Real talk – you don’t become a Bachelor Uncle without things having gone extremely wrong at some point in your life. There’s a reason Bachelor Uncles revel in nostalgia and pure expressions of dopamine releases. Whether it’s sex, or gadgets, or technology, or cool lamps, or the neon glow of an arcade – we yearn for better days that never happened.
The problem with hindsight isn’t that it’s 20/20 – it’s that it fills you with regret for things you had no control over. You can’t judge your past with what you know now. You can only think about those mistakes in the wee hours of a mid-week morning when you should be doing anything else.
There is real profound loss in figuring things out too late. There’s pain in standing in the puddle of your lost potential, forced to come to grips with the yawning expanse of a destined life you’ll never get to live. Bachelor Uncles are inherent fuck ups. But not terminal fuck-ups. We eventually figure it out, usually, just barely, too late to do anything about it.
And so we begin our second acts. A cobbled together mosaic of life lessons, small bits of real insight, and the quiet resignation of acceptance. This is who you are now. And you’re thankful for it, because it’s the best you’ve ever been. It’s the best your life has ever been and yet…
Nostalgia is a strong pull, not because of some wonderful childhood memory that we want to hold onto forever, but because these objects become talisman. We cobble together an idealized version of a past that never came to be, and if we squint hard enough, and blur the edges just right, maybe we can step through our carefully curated sets and conjure forth the version of ourselves we were always meant to be.
And some of us do. But no matter how hard we try, no matter how great we become – the fact remains – we’re always too late. Our idealized selves cast long, distinct and dark shadows that we cannot outrun.
So we laugh. We are quick with a joke. We learn to cook and to flirt and to not take things too seriously. We learn to get shit done, and march to the beat of our own drum. We buy corduroy pants and sleep on waterbeds. We drive vintage muscle cars and always make time to tell someone that they’re beautiful.
Over time we learn to accept that who we are, isn’t who we were supposed to be, and that it’s okay. By being someone else entirely, we can cast off the expectations of others and fully embrace the weird and different. There is power in this. There will always be power here.
Bachelor Uncles are not who we were meant to be. In many real ways, we are, simply, what is left of us. And on most days – that is more than enough.