They say that age is just a number but to me it’s also a reservoir of encounters, escapades, debasements, dramas, etc. all affected by my state of affairs at any point in time. The constant in that reservoir is its continuous growth with the passage of time. I explore how that reservoir of experiences (my age) has affected different aspects of my own process.
Age as a Hardening Agent
As I’ve grown older some of my pliability in many aspects has been reduced. From basic physical limitations to more encrusted attitudes, my life now is different from 10, 20, 30 years ago. In simple terms, the sum effect means that as time goes by, change gets harder for me.
I always paid attention to women’s behaviour but I didn’t practice it. My guy behaviour was a constant until 2011 when I allowed myself to start experimenting. It’s been only since 2015 that I’ve made a strong effort to change that behaviour to match my chosen gender expression. The great majority of my life has been practicing my guy behaviour.
I believe having spent so many decades in the boy role has made it harder for me to learn and practice womanly behaviours. I’m fairly certain that if I had started my process, say in my early 20s instead of my late 40s, unlearning the guy behavious would have been easier.
Though I think people now perceive my behavious to be mostly feminine, in the back of my head I always hear that little nagging voice pointing out the things I’m doing wrong (the dude’s patterns).
When I talk about the physical changes I should start with a preface. I am acutely aware of how lucky I am with the set of genetics I inherited. Thanks to those genes my body didn’t develop a very masculine frame and characteristics.
Having said that, I believe that on one side age has made it harder for me to achieve the physical changes I want and on the other side age has made it more difficult for me to enjoy some of the positive changes. For example, the coveted fat redistribution around the hips, bum and breasts… I believe at my age those changes are not as visible as if I had started a couple of decades before.
Another example could be how the incredibly nice change in my skin is a bit lost with age. Under an estrogen dominated hormone regime my skin has become softer and body hair is practically gone. But with age that same skin is sagging with every day that goes by. I feel a little regret that I will never experience a youthful body. That time has come and gone.
Similar to how age has made my behavioural changes harder, I think it has affected some of my old relationships in the same way. I believe that by virtue of presenting as a guy for so many years, my childhood friends and my family have known me one way for too long, creating certain male expectations. I assume that for them my decision to change gender expression must have been, if not hard, at the very least totally unexpected. I should note that this is what I feel and I’m not speaking for anyone else so I reserve the right to be completely wrong.
Another thought that crosses my mind is that the friendships and family that is my age or older may have more conservative or religious views than younger generations. For that same reason it’s my guess that my change may be harder on some of them.
I sometimes think that my process has been hard on some relationships and those same relationships have made it harder for me to change.
On the other hand, perceiving that my change has been hard on others makes it hard for me to change, specifically when I’m around them. I’ll give you a practical example: my voice. The only way I can change and improve my voice is through practice, but when I’m with my mum I don’t feel confident or comfortable changing my voice too much. It just feels weird. It’s a similar feeling when she asks me to speak to her in English. I’m not used to that and it feels very odd so my natural reaction is to revert to Spanish. I get that same natural reaction to revert to my guy speech pattern when I speak with her.
As I write all this I can see it’s a self feeding cycle. Some people are used to seeing me the old way so, when I’m with them, I feel a natural pressure to revert back to the guy’s ways. The thing that comes to mind is that it’s me the one perceiving such pressure. This means that it’s me the one that can break the cycle.
My circumstances have been somewhat unique as for more than 20 years I’ve lived elsewhere from where I grew up. In a sense I consider myself lucky this self feeding cycle is not too tight in my case. If my regular social circle included my growing up friendships I believe I would perceive, or more precisely, I would create a stronger internal pressure against change. Please note that I’m not saying that my old relationships do anything to create the pressure but rather I create it.
Regret Not Starting Sooner?
I sometimes get that question and I also think about the idea regularly. The answer is not straight forward but it’s not too complex either. I sometimes wish I had done this 30 years ago, but when I look deeper inside me I know I could not have done it. First of all, it was not even in my radar to do anything different about my gender interests; in layman terms, back then I had not considered transition. Simply put I was not ready. I also know that social acceptance back then would have been so much more limited than it is today.
When I look deeper and analyze why I wish I had done it 30 years ago I conclude that rather I wish I had a younger body with very refined feminine manners. In fact I am grateful of the reservoir of encounters, escapades, debasements, dramas, etc. that I now have. I just wish I now had a slightly different body controlled by more refined deportment.
Starting my process in my late 40s gave me a lot of experiences that in essence have made me wiser and would not change for anything. Yes, I will never experience so many things that a young me would have, but I’ve come to terms with that. A little disclosure here, if I put my mind to it, I can still participate, at least partially, in some of those younger experiences.
So, no, I don’t regret not staring sooner. I am wiser now and, considering everything, with an enviable body. 😊
But Time is Running Out
When I decided to go ahead with my process I went head first and didn’t look back. I knew I was starting in a good position but at my age I also knew that “I didn’t have too much time”. What I mean is that as I grow older I know that my age will put a higher toll on my appearance and many other aspects. So with that in mind, once I decided, I wanted to move quickly.
The speed in which I made my changes was fast. It was as if I wanted to catch up with all the time I spent living the guy experience and perspective. Though I sometimes wake up and question what in the world I’m doing, I tend to believe I don’t waste time hesitating. The last thing I want is to be hurt by hesitation and procrastination and complain for not being able to move forward.
A Call to Action
If there is something you want to do, and particularly if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, go ahead and do it!
It’s a hard to define threshold of when one is ready to take the plunge into something as dramatic as changing gender expression. As I said, I could not have done it before I did; I was not ready. Probably if I consider doing something then I’m actually ready to do it. If I think about it but do not consider doing it, I’m certainly not ready. My difference between thinking about something and considering it is in the depth of my reflection about it.
By the way, this call to action is a reminder to myself! I’m just speaking out loud here, but you may want to consider it too.
P.S. The header image is a photo of a grandfather clock we have as a stereotype of age as the passage of time.