The moment we enter the world, the proverbial sand in the hourglass begins to trickle through to the other side; slowly shifting, but always moving. And then one day, you realise there’s a lot of f*cking sand on the other side, and you still have no idea who the hell you are. I guess I should have listened to Smash Mouth when they said, “the years start comin’ and they don’t stop comin’.”

That was REAL.

Just yesterday you were trading Pokémon cards in the playground, and now you’re a full-fledged 30-year-old “grown- up” that’s expected to manoeuvre themselves through this big playground we call life.

Here, you wake up, make your bed, and (if you want pocket money for the weekend), you’ll need to spend all five of your weekdays with a group of people who’ll probably talk sh*t about you when you don’t show up.

So, I guess not much has really changed since school, but also, so much has.

We now look a lot older, need to pay bills constantly, and – as a substitute to trading Pokémon cards – we just trade mediocre d*ck pics. I don’t know about you guys, but this sounds like a scam.

…And I want a refund.

For most of my 30 years of life, age has always been tied to how I perceive myself, and how I think other people perceive me.

This – I’m aware – is an extremely dark and problematic admission to make, but facts are facts, Australia. Sometimes the truth is ugly, and the fact of the matter is that the society we live in is kinda ugly.

Since before we can fully comprehend concepts of aging, beauty and desirability, we are spoon-fed this propaganda that young = good and old = bad. We’re told to shave this, pluck that, and once that’s done, you’re gonna need to bleach that weird brown butthole of yours, because having an ass resembling that of a baboon is all the rage right now, haven’t you heard?

And once that’s all done, you need to hit the gym for two hours because you want to be f*ckable and (finally) you’re going to go home and lather yourself in that $69 tub of face cream because those laugh lines are doing a lot of things, and none of them are funny.

Either that or you could just stop smiling all together. Whatever is easiest for you, bestie x.

However exaggerated those examples may been, those are some of the pressures that I put myself under for the greater part of my twenties. I’d place unrealistic expectations on myself to inevitably fall short, and back to square one I’d go, stuck in this perpetual cycle of insecurity, where I felt I needed to be something else – to be more – but it never was.

Then in a blink of an eye, I woke up, and I was 30, realising that none of that mattered.

Looking back, I was clearly very lost, and that’s okay, most twenty-somethings are.

However, if I now – at age 30 – could offer a younger me some advice, I’d say, ‘chill tf out, and stop trying to be something you’re not. Everyone gets older, and the journey to getting there is beautiful, so trust it!’

I don’t really believe in regrets, because while I did spend much of my twenties in a weird gay Groundhog Day that had me lost in the noise both society and I had trapped myself in, in the end the noise began to clear, and I began to find myself. As hard as that was, it made me a more secure, confident person, and every day I grow a little more in touch with myself.

So, to whatever the next 10 years has in store for me, I’m ready to take it on, to keep finding more of myself every day. Because I’m a lot like the old Nokia brick phone I had a as a teen; I’m damaged but still powering on.


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About Author

Walton Wong

Meet Walton Wong - a 28-year-old, Melbourne-based part-time writer and full-time hot mess.

He is a homebody at heart who enjoys binge eating, drinking cocktails, and memorising the words to real housewife fights, often simultaneously.

Walton is originally from Papua New Guinea, which means he brings a unique – and welcomed – perspective to the Gay’s Guide team.

Please head to our contact page if you’d like to share feedback on A Modern Gay’s Guide or pitch a story that you’d like us to cover.