As happens fairly often, a comment made on someone else's post forms the nucleus of a related post of one's own.
Calie of Calie's Chronicles (http://calietg.blogspot.com/) had written a post (Uncorking the Demons) about how deeply upset she'd been by a film called Normal, watched at home on her own while her wife was away. I've not seen it, but I have to say it sounded unbearable to watch, and I don't think I could have stood it. Part of Calie's post lamented the position of those who have to transition later in life, rather than in their teens, and therefore have to cope with such things as a hopelessly compromised body, and close family ties that mean too much to needlessly harm them. This was my comment:
You have a big, big reason for sitting on your gender dysphoria, Calie, and managing it as best you can; but I do worry that one day it will get unbearable for you. Your reactions to the film show how much pressure is inside.
I too wish that I had transitioned donkeys years ago, except for three things.
First, the hormones have worked wonders on my ugly face, and I've learned many of the supporting tricks and techniques that let people see you as female even if the face isn't pretty: so I can get by very well. I think so can anyone else who believes that they could never ever pass.
Second, the surgery has evolved and is definitely better now that it used to be: that's an important consolation.
Third: being older means that many of the social pressures that would complicate and subdue a young transitioner's life no longer obtain. For instance, I don't have to be attractive and play the dating game. I don't have to be sad about not being able to have a baby. I don't have to prostrate myself to get on in a career. There are no older family members to control me. I can bring maturity and garnered wisdom and realistic expectations and mental stamina to bear on any difficulty. I can be assertive and get my way, knowledgably insisting on my rights, browbeating people if I have to, certainly facing them down if it's their opinion or mine that must prevail. In short, when young I was unsure of myself and afraid. But not now, especially not after finding my true self through transition.
I am not advocating transition, only saying that it may become inevitable, and that if it does, then an older transitioner may enjoy some practical advantages over someone younger.
Mind you, there is one big snag: not much lifetime left. Nobody can fix that.
Let me hasten to say that I've not actually 'browbeaten' anybody yet! But I would certainly do so if something vital depended on having my wishes met. Such as insisting on seeing a particular doctor. Or the manager at a supermarket or restaurant if something bad had happened, and I wanted to speak to the person who really could sort it all out. (Wow, what a change: the old me was so submissive and feeble)
As you can see, late transitioners - if you share my point of view - do have something going for them. Even at 60 or so, it's so worth doing. But I'll be the first to agree that it's best to transition young, as soon as possible in fact, and enjoy a long lifetime of femaledom without remedial surgery, and with lots of time for every female experience available.
There must be quite a lot of late transitioners out there. I wonder how each has fared. The risk of being left jobless way before retirement must be very high. Ditto the risk of losing family and friends, and of encountering prejudice and various petty humiliations. Such was my own nightmare as soon as I realised that I had to transition. It was a fearful vision of social ostracism, impoverishment and physical danger.
I was lucky. I came through it unscathed, if that's the right word when you lose both parents, your partner, a host of other people, and all your life's savings. But at least I wasn't emotionally scarred. In a strange way (and it feels like a cliche to say so) I feel stronger, better balanced, much more able to face challenges. It's no longer 'I can't'. It's 'Yes, I could do this - any reason why I shouldn't?' I've not become reckless, but I've moved from Planet Do Nothing to Planet Get On With It. That would be regarded as completely 'out of character' by anyone who thought they knew the old me inside out.
Calie's situation is obviously far from unique, and must strike a chord with a large number of people, possibly most. But some MTFs do carry their families with them. For example, Jane Fae of Jane Fae's Blog (http://janefae.wordpress.com/). I'm not competent to say why some have easier rides than others. But there must be some lessons to be learned. That's why we should all pool our experiences.