Peter Pan Syndrome

by J James

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Posted by JJames

I woke up late this morning enjoying my extended holiday and opened social media to the whines and moans of many of my high school buddies who now have a number of children and have been deprived of sleep for the last 10 years. Many look older than their age; a direct result of the lack of ‘me’ time. It suddenly dawns on me that this is pretty normal when you are fast approaching 40. But I realise something is missing for me – a sense of time. The need to reach various milestones in life by a particular age.

I reflect back to a time when I was married to my wife. Being in a straight relationship comes with complimentary clock. Buy a house by 25, get married by 28 and have a family by 32. If your timing is off, people start to wonder what’s wrong and ask questions. You move from one key life event to another. Maybe it is because of the natural biological clock that many women fear they are racing against in terms of motherhood or maybe it stems from social pressure. Yet in my gay relationship I realise there is no in-built chronology. There is no pressure to conform because we are already outside of the ‘norm’, so people do not naturally ask the same type of questions. As men we enjoy a much longer biological clock and whilst I do not wish to have a baby in my sixties, I could if I wanted!

I ponder longer than expected on this point. Is it the lack of social expectations or my own reluctance to grow up? Am I suffering from the Peter Pan syndrome? I do not acknowledge that I am middle aged because I am not sure what the script is for that phase in my life so I choose to cling to my twenties because I know how that one plays out. I am sure having children for whom you give yourself so selflessly to provides the set of instructions to ‘Middle Aged’ living. I on the other hand am flying blind and over indulge myself in me time and me activities. I spoil myself and I think of myself. I am not proud of such a self-absorbed attitude that but it is a luxury my lifestyle comes in-built with. I get to spend endless hours in the gym focussing on me. I have enough disposable income to feed my need for the latest Apple products and I can afford to satisfy my hunger for fashion. But most of all I have an infinite amount of time. Well, that is how I seem to be misinterpreting things anyway. And I am not alone in this thinking and behaviour. If you visit any gay nightclub you will see many mature guys on the scene each weekend, still sporting their muscle T-shirts in the same way they did in their twenties. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this at all. People are free to do whatever makes them happy. I am just curious about the differences with our straight peers and what leads to this. It is also commonly accepted that gay men are more successful in their careers and on average earn more money – is this because we have the time to focus? I wonder how many of my straight friends with young families crave for more time?

Of course things are changing nowadays. With the growing acceptance of gay marriage and the ability for gay couples to have children through surrogacy, gay men too can finally leave Neverland because for me too much time is over-rated. I would sacrifice that for having a young family anytime.

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