The Decalogue of Nick #5: I’m a middle-aged cishet man, recently married, no kids

By: | Post date: February 6, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Personal

For Tracey Bryan and Sam Murray.

This breaks up in three. This… goes places.


Before I even noticed, I’m 45.

I don’t want to feel the weight of snow on my temples. I just posted about how I refuse to pay Death any mind: Nick Nicholas’ answer to Do you consciously live your life as “Being-towards-death” (or any comparable idea)? How does it affect your daily life, if at all? I decline Age the same obsequiousness.

I act at times like a teenager (and there’s certainly more about that in Decalogue #6). I hang out with millennials here without compunction, and I feel unflustered camaraderie with them.

But I feel the difference, quite unexpectedly. My knees creak. My crows feet dig in. I’m likely closer to the end than the beginning by now. I go all avuncular here, despite myself. And I’m certainly more scarred and scared than I was two decades ago.

The millennials are my comrades, and I look up to them: Sam, McKayla, Jordan, Pegah, Amy, Zeibura, Lyonel. But on occasion I notice a disconnect (not with them! but with others). And time and again, it’s the middle-aged that I feel the most untrammelled understanding with: Michael, Dimitra, Mary, Jennifer, Tracey.

(I keep telling you Sam, this is not a competition! 🙂 And Jeremy, I don’t know where to place you! Which won’t be a surprise.)

But in some ways, I was always middle-aged. I was always more bookish, more cynical, more circumspect. And the old school song that’s intended to make 60-year olds tear up?

Forty Years On (song)

It makes me tear up now, and it made me tear up when I first learned it, at 15.

Cishet Man

I’m part of the entitled majority. I would have added “white”, but I’m not American, so we aren’t as race-conscious. (That in itself is an issue.)

I have no interest in apologising for being part of the entitled majority. I am who my chromosomes say I am, I have ended up where I have ended up. And apologies is not what those not so entitled need from me.

They do need from me not to be an arsehole about it. And in response to that, I try to listen. Including here.

I haven’t broadcast it here to date, just muttered it in comments; but you will find it if you go Googling at the right time-depth anyway. For about a year in my twenties, I identified as bi. It was pretty damn Gedanken and theoretical, and I certainly did not get any action out of it.

What I did get is the humbling experience of… getting it. Of getting how it felt to be in a minority.

And the even more humbling experience was a couple of years later, when I’d resumed identifying as het. And realising that I no longer “got it”.

I don’t get it, and I won’t get it. Those that do don’t need me to get it. They need me to let them speak, and not talk over them, and be an ally rather than a blocker. And I try.

Recently Married, No Kids

I’ve left it too late, perhaps. And I wasn’t really hanging out for it any more. But I’ve gotten there. Nick Nicholas’ answer to Where did you meet your spouse, what were your lives like when you met, and what were the key events and circumstances that led to you being together?

It’s been work. It’s been solace. It’s been highs, it’s been lows. It’s been what any relationship worth the name has been. It’s been worth the work.

No kids. I’ve definitely left that too late. That’s an enduring regret, though a recent one. I’d have liked to pass things on, I’d have liked to… how did my socialist aunt put it? “Prepare good citizens.” On the other hand, I fear for the world they’d inherit.

But as the Hungarian-via-Esperanto proverb says: Bedaŭroj estas hundaj pensoj. Regrets are a dog’s thoughts.

Not quite sure what that means. We do have a dog, at least. And the dog’s meant a few sleepless nights, herself…

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