Someone once told me “being gay is a sport for the young”. Well, I’ve never been much of a sports fan so I’m happy to stand on the sidelines and watch you young people compete for the attention. It’s no secret that I am the oldest contestant to ever appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race, which was highlighted by a certain Puerto Rican queen, and that I wear my age proudly. Many people and several news organizations implied and insinuated “ageism” as factor in my premature elimination from the show. Doubtful since Ru is older than me, but clearly gay culture is youth-obsessed. So where does that leave those geriatric fossils like me? I’ll tell you, in a great place!
First of all, I don’t think that gay men are any more youth-obsessed than the general population, but I fear that the younger generations lack appreciation for what older folks have accomplished. I grew up gay in a time where we lived in fear for our safety, in fear of losing the love of our families, and with no public role models. It was a time of great shame and emotional darkness, and there were few community leaders brave enough to make a public stand against the legal and social injustices that we faced. Young and old people today owe a sincere debt of gratitude to the people who fought for their rights to exist in public, to work without fear of retribution, and to marry the ones that they love.
Besides acknowledging and celebrating our past I want all the little wrinkle-fearing queens out there to know a little secret; life actually gets better the older you are! There are many great benefits to ageing, here are just a few:
- You just don’t give a f*#k! By late middle age most of life’s great obstacles and challenges have been faced and conquered. There’s no more worrying about what might happen, or how you’re going to achieve something…it’s already been done.
- Looks aren’t everything. But by this point in your life you can afford the best in fillers, Botox, or other cosmetic procedures. And, you’ve finally mastered those amazing filters for selfies on your phone. And who cares if you put on a little weight, Eat! And eat well!
- Bedtime, 9:00pm. No more long days trying to recover from last night’s party. You can sleep as much or as little as you like. Plenty of rest, plenty of time to spend with that retirement fund.
- Dressing for comfort. Forget the leg-numbing skinny jeans and overpriced designer goods. I intend to spend my retirement in vintage kimonos, a nice turban, and lambs wool slippers. Who cares what anyone thinks about me anymore.
- Be the Crazy Old Person. I look forward to saying inappropriate things, farting in public, and using my perceived senility to cut to the front of the queue and have nice young men carry things for me. I’ll probably keep a wheelchair and walker around just to milk as much sympathy as possible.
So trust me gay people, ageing is a gift. Embrace it. Own it. Spend some time listening to, and learning from someone older and wiser. I try to live my life in a way that makes me happy and healthy, but I’m hoping to morph into that wise old queen that people look to for advice. Wisdom is not knowledge, but how you use it. Never stop learning. And remember to love yourself, live your truth, and you’re never too old to dream!
Article by Tempest DuJour