It seems like I have been spending a lot of time recently in the past, kind of going over my high school/college years, noting with 20/20 vision all the clues that I either missed (or chose not to see) about how dang gay I was, even back then. And wondering why I didn’t come out sooner, or even experiment a little back in the day.
A friend and I were having a conversation about this question: if you could go back in your life and change something, would you? My friend’s answer was an immediate “no”. My own “no” was on the tip of my tongue… but, then I hesitated.
I totally get that everything that happened in the past is what’s brought me to this point. It’s why I have the friends I do, the job I do, the relationship with my family that I do. Everything now is predicated on everything past. The chain of events, and how one is dependent on another is certainly not lost on me.
And – generally speaking – I really like where I’m at. I wouldn’t want to give it all up for another unknown path. So, why the hesitation? Why not just a point-blank “no” answer to the “would you change anything” question?
All I know is that it took me so damn long to have the courage to admit that I was gay. I’ve spent many years chasing something that wasn’t ever going to make me happy, and at 40, I’m still alone. What if I had started this 20 years ago? Done the dating around thing, done the bar scene, the one-night stands? Done all that and still had plenty of time for some meaningful long-term relationships and perhaps have found someone to settle down with?
Because that’s the one thing that kind of gets at me from time to time: the fact that I feel like I’m starting over at all this, but at an age where it’s made more difficult because I feel like all the false starts and not quite knowing what I”m looking for should be done with already. I’ve got my mulligan, but sometimes feel like the game is already in the 3rd quarter.
I don’t think I’m desperate (though, as I type this, I feel like I’m reeking of desperation… but, I’m not! Really!), but more that I’m curious what my life would be like if I had come out as a teenager. Or even in my 20’s. Would I be married (and living somewhere that oh-so-graciously allows gay marriage)? Have kids? Be single but have had a few serious relationships?
In the end, I don’t think I could give up the life I know and love for the uncertainty of a another fate. And really – most of me realizes that for the person I am, I needed this much time. I don’t know that I was capable of handling it when I was younger. It is interesting to think about, though.
(Oh, and I’d totally go back knowing lottery numbers… might as well get rich while I’m at it…)