This year I dreaded my birthday. I spent months agonizing about it. At the end of May I turned forty—the big 4-0. Although I knew it was approaching (I had thirty-nine years of anticipation) I wouldn’t let myself ponder its significance. I shoved it into the background of the vision of my future, reducing it to something vague and ephemeral. It’s no longer vague, and now for the first time ever, my time on this earth feels finite. As my boyfriend, Zen, said, “your life is 40% over.” Thanks, babe.
He’s absolutely right, you know. You can heap on the platitudes about how age is just a number, but our bodies are constructed to last only a certain number of years. At some point, I’m going to die. It’s a logical event at the end of our lifetime, and we humans all know this. One of the most famous quotes from Benjamin Franklin is “nothing is certain except death and taxes.” All I can say is that it’s one thing to know this information and a completely different thing to feel it.
At first I thought it was the idea of “looking” my age that was bothering the most. There are laugh lines around my eyes and mouth, and my knees crack when I kneel. But when Zen asked me how I envisioned my future ten years down the road, the real panic began. Despite all the changes I made in the past two years, despite coming out of the closet with my sexuality and kinkiness, I still held the idea that I’d be retiring with a domestic partner. According to my unrevised future plan, I’d be married and probably monogamous.
*cue existential crisis*
I currently have two partners, and both of them are married to other women. Monogamy and marriage aren’t part of my reality at the moment or in the five year planning I’ve been doing. Ten years down the road, or fifteen, will I want some sort of domestic cohabitation with my partners? Will that be possible with any of the people I’m dating? Will they still be interested in being a romantic part of my life or will they be pursuing their lives with their spouses? Will they even want an open relationship or prefer to be monogamous again? If I’m not working as much in fifteen years, who will I be spending my time with? What do I want for my life in my fifties? My sixties? And none of this begins to address financial planning or making certain that my daughter is provided for. It also doesn’t address what I may or may not be doing with my Dominant, my owner.
Maybe part of my panic is a result of not knowing anyone personally who is my age, single and poly. All the polyamorous people that I know are poly, younger and single or poly, my age and married. In the deepest depths of my existential crisis, I had this thought: I’M THE ONLY AGING UNICORN IN THE PASTURE! I have no blueprint to follow that is within my circle of friends and family, so after I uncurled from the fetal position and dried my tears, I set out to do something about it.
Expand My Social Circle – I want to seek out others who share a similar life situation. It’s sometimes a challenge for me to get “out there” to meet people. I’m a writer, so I tend to stay at home and write. However, I’m interested in learning about other people’s poly experiences. I can’t do that from surfing the internet, although it’s a good place to start. There are several poly meetup groups in my area, and that’s where I’m starting.
Formulate My Intentions for the Future – I don’t think I need a detailed plan of how my life will be in my fifties or sixties, but I need to have an idea of how I want the landscape to look. I have started journaling and brainstorming and meditating about my intentions. What do I want to attract to my life? Thinking about this now will help with my decisions along the journey.
Talk to a Financial Planner – I have several things I need to take care of as far as budgeting is concerned and transferring an old 401k–things that I’ve let hover on the “to do” list for a really long time. I can’t continue procrastinating, because I’m really not getting any younger. Time to take full responsibility for my fiscal future to ensure that I have a prosperous one.
I find that taking action, even in small ways, feels reassuring to me. Moving forward into the unknown is still forward movement even if it isn’t reassuring at times. It helps that I have amazing partners, and that they’re both available to hold my hand and help me as much as they’re able. There are never any guarantees when it comes to lasting relationship, polyamorous or not. But I’m looking forward to years of friendship and love no matter how long I live.