I'm almost half way to my 37th birthday. When I was going out with James in 2001, 35 seemed such a long way away, yet I've sailed past that and am heading out to 40. I remember when Mum was 40, how could I possibly be?
I'm developing an odd relationship with age. As much as I long to be seen as attractive to the bright young things I see around me, I don't feel a genuine need to be. It isn't so much an age threshold I've crossed as a maturity threshold - the people who simply find me attractive do, those who don't really don't need to. I'm not the man I was in 2001/2, yet in some ways I find myself longing for that mindset, wishing that I still were younger, that I could be seen the way I used to be, by the people who used to see me that way.
I'm proud of the achievements I'm making, the older I'm getting - they're achievements you can only get through advancing age. They're more substantial achievements, more grounded, more meaningful, more attuned to my deeper character than those I celebrated when I was younger. In that respect it's great to be 36. Yet I feel old, I feel ground down, more detached from the mainstream than I ever have been since I first came out. A rebellious side of me screams in resentment against that - Tom and I may have to do something quite unexpected in response to that, upon his return on Sunday. I think marriage will turn out to be the solution to this feeling - as stable (albeit unconventional) as that sounds.