As Time Goes By

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I’ve been running a campaign asking men how they feel about ageing. Is ageing really harder for gay men? Is that just a myth? Based on the number of men talking about their struggles it is at least partly true. But, there are a lot of guys who’ve been talking about how well they’re embracing getting older.

Attitude is the main difference between them. While both the positive, and negative, perspectives on ageing are diverse the men who feel they can benefit from the process are faring much better.

Robi Ludwig in “Your Best Age is Now”, addresses the myths that surround ageing. She makes a great case continuing  to develop, and thrive, no matter how old we are. There are many parallels between how women, and gay men, perceive getting older. We are being culturally pressured to stay young-looking for as long as possible.

With so much pressure to stay young many many are struggling. Many of us want to be boys who don’t grow up. This “Peter Pan complex” is the source of many challenges in gay culture. But, very few of us want to deal with the issue. If we are to redefine what is means to get older as gay men we need to start with growing up.

We lost huge population of men who would be in their fifties to seventies during the early days of AIDS. This missing generation has literally robbed our community of its elders. Perhaps if there were more of us we would have a better chance of changing how we think about older gay men. Our greatest hope for change are the generation X men who are quickly approaching fifty. They may exert enough force to redefine the way we look at ageing.

What would embracing getting older in a healthy way look like? It will start with shifting your perspective. Along with the challenges that ageing inevitably brings, there are positive shifts. We understand ourselves, and the world better. We’re more stable and comfortable in our own skin. We start to embrace a deeper set of values focusing less on the superficial things.

One of the most important shifts to make as we age is focusing more on quality of life,  on healthy body, and mind. By the time we’re approaching forty our personal care regime needs to be focused on staying strong and healthy more than on looking youthful, which will come as a side benefit anyway.

Mid life is a blessing that many of miss out on as we endlessly chase youth. For most,  it is the most successful period in life both personally, and professionally. It is a time to reorient ourselves to life, take stock, and prepare for what’s next. As we live longer, and work longer this will become critical. We don’t relate to retirement the way our parents did. We’ll either stay in our careers much longer, or have a plan to live the dreams we couldn’t when we were younger. I don’t intend to spend what may well be the last half of my life feeling like life is over  because someone else thinks I should. I hope you don’t either.

Here are some links to groups for older gay and bi men where you can find support and camaraderie if you’re looking for it.

Check out the numerous MeetUps for Gay Seniors. 

Find a local or regional chapter of Prime Timers on the Prime Timers World Wide Site

Check out the Age of Diversity site for groups for older gay renin the UK.

Stradivarius the site for older gay men in the UK

Take a look at SAGE services and advocacy for GLBT elders.

Or take a look at Google to find special interest and local organizations aimed at older gay men and their admirers.

 

More from Gay Guru

Our Role as Elders

The Age Divide

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