Today, another birthday. Turning 36 this time. How much has changed since turn 35 back in Missoula?

I did try writing a post last year about finally trying to explore my “gender identity” to see if I was “agender, but transmasculine”, because the whole gender thing that seems to occupy the mind of transgenders daily often doesn’t come on mine—because I try to live my life mainly as a man, free from identity and playbook politics. But then I realized, like many of the snowflakes, I was just overthinking things. If feminism can preach that femininity can come in all flavors, why can’t masculinity? In the past year since then, especially with re-establishing my roots here back home, I have had more compliments from friends and co-workers that I’m “not that kind of ‘trans'” because I don’t wear my transsexualism on my sleeve. In fact, even as recently as last week, people only find out I was born a girl because of a side remark I’d say randomly.

It has been great that life is mostly back to normal dropping the goddamn mask mandates. The ability to go out and about, keeping only a neck gaiter in my car if a business I want to frequent still requires it (so far, hasn’t happened!). The ability to breathe and not have something sweaty around my neck. The ability to be free of “mascne”. I am fine if others prefer or choose to wear a mask to reduce exposure or keep their illness to themselves; what I don’t care for is being mandated by “immuno-compromised” individuals—who make up such a slim minority!!—to wear a mask just to accommodate them when (between remote work, online and pickup shopping, and other ways to avoid the public) they have plenty of ways to avoid the general public and avoid picking up COVID.

I’ve lost 30 lbs so far, and while I still have a ton to still lose, I’ve become more flexible, my endurance and strength have increased, and I’ve found that my gym time really helps keep my mood swings and anxiety in check. Eating healthy further helps keep my mood in check; switching to decaf hasn’t helped my insomnia (I think it’s the vaping now) or reduced my anxiety, but I don’t get the super energy highs and lows anymore. I don’t eat an anorexic 1200-1500 kcal to try to increase weight loss; I stay at a modest 1700-1800 most days to have energy to expend, to not feel hungry nor deprived, and fuel my workouts.

Basically, it has been a quiet year, far different from the difficult and aggrivating one the year prior. I have a job at a company that I want to stay at. Teammates who don’t give a shit I’m transsexual, but treat me as one of the guys regardless. No pressure to meet “deadlines”, where quality is valued over wuantity. A variety of POVs, yet we can agree to disagree. Full-time, permanent, benefits, Monday to Friday during the daytime.

But I work with many people who are feeling the effects of age. And even thought I’m generally a decade or so younger than them, I’ve been through what they’ve been through. 9/11. The Great Recession. This recession. Inflation. Relationship issues. Hard times, good times. Dealing with lifelong issues. Balding and thinning hair. No longer the youthful generation everyone pines for. Not being sure we have enough saved up for our own retirements, as we see our parents able to keep theirs. Still somewhat young to still do everything, but aging enough to realize not as well as when we were teens and early 20-somethings. My parents have generally been a generation older than most of my peers, so I thought I was prepared for this; just because you think you know about something intellectually, doesn’t mean you grasp it—and being with coworkers who are eventually entering middle age themselves, I see that look in their eyes.

In my short life, I feel like I have already lived several lifetimes, given the homelessness, attempted suicide, the sex change. The milestones and life goals I’ve put off to get myself back to baseline, from college and savings to living on my own. The friends I have had at certain stages in my life, but not others. The life experience I’ve acquired. All the shit I’ve went through, you’d think it’d leave my heart and soulstone cold—but that’s why I went out to Missoula, because at DFTBA I knew would remind me, as it’s an initialism for “don’t forget to be awesome”; and my vibes finally led me to my tribe, who help keep me motivated to do my best.

I hope next year is equally as peaceful and fruitful. This past year was the foundation; now it’s time to move on up. 😇