Tag Archives: gay aging

Moving Forward

We’ve spent quite a bit of time discussing “big pictures” — politics, economy, equal rights. As the New Year unfolds, we will be revisiting those topics as well as others that affect us as a community. So, what do you say, for a few moments, we narrow the focus to our own individual selves?

What do I want for 2009? For me, personally.

My situation is a little different. Losing a life partner is pretty much the same as losing your life. It simply no longer exists. When people suggest it’s time to “snap out of it” or “get back to normal”, I’m sure they mean well, but they have no idea what they’re saying. There is no normal to go back to. Everything has changed, and it will never be the same again.

Okay, so it’s taken me over two years to figure that out. Now what?

Seems to me that there are only a couple of choices — since there’s no going back, there is only standing still or moving forward. I’ve tried standing still, and it served its function. I was certainly not capable of making any decisions. But now I think I’m ready to try moving forward.

If you read the OTGH newsletter, you know that we are kicking off 2009 with a special program designed to encourage changes that will have a significant impact on our reader’s health and fitness levels — gradually, one small step each week of the year. This program is being developed and presented by my co-publisher. Not only is she a personal trainer, fitness instructor and owner of a fitness studio, she is the real deal. I’ve been in her kitchen — everything’s organic and comes from a health food store. There’s not a partially hydrogenated fat or molecule of high fructose corn syrup to be found (trust me, I looked). No sodas in the fridge (except when I’m there) and if you ask for a glass of water, you’ll get it at room temperature.

I know — how can you listen to such a person? Well, she’s in her mid-fifties, looks at least ten years younger, teaches athletes how to run properly and took up roller blading last year. But! Lest you think this is someone you wouldn’t be able to relate to I will share a little secret — I was driving the day we had to try at least four exits on the way to South Carolina because of the search for a Krispy Kreme doughnut. And it wasn’t for me!

So, I’m thinking this is a great opportunity to give my “moving forward” plan a head start. I would just as soon no one mentioned to her that I’m going to be following her suggestions — she would just pester me about it. But by this time next year I can either be healthier — or not. Seems like kind of a no-brainer. Maybe I’ll even share my progress and thoughts on the process in the newsletter.

How about you? What kind of year is 2009 going to be for you? Are you going to buy into the doom and gloom permeating everything we hear and read? Or are you going to choose to move forward on your own path?

Its always a choice, you know — your choice.

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Frisky Business in Wal-Mart

The Human Rights Coalition recently published their Buying for Equality Guide 2009. Not surprisingly, Wal-Mart received a pitiful score, and HRC recommends that we shop elsewhere.

Not a problem for me.

I’ve avoided Wal-Mart since my partner passed away a couple years ago. I don’t know if straight folks can relate, but I’m sure most of you have your own “Wal-Marts”. You know those intoxicatingly energized weeks, months — years, if you’re lucky — right after getting into a new relationship? When you can’t stand to not be touching, but you’re out in public where that’s frowned on? So, you … improvise?

We lived in rural areas for the first few years, so we spent a lot of time in Wal-Mart. A lot of highly charged, playful, nobody-in-the-world-but-us time. I can remember being in the towel aisle of Wal-Mart, in nowhere Louisiana, and knowing that I wouldn’t trade places with anyone, anywhere. Talk about being in the now!

I hope everyone has those moments. But I still can’t go back to Wal-Mart.

From the looks of their score in the HRC buying guide, it may never be an issue.

Welcome to the Gay Horizon!

What are the odds of ending up here, you and me? Seriously, in your wildest imaginings, as you were growing up, would you have ever thought connecting with other gay folks could be this simple?

Not that we haven’t always recognized each other. As gay baby boomers, I know more about you, without ever meeting, than I do about people I’ve interacted with for years. And you know the same about me. We may not have always marched together, but we share the same travel memories….

The crippling isolation and shame of our childhoods. The courage to overcome the fear of walking into our first gay bar. The indescribable joy of that first connection and discovering that there were others just like us. That star-burst moment we stopped hiding and, wonder of wonders, someone saw us for who we really are and loved us even more. That tiny spark, hiding, unbeknownst to us, deep within, suddenly igniting as hope! Getting back up, again and again, as “they” try to push us back into invisibility. Becoming a family.

Not everyone made it. We’ve suffered more than our share of casualties along the way.  I doubt that anyone will ever know just how many. Gentle souls, simply unable or unwilling to go on. Whether by AIDS, suicide or choosing to live a life not truly their own — the result was a form of death. 

We can grieve for them even as we celebrate that we are survivors! And recognize that we are ready to step off into a future where truly no one has gone before. GLBT baby boomers moving toward retirement years with no intention of fading back into the closet — with very little thought about retiring at all. We’re just now coming into our own and the party is just getting started!  It won’t be winding down anytime soon.

So, what does the future hold for us?  What is on the gay horizon? Stick around. Let’s find out together.