world history. Celebrate yourself today and join me in counting all our blessings.

    With warm regards and best wishes!

  • Steven Davis

    Happy birthday, even if you’re feeling melancholy. Turning 45 was a challenge for me too, much more than 50. I’m grateful for your authenticity openness to share the questions of significance and accomplishments. As you noted, there’s much in our lives which is on track and which we consider blessings. We can acknowledge the fact that our financial stability will probably not be like that of our parents. I know mine won’t. And as for relationships, I’ll never have the length of years, but we may still have great love to share. I hold on to that hope.
    I hope you and Isabella enjoyed your quiet day together. Happy 45th and many more! 🥳🥰

  • Beau

    Happy Birthday–even if it doesn’t make you happy to acknowledge it. I know from experience that feeling of birthday blahs. When I lived in New England, I decided not to commemorate my birthday because doing so did not make me happy. It was a date on a page and some years when I filled out forms after my birthday, I had to count the date to remember my age. Ignoring my birthday was kind of freeing from dread, missed opportunities, life not taking the direction that I thought it would when I was younger, and all the other obsessive negativity that I could dig up. Ignoring it permitted me to be in the moment and grateful for where I was rather than the journey I imagined it would be.

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