I often sit in a place of gratitude that my life is one that I’m extremely joyful about. Some of the things and people I enjoy daily are completely an intentional effort, and by my design. None of them existed when I was still struggling to find my way as a young man in my twenties. As I look at where I am today, here are seven great things about being a man over thirty-five that are personal to myself, and possibly a few others.
- Travel Means Something Entirely Different – My twenties are a blur. A mere collection of memories as sporadic as any fucks given by Donald Trump about poor people. I do however; remember I was the inventor of Staycations (at least in my head). I wish I could say I was a struggling twenty something staying at home during my time off to become one with myself. That however; as my Auntie would say, would be a bold faced lie. I was broke! Broker than broke as a matter of fact but my apartment of limited furnishings was all mine. Now a man of a certain age, my passport gets pounded more times than a power bottom at Sizzle Miami. Traveling with ease comes with the territory as one gets older and the financial limitations of your twenties, become a thing of the past. I’ve written previously about the fruits of your labor paying off when you’ve traded in nightclubs for exotic beaches. When it comes to stepping up your vacation game, just like fine wine, great travel on your own terms comes with age.
- You’ve Earned Your Sense Of Style – At some point you’ve learned to accumulate items in your wardrobe to accommodate you transitioning from the office, to happy hour, to the resort. It took years to garner a knack for this and you spent quite a few moments following the crowd sporting whatever trend was “IT” at the time. You’re now 35+ and you know you look better in V-neck t-shirts, your suits and dress wear are tailored, and you have several pairs of shoes in various shades of brown. The most important lesson you’ve come to know as gospel with fashion is that your style is personal, and is the exclamation point to the man you are when you walk into the room.
- Music is Life – Music has played an integral part in the backdrop of your life. Your iTunes library is extensive, complete with some of today’s hottest new tracks but the majority of your downloads are 90’s R&B. To the man of a certain age, music is synonymous with the fragrance he wears. You could stop wearing it, smell it in a crowd years later, and then be immediately transported back to a memory as vivid as your imagination will allow. The same applies to your favorite jams. Tell me you don’t remember what was playing the first time you went to a nightclub and felt the freedom to be you on the dance floor and I’ll call you a liar. Now, music is a tool to shift your mood as needed and that ability to do so can only come from having lived a little.
- Entertainment Becomes Diversified – As you begin to mature, there is an evolution that comes with social outings, which often appear to happen organically. Eventually the strobe light stops spinning, and when it does, it is replaced with something even more exhilarating. It doesn’t mean that you can’t pull out the mean two-step from time to time, but when you do, you’re more than likely at your favorite destination getaway. An appreciation for intimate social gatherings, actually attending professional sports events, and designing what and whom you’d like to associate with now takes precedence. You lose the need to be seen, adapt to being present, and become particular about new ways of letting off steam or with whom you clink glasses.
- Knowing who you are not – This one is a personal favorite of mine. A few years ago when I thought I was leaving the door open to date women, a guy I was dating at the time said that the older I became, the more I would know who I am. The ambivalence I experienced towards my sexuality would eventually make way for a more authentic version of myself. He was spot on in his assessment. In addition to this knowledge, I knew what kind of people I wanted to associate with going forward. At a certain point in your life, you realize that much of who you are has been a direct result of your experiences and choices, both good and bad. They have shaped you and your thoughts, and anything or anyone that contradicts that in a way that does not serve you, is simply a complete waste of time. You’ve embraced the idea of doing things because you want to, and not because it’s what your family, friends, or colleagues would do. You have a new sense of freedom and it can be sexy! Just be mindful of not becoming complacent and reluctant to trying something new.
- Your Personal Space Says It All – Most of your twenties were spent living in dwellings that were functional yet light years away from it actually being a sanctuary for your well being. Futons, a frying pan, a few utensils, a blender for margaritas were sufficient and all you needed at the time. As the stressors of the world intensified, particularly with you climbing the corporate ladder, it became necessary for your home to be a place where you can repair your soul from the damage it received in the brutal rat race of life. You finally have a grown man space that reflects the elements of your personality. It is a reflection of who you are and is immediately recognized as YOU when close friends and family enter it. Your artwork is from the foreign lands you’ve set foot on, the color schemes are masculine and set a tone for who you truly are at the core. It is sophistication with a hint of intention and purpose. It’s set up for you to have it be an adventure without ever having to leave your sofa.
- Making Time For Family Is Paramount – There was a time in your teens and earlier years of adulthood where your friends were your world. Family was something you’ve associated with holidays because you were so busy conquering the world, or so you thought. As your life experiences challenged you, the messages of your parents echoed in your mind like the sound of birds fiercely flapping their wings as they take flight after resting on a fountain in Central Park. They are now relatable to you as adults and not just the people who gave you life and taught you how to parallel park. You understand them on a different level and what once seemed like an obligation to see them, turned into excitement when your car pulls into the driveway for all the love and guidance that awaits you. You may have lived a little, but they have stories upon stories that can shed insight on some of your problems you’ve thought were unsolvable. We don’t choose our family so we love them, as they are, where they are. Once loved ones are gone, it’s only the memories that remain. This is why you cherish the time with them but more importantly, you make time for them just as you would any appointment, vacation, or social outing.
I could go on and on and maybe I’ll add to the list as I continue this journey through life. What are some of the things you love about being a sophisticated, intentional, and classic man of a certain age?