When was age is no longer important in your dating life?

There’s a resurrected zombie thread about men dating women older than them and the various ideas around that situation; it’s in this forum and you’ll find it easily. But in reading it I noticed there are people who appear to be of more mature years that state age means little to nothing in the way of their attraction to someone or decision to keep seeing them. I’m one of those people now, for the most part.
What I want to discuss is what age or life event or epiphany informed that decision? What was it that took you from, 'I wouldn’t even consider dating someone who’s ___ years old no matter what." to “If most everything else is great, I couldn’t care less what age they are, so long as they’re legally allowed to date me.”?
For me personally, recently getting past childbearing age made a guy’s age less important, as well as any age difference we had; I’m currently pleased as punch to be coming up on 4 years of dating a guy nearly 16 years my junior. We agree on the most important aspects of our relationship and age doesn’t enter into any of them; ten years ago I wouldn’t have considered him ( or a man that much older than me) a long-term partner. I realized in my 40s what’s actually important in life and what I thought was important before that was really just a useless norm of the circles I was raised in and socialized in. It’s fair to say I outgrew it.

As I said in that thread; age was far less important to me when I was younger than it is now. My attraction is to the mind more than an age but given my own age I have to be a little more realistic about how much of a window I want to accept. Someone much younger than I and maybe have kids when I’ll die before they hit their teens? Not for me. Someone ten years older? Doesn’t seem like that really appeals to me right now either. I wouldn’t rule anything out if something happened to my wife and it became more than a moot point but I am guessing about 5 years either side would be my limit where at 40 I would have answered 20 years.

I wasn’t able to answer in the other thread as they were asking about dating someone older. I’m in the opposite situation.
I lost my wife last year after 40 years of marriage. About three or four months later I ran into a woman that I only vaguely knew. Her father and I had known each other and I had met her once or twice.
We met in a coffee shop and ended up sitting together, reminiscing about my wife and her father. She also brought up the fact that her husband and her were in a marriage that was pretty well dead. I also brought up that I was heading off on a motorcycle trip in a few days by myself. She jokingly asked if she could come along. I jokingly said sure, I’ll be leaving by 9 in the morning.
The night before my trip, she called and asked if there was still room for her on my bike. Still somewhat joking, I said yes.

The next morning she showed up with her helmet and a small bag, and off we went. We were gone for eight or nine days and within a couple of weeks of returning she moved in with me. And she’s still with me.

I’m 69 and she’s 49.

I am 55 years old. It’s been my custom over the years to date around my age with the typical spread having been five years younger to two years older. I was divorced at 42 and had one four year relationship and lots of shorter ones until a year and a half ago.

I put something up on a dating site asking to meet a woman for a certain activity. I clearly stated my age. It was answered by a woman just shy of 20 years younger than I am. I almost declined until I found out that she loves live music just as much as I do. So we met. And I fell head over heals in love. I struggled with how it’s unfair to her and our financial situations make for a power imbalance and I hate to be that guy. But fuck it. I am mindful of the situation. And it’s an amazing relationship.

So here I am in my former bachelor house. With my girlfriend and her 7 and 10 year old daughters. We are going to play Simon Says and then we are going to get burgers. I never would have predicted this in a million years.

So to answer the question in the OP, it was in August of 2017. I just didn’t know it.

There weren’t any epiphanies. Age has never been much of a factor for me.

I also started dating relatively late. Puberty didn’t kick in till my junior year of high school. I basically looked like I was in (or maybe nearing) middle school for most of high school. To add on, my introversion at that point was still expressed as being really shy…really, really shy. In retrospect, anyone my age that would have dated me till later in my junior year would raise serious pedophile flags in my mind now. The only date I had before graduating high school was set up by a female friend who wasn’t going to let me miss prom my senior year.

Working through shyness with dating experience at the middle school level did not make dating in college easy. I also had periods of extra gangly teenager body happening since I was still growing almost all the way through college. I maybe had a handful of total dates before I started seeing my first girlfriend just before I turned 22. She was 18 and in her first year of college so it’s not like we were at the same point in life. That rolled pretty quickly into a whirlwind romance with my best friend (who I was still spending more time with than my first girlfriend). That ended with a short marriage. Tack on a couple years before I was ready to pursue anything remotely serious. I was nearing 30 before I really got around to developing personal rules about dating.

That’s way past the point where people are surrounded by potential partners near their age. It doesn’t surprise me that I didn’t develop rules that would have made dating extra hard.