Tomorrow [edit: today] I’ll be 40 years old, but I say: F U, 40!! I’m not starting down any hill!—I’m hiking around at my own damn pace. …Which includes lots of time stopping to look at insects, smell flowers, admire the scenery, listen to the soundscape…both metaphorically and not.
I’m trying to defy 40 by keeping in decent shape, but the pandemic has been hard, and I’ve lost weight. You see, before my 30s, I was little more than the proverbial 98-pounder—not entirely weak due to martial arts, but always a bit slender. This is on top of growing up naturally short, when I was wincingly close to the stereotype of the small short weak (and studious, sometimes shy) minority Asian kid. Thankfully, one realizes later in life that some of these attributes are within your power to change.
After several attempts through the years, at 27, it really took a couple years of gym time and a protein-heavy diet to finally add some muscle and shape to my frame. It made me not only stronger, but more confident, more disciplined, and later I began to dress and groom better as well. It became part of who I am. And in a way it was my saying F U, stereotypes of weak Asian men! F U, tired Hollywood BS of never (until recently) depicting Asian men as attractive / romantic leads / main characters!
And now, here is me saying ‘F U, being old at 40!’ Call me contrarian, haha. I suppose the reverse side of the growing up Asian coin is aging more slowly (“Asian don’t raisin”). But I can confirm this only applies outwardly—I’m definitely getting older on the inside. Feeling the internal wear and tear and warranty expiration. It’s like my portrait of Dorian Gray is my own innards.
That said, I will continue aging as defiantly slowly as possible, while simultaneously striving not to revert to my small and skinny original form. F U, stereotypes, and F U, 40!!
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