I'm often asked, "How long I've been transitioning or been Debbie?"
Mostly it's on dating sites, women ask if I still have something (really) and then if they've hung around for long enough to continue the conversation after they've realised I'm transgender (even though I'm honesty about it in my profile) - I usually get, "You look great or I would never have guessed!"
I think that there are two obvious ways of responding to this question.
I could say that I've always been Debbie and that the 39 years of being someone else was just a practice or a denial. That I was searching all those years for the courage to be the person I am now.
Or I could say that I've been Debbie since July 2012, because that's when I started to live full time as Debbie.
There are arguments for and against either view - It's my own viewpoint that I've been Debbie for over six years because in the past I was being someone else - or at the very least putting in so much more energy into pretending to be somebody else.
So as I've changed my name, been living successfully for over six years, had my surgery, and on the whole I'm really happy, you'd be comfortable in assuming that I've completed my transition.
I wouldn't say you were totally wrong in having that view because having achieved so much of the above, most people would agree with you.
However our physicality and our daily living only make up part of the person. There are so many more dimensions to a person.
I'm always looking to pursue new learnings, new skills, new challenges. I love pushing myself to the maximum of my abilities and beyond, because if you're not constantly pushing for more then you're just settling. Right?
You're not a tree - so why stay rooted to the same routines, the same things?
For me I'll never be completed.
I'll always yearn and push myself to have new experiences, to learn, to overcome my fears.
As Michelangelo once said, "The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."