Chances are, if you are a gay man facing your 50th birthday, you're feeling a wide range of emotions right now -- and none of them good! You feel rejected by gay society, ignored by younger generations coming up. You fear you'll become one of those gay men who ignore the clock and keep living a lifestyle that no longer works for them.
What if I told you that there are just as many compelling reasons to celebrate "aging gaily"?
OK, once you stop laughing, hear me out!
Like the changing seasons, each stage of life has its plusses and minuses. In autumn, you can focus on the cold wind and the shorter days -- or you can light a fire, enjoy the vibrant fall colors and look forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving!
It's just a matter of tweaking your thinking. For every reason to feel like life as you know it has ended, there is an equally compelling reason to embrace your age. It's just a matter of perspective.
So next time you're feeling depressed about your age, remind yourself of these ten advantages of aging gaily, and I guarantee you will feel better!
1. You realize that speaking your mind is empowering. You no longer play games, or present a false self to "fit in." You know who you are, and don't try to change to please others. If some don't accept you for who you are, you know that there are plenty who will.
2. You've had enough "sport sex" and now recognize it for what it is. You don't read more into it. And if you're seeking more than sport, you learn to change your tactics. You've been around enough to know true love almost never happens on Grindr or Adam4Adam.
3. You've seen gorgeous men age badly, and other men actually get better looking with age. You realize that looks are ever-changing, and not as likely to fall for just a pretty face or a hot body. (I looked 35 all my life. Now I've 'grown into' my face and, for the first time ever, people tell me I look younger than my age!)
4. Patience. You finally learn that good things are worth waiting for.
5. In the 70s, it was the Communists. In the 80s, it was nuclear holocaust, and then Japanese takeover of our economy. Now, its Islamic terrorists and Ebola. The media has predicted the end of the world forever. When you stick around long enough, you learn to take all the dire warnings with a boulder of salt.
6. Friends become your family as your blood family grows distant. You learn the true meaning of family -- a group of people who love you, warts and all. You don't have to be uncomfortable, keep secrets or hide your authentic self from your new, true family.
7. Speaking of friends, when you go to bars now, it's to celebrate with friends, not to look for sex. (Ironically, not looking for sex makes you even more desirable!)
8. You no longer have the patience for toxic friendships. You recognize the people who enhance your life, and eliminate those who don't.
9. You learn not to beat yourself up about the mistakes you've made in your life. Instead, you look for the lessons, vow not to make the same mistakes twice and move on.
10. Most importantly, we survived AIDS. We've lived long enough to see gay marriage become a reality! That alone is worth a party! (A lot of our peers weren't so lucky...)
Like coming out, there is nothing to lose and everything to be gained by embracing your age.
Leon Acord is the creator/writer/star of Old Dogs & New Tricks, the comedy web series about middle-aged gay men living in youth-obsessed West Hollywood which begins its third season Nov. 12, 2014. (www.OldDogsNewTricksTheSeries.com)