I have not had a formal birthday party since I turned twenty. I never made a big deal of celebrating my day of birth since my teenage years, but I'm always grateful for experiencing more life. However, I place less importance on my birthday than the average person. My college housemates threw a surprise birthday party when I turned twenty, which concluded the final time any celebration occurred for me getting older.
Nonetheless, I find myself taking the day to reflect on previous years. My experiences, highs and lows, and other significant memories play back in my mind like a highlight reel. I turned thirty this year, so I took the time to reflect on the previous decade of my life. My sexuality presented itself amid memories of my travels, jobs, and relationships of the past ten years.
Figuring yourself out takes time for many bi individuals. This process might seem compromising for some of us when you factor in the popular notion that "time is money". I heard and read stories of men and women who spent numerous years deciphering their desires. Understanding (and accepting) your bisexuality can be immensely challenging because we live in a monosexual society. Some people get it early, and others refuse to accept it their entire lives. I can speak for bi people who feel that finding peace with themselves took a while because I spent my twenties comprehending my attraction to multiple genders. I learned that making peace with the past leads to better outcomes.
I have many fond memories of living so far. I resided on three continents, not counting North America, and met beautiful and outstanding people of various backgrounds. I can also reflect on fulfilling experiences working in multiple organizations. However, I still look back and have "what if" thoughts. My complicated relationship in the past regarding my sexuality did not allow me to be the best version of myself. Therefore, I know bad moments could have been better, good times could have been excellent, and excellent experiences should have been unforgettable. In a perfect world, I would have redirected the time and energy I invested in figuring myself out and contesting monosexism in other areas. Every aspect of my life took a hit in some form or fashion: rugby, volunteering, teaching, personal relationships, etc. Despite the inconvenient challenges, I consider those moments as learning experiences instead of wasted ones.
Tempus fugit is a Latin phrase meaning "time flies". The old cliché will probably be around forever because it holds true. Life is fast as it is precious. Some bi people use so much time making peace with themselves that regret becomes a common denominator when looking at the past. Ideally, society should include enough positive messages, representation, and dialogue to assist bi individuals in their journeys. The world does not afford us that environment. Therefore, a bi person might sacrifice youthful years addressing false ideologies and accusations. However, it's crucial to look at your journey as a learning experience instead of time lost. Not only is it mentally healthier, but extracting the lessons from the past promises you a fulfilling future. Dwelling on what happened robs you of a peaceful present.
Practicing forms of self-care is critical because research continues to show the distinct challenges that older bi adults face. Making peace with your past would put you in a better position to address obstacles that might come your way. For example, older bi adults experience higher economic insecurity, social isolation, and health disparities rates than their gay, lesbian, and heterosexual counterparts. Although many of these factors go beyond our control, I believe self-love can build mental fortitude and help foster strong community connections to aid one another. Biphobia creates unique obstacles. Therefore, coming up with various ways to address these issues goes a long way.
David Bowie, the late great singer-songwriter and actor, believed getting old comes down to two questions. "How long? And what do I do with the time I've got left?" These kinds of questions should be at the center of your thoughts. Regardless of age, focusing on ways of enjoying life is vital after you understand and accept your bisexuality. Do not beat yourself up for navigating the world a certain way because discrimination forces people to hide and make unjust compromises. You should use your past to reward yourself with happiness because you owe it to your younger self. I made the mistake of letting yesteryear's turmoil compromise my ability to live in the moment. The sooner you commit to learning and growing, the more opportunities you will have to celebrate yourself.