On Twitter, I started a thread about how I make one major decision a decade. In my twenties, it was that I didn’t want children. Still the best decision I’ve made in my life, by the way. In my thirties, it was that I didn’t want to get married. And, yes, I make decisions about what I don’t want rather than what I do want. It’s how I roll. What was my decision for my forties? That I didn’t want to be in a monogamous romantic relationship.
I am now fifty and before I ended up in the hospital, I was pondering my gender identity and whether I wanted to try dating. Yeah, during a pandemic, I was thinking about dating. Maybe because of the pandemic? At any rate, I was thinking about whether I just wanted Netflix and chill (without the Netflix) or to actually date. As for the gender identity, I have never really clicked with being called a woman, but accepted it by default (as with so many things). My question is, do I not feel like a woman because of all the times I’ve been told I wasn’t a woman or because I felt like something else? In other words, was it a positive (going towards something) or negative (going against something) decision? I had a hunch it was the latter rather than the former because I don’t feel like a man or anything else. I don’t feel like any gender, honestly. I connect more with woman because of shared experiences that female-shaped people have, but I don’t feel like I’m a woman, whatever that means.
Side Note: To clarify the negative/positive thing, I don’t feel like a woman, but I don’t feel like any other gender , either. So I’m apathetic about gender as I am about much of other labels. I accept bi, reluctantly, because it’s the least-wince-worthy one to me, but I don’t like it or really feel it describes me. I feel the same limitation with gender pronouns and would simply prefer just to go by my name.
One thing being in the hospital did for me, though, was get me over my body issues REAL fast. Having strangers literally wipe the shit off my ass, well, there’s not much more intimate than that. And my team did it with respect and compassionate, for which I’ll be eternally grateful. But it showed me that a body is just a body at the end of the day.*
Also, my experience pushed back my musings about gender. It’s not that I feel any more womanly, but I just don’t care. I still don’t associate myself with being a woman, but it’s not like nails on the chalkboard to have someone refer to me as ‘she’. For a time, I ironically called myself the miracle girl, but I’ve stopped because I’m the only one getting the irony. And it was a miracle that I survived–as I’ve been told over and over again. I do want to do a children’s comic about a miracle child and their miracle cat. I had imagined it as a miracle girl and her miracle black cat, but, again, I don’t identify as feminine. But I do want to do a story about me and Shadow and how we both should be dead right now. But maybe not with that negative twist. I have no idea how to write a children’s book, but I think it’s a good kernel of an idea.
I was hoping I would escape the whole ‘what are you doing with your life’ talk this time because of the circumstances. Nope. I was not spared. It’s funny. When I first woke up, it was all, “We’re just so grateful you’re alive.” Two months later, it’s, “What have you done lately?” It’s not surprising, but I had hoped to skip the latter part this time. Because, honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. I never have. Most of the time, I just bumble around and do whatever. I don’t have life goals, especially as I am not interested in any of the usual milestones. Getting married. Having children. Promotions at work. Etc. None of that interests me in any way. I realized when I was young that I was a freak and that feeling has only grown stronger over time.
I’ll be brutally honest with you. I never thought I’d live this long. Or rather, I never envisioned myself living this long. There’s a difference. Subtle, but true. When my mother was fifty-five (so, nearly a quarter of a decade ago), i had a flash that I would die at that age. I’m fifty now, so that’s five more years! I’m kidding, of course, because dying twice has wiped out any ideas I’ve ever had about how long I’ll live.
All of this is a really long way of saying I should be dead. Canonically, I’m dead. So these are my bonus days and I consider them as such. I plan to visit Ian and K as soon as possible, but that’s it as far as tangible plans. I want to learn all the weapons, but that’s just ongoing. Oh! So what’s my realization for my fifties?
Now I’m fifty and just went through a life-changing event. What’s my realization for this decade?
That I can’t let fear rule my life. Which I have for most of my life. Facing my own morality really underscored that I only have this one life–what am I going to do with it? 
— Minna Hong (@asiangrrlMN) November 18, 2021
*Not taking into account how pervasive sexism is, of course.