Turning 37 has come with a lot more big feelings than I’d thought it would. I mean, what even is 37? I hadn’t even considered that this was an age I could be until it was here. It’s not turning 40, entering that part of existence considered your “mid-life”. It’s not even turning 35, when you’re well into adulthood and, ideally, finding your footing and place in the world. 37 though? Not an age you really hear mentioned often.
And yet, more than any other, it’s this year that I’ve finally felt like I’m actually getting older.
Aside from the huge jump in existential dread and death anxiety that’s plagued me the last couple of months, and a marked increase in my chronic pain, nothing makes me realize I’m 37 more than trying to date and meet new people again. It’s been a huge difference, even from when I tried to do the same just a couple of years ago when I was 35. Mid-thirties Nillin had no problem making connections, finding dates, having hookups, and developing new bonds. In fact, all it took was a couple of months and I had developed a pretty decent inner circle and was dating regularly.
It just doesn’t look like that anymore.
I’m trying not to get too down on myself about it. Trying not to take it too personally, or like there’s something wrong with me or my body, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling. I’m on multiple dating apps and have been seeing at least some trans queers on them, which is exciting, but I’m just not getting many matches at all. Of course, a lot of this is pretty age appropriate. I’m older now, my beard has grey in it, and I’m larger than I used to be.
Still, it’s a bit depressing.
All of that being said, my intentions are a lot different than they were before. I’m not really looking for meaningless, strictly sexual connections. I know that I could probably get hookups on Grindr if I actually wanted that. I do still get messages there from folks. But what I really want is that inner circle of close, intimate friends again. One that I’m more conscientious of and careful in forming and that fosters, but does not expect, physical and emotional affection.
I want to have nice dates with new people! Make new connections and have new experiences. I also want games nights, and group cuddle puddles with those who are comfortable with them.
If FWBs and/or date friends come from that, then that’s cool too! But it’s not necessarily the priority here.
Although, if I’m being honest here, I’m also really missing group sex. Like a lot. I used to have group sex with my friends and partners all of the time but it’s been almost a year since I’ve been able to enjoy anything like that. So, like… that desire is definitely there too it’s just something I’m very careful to manage my hopes and expectations around.
You know, maybe I’m just starting to have my mid-life crisis a little earlier than anticipated. I’ve been thinking so much about my purpose, about my legacy, the impact (if any) that I’ve had on my community and those around me, and anxiety about the thought of just not existing… it’s been a lot. As a trans queer person I’m not following any of the life paths that society typically idealizes and views as “successful” living. I’m doing my own thing over here. While that’s really cool and makes me happy, it’s hard to process these bigger existential feels when there aren’t really any other models to look at for guidance or affirmations here.
Then on top of all that, I’m also worrying about how my aging body may become less and less desirable to others. It’s a scary prospect to me. The idea of being unwanted by anyone, undesired by those I love and value, unfulfilling a partner or lover or friend, is terrifying. It feels an awful lot like dying.
These feelings and fears aren’t always there, of course. I have amazing partners who love and care about me very much, who remind me of that every day, and I enjoy a very fulfilling emotional and sexual life with them. So, even with these frustrating and big emotions there’s still plenty of days when I look at myself and see that adorable, hot, chubby trans queer babe looking back at me and I think “damn! I’m gorgeous!” Truth is that I would totally date somebody who looked like me!
I still want to talk about those bigger thoughts though, because they’re not going anywhere and it’s these that keep me up at night.