I started late in life. While high school classmates convened covertly for beer and dates, I spent weekend nights at home lying on my bed, staring at the ceiling. I had neither many friends nor a car to visit them. Instead, I busied myself alone with miniature-figure painting and computer-game programming.
Because I spent teenage years wishing for excitement, now over forty I still seek the middle of the action, the eye of the hurricane. While many high school classmates have married, had children, divorced and now retire to ennui in the country, I’m still going out to parties, building new projects, and throwing myself into the new.
I am a late bloomer. At the tricks play out, I enjoy my hand of cards. I’m glad not to hang out with high school classmates to wax nostalgic over that one football game twenty-five years ago or that other time long ago we bought a six pack and drank most of it.
I picked San Francisco for its never-ending bounty of accessible, interesting things to do. I live in the center of that hurricane. Some weekends (months!) are too full. Dull moments are rare and cherished.
I’m slowing down. I select better what, where, and when I do. I don’t need many more drinks at a bar. Closing the circle, I enjoy now a decadent weekend night at home because I choose that. I no longer need to see everything.
Most of my friends are also late bloomers. Ruben missed the zaniness of college by boarding at his parents’ house. He did not start drinking until he was twenty-four, and now he’s almost an expert and may get there someday. AJ attended a crummy high school so he reaches out to kindred spirits.
I’m 42 and feel like 22. On buying a bottle of champagne, before noon on a Saturday, the convenience store clerk asked for my ID. As Ruben says, “I have 99 problems, but age is not one of them.”