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Twenty-Nine
by Beau Burriola - SGN Foreign Correspondent

"This is Beau, I'm not here. Say something. BEEEP."

"Beau Breeeent, it's your mother. I can't call you for your birthday if you don't pick up the phone. Call me back. I'm on the lake. Love you, son."


I'd been working all day and hadn't really stopped to think about my birthday. Tuesdays are my busiest days with work and class totaling 13 hours. I had four meetings and two deadlines on the calendar and I hadn't finished my homework.

""This is Beau, I'm not here. Say something. BEEEEP."

"Son, it's your dad. I wanted to call to wish you a happy birthday and remind you that 29 isn't a dress rehearsal. It's the real thing. Get ready. You're busy, call me back. We sure love you."


Somewhere after the shortest lunch of my life, I immersed myself in my lessons. Even the longest days have only so much time and I've got to make the most of every minute I can. With my move to Belgium just five months away, there isn't a second to waste if I want to be ready. All the questions and challenges of years past aren't as important as the one I am focusing on now.

""This is Beau. I'm not here. Say something. BEEEEP."

"Bobo. It's Shawwwwwwn I hope you're enjoying your Big Day. I wanted to come and visit as soon as my car gets fixed, but it's sunny in Florida and I don't want to leave. Exciting news for you. Call me! Love you tons!"


It would be easy to fall into the trap a lot of Gay men fall into to when we start to get close to 30; all the "where am I going," "what am I doing," "who am I becoming," "how do I look?" worry and drama, racing to make up for a life of slacking or partying or low self-esteem. If I didn't have as much as I do going on in my life, I'd sure be doing all that to, but these are not questions you can answer at a point in time, when you are reminded it is all going by. I found out where I was going and who I wanted to become after all the crap I put myself through in my young Gay life, like HIV and a circle of friends who imploded themselves with crystal meth and a shallow party culture. I survived being a young Gay man. In today's world, that's not such a small accomplishment. I'm not 29 because of 29 birthdays. I'm 29 because of all the days of experience I've built up between the birthdays.

""This is Beau. I'm not here. Say something. BEEEEP."

"Haaaaaaapppy Birthday! Iss Matt. You're SOOOO OLD! I knew you when we were chicken! You haven't gotten any bigger and even your hair is still the same, but we're a long way from chicken. It sucks that you have to work all day. I need your address to send you something. Call me!"


The fact that my birthday has fallen on the busiest day of my week is perfect. It symbolizes another important step in the direction I'm going without being distracted. I could be another almost-30 Gay man with a condo, a stable life, and a creeping fear of the next year, but I'm too busy. I don't know the secret to staying young forever and I've got battlescars that would argue I don't have all the answers, but today, on my 29th birthday, I'm happy to say that I just don't care about any of that. Thankfully, I'm just too busy.

""This is Beau. I'm not here right now. Say something. BEEEEP."

"We're sorry, but this user's voicemail box is full. Please try your call again later. Goodbye."

"Click."

Beau Burriola is a twenty-nine-year-old Queer writer celebrating six years of having the honor to write this here Queer column in this here Queer fish wrapper. beaubrent@gmail.com.
visit Beau at www.beaubrent.com

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