Tag Archives: gay baby boomers

I’m Not Walking 6 Miles!

If you read the On the Gay Horizon newsletter, you know that my co-publisher announced in this week’s issue that we would be doing the AIDS Walk New York again this year. Didn’t ask me. Just proceeded to include in her fitness piece that I would begin, today, training for the 6.2 mile walk. Being the calm, reasonable person that I am, I believe my response was something like….

Are you nuts?!?!? We’re not going to publish that and publicly commit me to doing that again!” 

“Did you, or did you not, publicly proclaim that you are following the Fit in a Year prescriptions? What better motivator than this year’s AIDS Walk?”

“Well, yes, I may have said that. But I didn’t mean it. I never see these people and I only see you a couple times a year, so who was gonna know? That 6 miles just about killed me last year. I’m not doing it again.”

Sometimes you just have to stand your ground.

I was firm — “Do I have to?”

I was resolute — “Uh, well, I don’t know. What about next year?”

I was strong — “Please don’t make me do it!”

And so we discussed it like mature adults and reached an equitable compromise. New York in May it is! In fact, I only have a couple minutes here. I’m due to go walk around the block about a hundred times. Training, you know.

There is a moral to this story — be discerning when you choose your friends! If puttering around is your idea of about how rigorous you like your physical activity, don’t hang out with a personal trainer. But honestly, how was I supposed to know? I met her at a writer’s conference, not a health nut convention! She may have mentioned something about being fitness-obsessed but I probably wasn’t paying any attention. I just thought she was cute.

How many times has that gotten me into trouble…

Seriously, though, last year’s AIDS Walk in New York City was an incredible experience! We walked with about 50,000 people through Central Park and then along the Hudson River. And we raised a ton of money — over 7 million dollars! Join us and Team On the Gay Horizon as we do it again this year!

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JFK to Rick Warren

I have few memories of JFK before those surrounding his death. The doings of presidents meant little to a twelve year old back in 1963. But I remember exactly where I was the moment I heard that he had been shot. And I bet that most of you do, too. That’s a connection we will always share.

From then on he became “our president”. Who knows if he would have had a successful administration. Maybe — maybe not. What we do know is that he became a symbol for a new generation. And that symbol was immortalized in the words “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

When did we turn our backs on that sentiment? When did we decide that we have to go on the offensive every time something doesn’t go our way? When did it become about me instead of about us? Or am I being naive and its always been that way?

I know that Rick Warren was a poor choice for the inaugeration. But let’s face it, Barrack Obama has repeatedly said that it is his belief that we can disagree about certain issues but still find some common ground to work together. We are not going to like all of his choices — and neither is anyone else. Wouldn’t it be better to give him a chance to at least get sworn in before we judge what kind of a president he is?

Besides, if you think about it for a minute, which religious leader could have been chosen for the invocation that would have met with eveyone’s approval? Ah…maybe that should be the focus of some of this dispute.  There shouldn’t be an invocation during the inaugeration. No matter who does it — no matter what they say — a large number of American citizens will be offended and feel as if their beliefs are not being honored. That’s the whole point of separation of church and state.

I think we’re a little scared. We’ve allowed ourselves to believe that it was our turn to take our equal place in society. We got bruised pretty badly in November. Now, we’re wondering if Obama said all the things we wanted to hear so that we would help get him elected.

Personally…..I’m still hopeful. I’m still excited about the inaugeration. If Rick Warren starts spouting religious hogwash, there’s always the volume control button on my remote.

This is going to be my president — I’ve waited a long eight years for him to get here.

Sometimes a Dime is Worth More Than Ten Cents

My partner saved dimes. I don’t know why. But they didn’t weigh much or take up a  lot of space, and it was one of those small things that made her happy. So, we filled jars and tins — until we would hit one of those really rough stretches. Then we would make lots of little stacks, count them and cash them in. She never seemed to mind having to spend them and sooner or later we would start filling containers again.

This morning, as I was about to get in my car, I spied a shiny dime in the grass right next to the driver’s door. My immediate reaction, before the rational side of my brain kicked in, was that it was a gift. A little sign that she’s still around and that she knows I’m having kind of a tough time. Knows I’m struggling with some decisions about moving on and that she’s giving her blessing.

Naturally, that other part of my brain wanted to make the case that I had simply dropped the dime getting out of the car last night and it meant nothing. I thought about that for a moment. Certainly more rational. But…

You see, I’ve never believed that anything was meaningless. Or that something could be explained away as coincidence. Meaning comes from within each of us — it’s how we choose to respond, interpret, react to what we encounter in life.

Finding that little dime gave me an instantaneous shot of happiness. Whether I dropped it or it appeared for some other reason is irrelevant. The result, the meaning for me, was the same. It put me in touch with what I already know — the awareness that it doesn’t matter whether I’m making the “right” decision or not. It’s simply time for me to make some sort of movement forward.

And that I’ve always had her blessing — no matter what — and that I will always take it with me, no matter where I go.

Maybe I’ll hang on to the dime. Just in case I forget…..

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.

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.