A co-worker is celebrating her birthday today. She is describing today as one of the worst days of her life, simply because it’s her birthday. I think she’s nervous as she approaches the big 3-0, turning 28 today. It’s kind of unfair that she has to work on her birthday (I believe people she get their birthday off), but two others in our five person team had the day off, so she couldn’t really take it off as well. She generously offered to take tomorrow off instead. But it still kind of sucks that she has to work on her birthday.

It’s funny, but as I look back I don’t think I would ever want to relive my 20s. Definitely not my early 20s. I didn’t feel like I fit in with the crowd, I didn’t really know who I was and I didn’t really relate well to others around me. Part of that is still true, I’m the first to admit that I hear a different drum beat than most.

With most gay men, it’s about youth, youth, youth. “I need to look young.” “I need to feel young.” “I need young guys to like me.” At 36, I don’t really feel that need. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that need, even when I was 22. I’ve always been young at heart, but I don’t feel the need to be perceived as younger than I actually am. I’m always looking for new experiences. That can sometimes be perceived as a ‘young’ thing, but I just see it as part of life’s evolution. In my eyes, when you stop experiencing, you stop living. Then you’re coasting, and that’s no fun.

I recently saw an early 50s something guy at the mall desperately trying to look younger. He had an open shirt revealing a shaved chest. His hair was dyed various shades of platinum and strategically placed to cover up bald spots. But his eyes didn’t lie. His eyes revealed his true age, framed in the wrinkles and such that one earns through the passage of time. There was really nothing wrong with the way he looked, but he gave off the vibe of being afraid of what lies ahead. He didn’t carry himself with the confidence one would expect. Like he was playing a character part and he didn’t know all the lines.

I wanted to tell him to just celebrate his life. Celebrate all the experiences that have brought him to where he is today. I’ve recently learned to do that myself… look forward, accept life as it comes at you, make adjustments and changes as necessary and have no regrets.

Even if it’s not your birthday, celebrate who you are today. You might like what you see.