Next year you’ll be 40 years old.
It’s a milestone many people celebrate.
You haven’t decided if you will.
If you had asked 15-year-old-Carlos what life would look like approaching 40, he couldn’t have been able to imagine it. In fact, for a long time, he was sure you would be dead by 32—Why? Who knows? Because it was more than twice the age he was back then.
As part of putting your memories in an order that makes sense, in an order that lets you be the storyteller again, you often end up thinking about the conversations you wish you had been able to have with your 15-year-old self.
What would you talk about? What would you reassure him of?
Would you tell him it gets easier?
You’ll hate labels because they’ll always be more for the benefit of other people. For putting you in boxes that are too small.
But hating labels means you miss how useful they are for giving you anchor points from which to build a life that doesn’t require those labels.
No, you won’t die alone, unloved. You’ll find love in abundance. You’ll be loved. You’ll receive love. You’ll give it indiscriminately.
A little bit too indiscriminately for a while but then you’ll get better at being able to tell who is capable of holding that love with tenderness.
You’ll survive, despite your best efforts not to.
You’re polyamorous, don’t pretend otherwise, you’ll only hurt others and delay your own living.
Remember, for some people, you’re the first date they have in a very long time. Don’t waste their time, or your own.
You’re queer: non-binary and pansexual if we’re going to be specific, and we are going to be specific. But don’t worry, embrace these words until they no longer scare you. Eschew them once they’re no longer useful to you.
Remember, some people are in different places on their journey with these labels. Let them.
You’ll ultimately want to practice relationship anarchy with all your relationships. Some will find it too overwhelming, forgive them and move on.
You’ll have brain damage. You can’t change this anymore but you learn to live with the ebbs and flows. You develop decent coping mechanisms for a feeling that can best be described as “temporally displaced”.
But you learn to speak from the scars with such warmth and it’s a wonderful gift you can give to yourself and others.
Remember to speak from the scar, not the wound. Dr. Autumn Asher BlackDeer
You’ll have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but you’re still scared of admitting that. You’ll figure it out.
You’ll meet people who understand you without you having to try so fucking hard all the time. This would be a good moment to give love indiscriminately, nudge nudge, wink wink.
You’ll find stillness again. Places and moments for calmness for your mind and soul.
And you’ll find it, everywhere.
Sometimes it’s hiding in the reckless speed the toddler runs into your arms. Sometimes it’s how someone plays with your ear lobes. Sometimes, it’s just how the heat of the sun hits your unadorned face on a brisk November morning.
It gets so much easier.
And so much better.
And you keep working through your shit.
Sure, some days you think that life would be so much easier if you were a straight white guy who loved sports. Or some shit like that.
But you know it wouldn’t be.
But you’ll be okay.