Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Is 40 the new 20?

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day and she suggested that I might want to comment on the topic of our conversation. We, my friend and I, have noticed as of late that almost all of our friends, as they either reach or approach the age of 40, become...whats the clinical term for it...oh, yeah...crazy. For those of you that know all of us, this past year is living proof. And the worst part of it is, I'm not immune either. It makes me wonder if, since we are all about the same age, if this is not a result of the onset of a mid-life crisis? Think about it...if an average life span reaches into the 80s, then we have either hit or are hitting (not the bottle) -- mid-life. So this makes some sense.

According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, a mid-life crisis can be defined emotional state of doubt and anxiety in which a person becomes uncomfortable with the realization that life is halfway over. It commonly involves reflection on what the individual has done with his or her life up to that point, often with feelings that not enough was accomplished. The individuals experiencing such may feel boredom with their lives, jobs, or their partners, and may feel a strong desire to make changes in these areas. The condition is most common ranging from the ages of 35-50 (a large study in the 1990s found that the average age at onset of a self-described "mid-life crisis" was 46). Mid life crises last about 3-10 years in men and 2-5 years in women, but length may vary in some people.

During middle age, many changing factors can affect personality development. These factors include:

-- work/career
-- marriage/spousal relationships
-- maturation of children
-- aging/death of parents
-- physical changes associated with aging

Certain characteristics displayed by individuals experiencing a mid-life crisis often include but are not limited to:

-- search of an undefined dream or goal
-- desire to achieve a feeling of youthfulness
-- acquisition of unusual or expensive items such as clothing, sports cars, jewelery, gadgets, etc.
-- paying extra special attention to physical appearance
-- need to spend more time alone or with certain peers
-- a deep sense of remorse for goals not accomplished
-- an underlying desire to initiate new sexual partnerships

Symptoms can include

-- abuse of alcohol
-- conspicuous consumption
-- others similar to depression.


Far from being solely a gay issue (apparently, it hits "the others" too), I basically have just us homos to observe on this one, since that is who I hang out with for the most part. Let's start with me. Wait...let's not and say we did. Suffice to say, that as I am racing toward the big 4-0, my life has been turned upside down this past year with the frequency of a snow globe. In addition, I have watched close friends get out of long-term relationships, start brand-new ones, search to find themselves, and rethink their entire lives. (Apparently, this from people who have led quiet, seemingly normal lives). But if you think about it, not all of this is a bad thing. Perhaps it's a good time in our lives to examine where we've been, where we're going and make any changes while we still have the time to do something about it. But is all this a really a sign of a mid-life crisis? I suspect it has more to do with simply growing up. As I have told my friend several times before, (generally you will find if it comes out of my mouth, it is correct) our generation (the first wave of Generation X) is the first one not to have a war that we would have to go fight in our late teens and early 20s. Our parents and grandparents had Vietnam and WWII and were forced to "grow up" at a very early age. Our generation was different. We went to college because we were expected to. Speaking solely for myself, I was nothing but a kid when I was in college (best 7 1/2 years of my life). Granted, during and after college, we learn the mechanics of growing up. We learn to pay bills on time, to have the responsibility of having a house, and the pleasure "ahem" of the "real" job. (SIDE NOTE: I'm not talking about married folk here as they are a category unto themselves what with the sticky, stinky rug rats and all).

In this day and age, there has not been anything to force single or otherwise unattached people from actually "growing up" emotionally. How many unattached people do you know that spent their late 20s and early 30s and beyond holding down a full-time professional job while still partying and clubbing most nights like it was 1999? Which is why, in my humble opinion, what I see happening may not necessarily have to do with the onset of the crisis.

I know for me, I'm a late bloomer in just about every way humanly possible. (Plus, I seem to get better looking as I get older, but I digress). I think it has been relatively recently that I have been able to discover who I really am, not what everyone expects me to be. For most of my life, due to circumstances too lengthy to tackle here, I did not practice the art of introspection enough. I was afraid to ask the really important questions that, if faced with honesty, will usher one into adulthood and the realization of what we really want out of life. Why is this, I wonder?

So, have my ramblings confused and confounded everyone? Good -- then my work here is done. I would like to hear your thoughts on the subject. I know I have one sexy Yankee reader out there who is an older fart than I am. Come on, Dave -- weigh in. I need a geriatric opinion.

Damn Sobriety, Week Two...

and no one has died...yet. Actually, I feel a whole lot better and have indeed lost some weight. I decided to follow the Suzanne Sommers diet (it really works, I've done it before) It hasn't really kicked in yet, but it should sometime this week.

On a more personal note, I had a date this weekend with a real live man. This was my first date as an out gay man and my must say, it was very nice. We went to a local Thai restaurant and had dinner underneath a Japanese maple while listening to jazz. Perfect evening. Could not have been better. We had a cold front come through and the temperature was in the low 70's and NO HUMIDITY which is UNHEARD of in Memphis this time of year.

I know it sounds old fashioned, but hew as a perfect gentleman (a true Southern quality). He told me that I am someone who he would like to get to know better. It really meant a lot to hear that. He said it was the perfect first date - very romantic. And, he ain't hard on the eye. Beautiful eyes and a smile that makes me melt (not like this guy pictured here, but damn close). I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes. At this point, I have no expectations other than to have fun and get to know him better. All of this is still so new to me. Still feel like I haven't got my sea legs yet. However, it does wonders to the self-esteem when someone wants to be with you... More updates to come...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

One Week of Sobriety

...and I'm still here. I'm as surprised as anyone else...I thought surely by now I would have imploded or committed some heinous hate crime against society, but alas, no. I even went to a few bars this weekend with a couple of friends, and while they drank like the fish they are, I abstained from the sauce and drank water like a good boy that I'm not. And I even played designated driver. That alone should earn me a spot in heaven. Of course all this wasn't easy, mind you. Gracious, no. The only bright spot in all of this is the potential weight loss. Actually, I have already lost a few pounds. It is AMAZING how quickly it comes off if you quit drinking. Before I went on this diet, I need that t-shirt that says "I beat anorexia". However, I am pleased with my self-discipline and am rewarding myself with new clothes -- A SIZE SMALLER. Unless I fall off the wagon, I should be looking like this fella here hopefully in a few weeks (sigh)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Field Sobriety

Well peeps, a couple of days ago, I got the dreaded call from my doctor. I had a checkup a couple of weeks prior and had a lot of routine bloodwork done. Since I have not been eating nicely, I assumed my cholesterol was up (which is a concern for me since I have heart issues -- the issue being I don't have one). Cholesterol was just fine (160 -- yea, me). Then they said my liver elevations were up. I had to wonder, what does this mean. They told me what it meant. NO ALCOHOL for three MONTHS and they would check it then. I think I was screaming in the phone "AT ALL?!?!?" The nurse had the audacity to LAUGH at me as she said yes. I said I might as well jump off a damn building since it will be about as enjoyable. Problem is, the cholesterol medicine has elevated the enzyme level and my "moderate"...ahem, enjoyment of the sauces seems to be taxing my liver. So now I have to go cold turkey for a little while. Not, I repeat, not happy. I do admit that the one mimosa, 2 screwdrivers at lunch and the five glasses of wine at dinner might have been a touch excessive, but things have been so stressful lately. But, I suppose I will have to do it. I made it one day successfully, 91 to go, but who's counting. On the other hand, I will loose weight and be especially pretty for all the boys out there...

On a happier note - I just got a plane ticket to New York to celebrate a dear friends 40th birthday (that's SO old). Absolutely CANNOT wait to go. New York is one of my true loves (although an expensive mistress) and I can't stand to be separated. Post more later...

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


For my dear friend Marshall...enjoy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Happy Independence Day

On this very special day, let us all take a moment and remember what makes this nation the greatest on the face of the earth. No matter what you may think about the war or the current politics behind it, at this time, we need to remember and say a special prayer for the men and women whose lives are on the line every day. And we need to remember and be thankful for the sacrifices of those that laid down their lives since before this nation was created so that we can live free today. God Bless America!

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