I feel so happy for young trans people today. One of my nieces works with a young trans woman in her early twenties who, when she found out about me, wondered how I had made it this far without transitioning. It was beyond her ability to comprehend how someone could cope with dysphoria for as long as I have.People my age developed coping skills that these young people don't need to and if transition is what they need there are more support structures than were there for us. Not that every trans person needs to transition, but at least the road blocks today are far fewer if they must.
Coping skills can also lead to denial and my subterfuge was to convince myself that I could get by with as normal a life as possible. I built an intricate pattern of logic as to why I couldn't be trans or was just a crossdresser who needed to stop.
Someone like me can be happy today because by putting down all that baggage you simply are relieved by comparison to the life you had before. So while this young trans woman could see my life as a wasted opportunity I see it as having made my way through a very challenging situation in an era that wasn't the least bit welcoming.