To say that my birthday tomorrow fills me with some trepidation is putting it mildly. I've always been excited about my birthday in the past, but now that the number is getting ever higher, not so much. I've been trying to figure out why aging has been so scary as of late, but today I think I put my finger on it.
I was never happy with childhood. All of my memories of elementary school, junior high, even high school, are tinted with the notion that I was always looking forward to being an adult. Feeling as if my inner self was being held back, and I couldn't wait to blossom into the next phase where everything I wanted to do would suddenly be possible.
All of those forward looking thoughts truly came to pass when I found the SM scene. My discovery of TES opened the doors to the world, and I really thought that I was finally becoming self-actualized. Of course, there is a heavy bit of irony laced into that as well. Once I got my foundation settled in the scene, I went from being Phil (no comments please from those who know some of the other names I used back then - I will hunt you down and kill you)... to Boymeat.
Boymeat. Boymeat! The irony is amazing! I went from always looking to being an adult, to becoming defined by my youth! In those formative years at TES, I was the youngest one around. And I thrived in that position - I loved being the youngling in the crowd, low in number but increasingly high in experience and passion. Boymeat was known for wild abandon, running around and playing and mucking about and living all the time and doing things he really shouldn't be but damn it was fun because he was Boymeat!
The formation of TNG added another layer to my definition. With my role in founding it, my identity became fully locked into being a representative for the younger generation. And in some ways, that identity still has not changed. I am still involved in TNG politics - I serve as a resource for other groups, and I still defend it whenever arguments against TNG surface (and they always do.) I have also took on a role of TNG historian, seeing as so little of its history is known or recognized.
So here I am, having lived this whole life of being defined by my youth. Over 15 years in the SM scene, yet still Boymeat. Years past from running a TNG, yet still working on it.
But SM is surely not the only thing on my mind when I think of tomorrow. This will be my last birthday as a bachelor. This time next year, I'll be a married man, wearing a ring signifying my bond and commitment and partnership with the best partner I could imagine, Kathryn. I am entering my 35th year not as some kid with a job not sure of his way in the world, but as a Vice President in the midst of a career. And before I'm 40, there might even be a child in my life.
There have always been jokes throughout my adult life about the name Boymeat. People asking what would happen when I've grown to be too old to be truly called Boymeat. Susan Wright once declared that she couldn't call me it anymore, that I was too old... that I would have to become Daddymeat.
I dunno how to feel about the name these days. Sometimes I don't feel like it accurately describes me anymore. I'm not a boy anymore. I don't have that kind of energy anymore... I feel quite perceptibly older than the TNGers of today. Instead, Boymeat has become more of a running gag in my life. Now, my home wireless network is called Webmeat. My old bike was Bikemeat. Kathryn is Girl Vegetable Side Dish. We joke that she will in March become Wifemeat, and our future spawn... Embryomeat.
The other side of that coin is that Boymeat is my continued attempt to hold on to my youth. The thought that I could still shave off my beard and mustache and look like I am 12 all over again. That even though I will be 35 tomorrow, I can still be 21.
Maybe. Guess I'll have to try. When I was 13, 15, 17... I couldn't wait to be an adult. I'm 34 right now, only half a day away from being 35, thinking wow, I guess I'm an adult now. I'm no Peter Pan, but I'm also no longer constantly hoping to "grow up." If anything, I'm trying to enjoy the now as much as humanely possible.
So hello to all of you while I am still 34. I'll talk to you tomorrow, a little older when I'm 35, but hopefully still the same.