31 Things that have changed since I was 21.
I am 31 years old today (if today is December 16 wherever you are). To a lot of gay men, that means I'm about to go to that island reserved for us where we will no longer be able to date, dance or enjoy life. We will then be crushed up into a fine powder that will be combined with meth to give to twinks so they at least have some form of sustenance to go with their starving hi. Well that's kind of what I thought being in your 30's would be like when I was about to turn 21 ten years ago.
In Australia, 21 is a landmark birthday, I don't really know why, considering we have all the rights of an adult at 18, but it's a very special time. On the eve of my 21st birthday I was a young twinky actor with dreams of being a leading man, I had been doing stand up but hadn't really found my voice as a comedian (even though I thought I was amazing), I was in love for the first time and felt like I was at the precipice of what would take me to the rest of my life. Ten years later on the eve of my 31st birthday, I am sitting on my parents' couch drinking wine, watching Bones and reflecting on how the only thing that is the same is the fact that I do stand up.
I am not shy about the fact that I have lived quite an interesting life in the last 10 years, but it wasn't until today that I actually started to think about where I have come from. I took the time to reflect on that boy I was and how much has changed in that time. Some of it isn't necessarily for the better, just part of ageing; but most of it I'm truly happy about. I made a list of the things that have changed, so hear they are.
1. Dad Bod – yep I’m probably chunkier than I have ever been in my entire life but I’m also more comfortable with myself than I have ever been.
2. Diarrhoea – takes almost nothing to cause it: beer, thai food, pizza, farting.
3. Netflix is often more appealing than going home with someone.
4. Hair grows in places I never thought it could.
5. Exercise doesn’t do as much as it did, it takes consistency and a whole lot of good diet to see any kind of results.
6. The will to exercise has almost diminished.
7. Watching people exercise is almost as painful as doing it.
8. I feel less in control of life now than I did back then, but I’m ok with it because I realise almost everyone is bluffing that they have any idea what they're doing.
9. I wanted to make a living out of my art back then, I now do.
10. I’m single and not madly in love, well I’m falling in love with someone… myself
11. I no longer feel that I’m running out of time to get where I want to be. I know I have my whole life to get there.
12. I don’t fear getting older anymore. Every year I age is another opportunity to use my age as an excuse for being an asshole.
13. I’m more informed about things before I choose to voice my opinion. At least I try to be.
14. I have a fully formed frontal lobe. (That’s the part of the brain that helps with decision making and risky behaviour. It’s not fully formed in men till they’re about 25)
15. I don’t change myself to fit in... ever! If people need me to be someone else, then they don’t get to enjoy a slice of the amazing pie I have become.
16. I don’t blame everyone else for my problems. If something has gone wrong, most of the time I’m the only one who can fix it.
17. I enjoy time alone in fact I actually crave it.
18. I no longer go to anything simply because I feel like ‘I should.’ I do things because I want to.
19. I understand the temporary nature of life. Nothing is guaranteed ever. Everything you feel secure about could be gone tomorrow, but it’s nothing to be afraid of.
20. I understand that there will never be a point where I feel I have done or achieved enough, and that’s fine. It makes me the over achiever I am.
21. Despite what my friends might think, I actually know when to shut my mouth. There is a whole lot of things I think that I don’t ever say.
22. I am not defined by my relationships with other people
23. I’m the most comfortable with my mortality on a plane.
24. I live in Iceland.
25. I understand the value of sleep.
26. Financially I live more like a student now than I ever did in my 20's.
27. Instead of talking about doing things, I do them.
28. When someone tells me that I can’t do something it encourages me to prove them wrong instead of just accepting it. Never underestimate the power of spite.
29. I prefer a pub to a club.
30. I’m not above any kind of paid work. A pay cheque is a pay cheque and in the words of Deven Green playing Brenda Dickson, ‘as long as it doesn’t make me bleed or cry, I’ll do it.
31. At the beginning of my 30’s I have managed to achieve more than I ever thought possible. I’ve travelled the world, had amazing job opportunities, met and worked with amazing people, loved, lost, gained, rebuilt and started over and over and over. I am at complete peace with the fact that I cannot predict how things will work out ever but I know that I really am just getting started. It’s taken 31 years to become someone I not only like, but also love, and I have so much more coming. Watch this space.
31a. There's nothing twinky about me at all anymore. I'm total bear material now.