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Gay Age vs. Calendar Age

06/12/2012

Late bloomers often have a problem with age. And it’s not simply the normal concern/chagrin over getting older, though that can certainly play a part here. It’s more a feeling of being out of synch. Not being where one is supposed to be at the age one is.

It can feel this way because coming out is (with apologies to my evangelical friends) like being born again. The old man has gone away and the new gay man has emerged. But, the new man is totally inexperienced.

Sometimes, that can make a guy feel like a five-year-old in a 45-year-old body. As one friend of mine puts it, “I just feel so incredibly juvenile in all this. Everyone else is in the fast lane, and I’m not even on the access ramp.” It’s enough to make a newly-out late bloomer shrink from the social activities and opportunities coming out affords him. The very things that will help him grow into gay adulthood.

So, a few thoughts on this …

One: These feelings are completely normal and natural. I certainly had them. Nothing to beat yourself up about. Roll with it.

Two: Don’t get paralyzed. You simply have to get busy and into your new life if coming out is going to be worth the effort and pain it costs. Stay in the house, and you might as well have stayed in the closet.

I know this can be scary. But it’s like learning to ride a bicycle, or skydive. The only way to do it is to just do it. Eventually you get the hang of it. Or, in the case of being a late bloomer who feels like a baby, eventually, you grow up.

Three: Don’t get carried away either. I’ve known a couple of late bloomers who went absolutely berserk with sex and partying. They had a tendency to make themselves look a little foolish and a lot juvenile. And after a while they got pretty burned out. Too much of a good thing is … too much.

So how do you walk the line between paralysis and hyperactivity? How do you “grow up” as quickly, but safely and sanely as you can?

Self-knowledge is key – knowing who you are, who you want to be and where you want to go. Know and accept the facts: You are gay even though you didn’t acknowledge it publicly (or even to yourself) for a long time; you are a youngster in your new life; and, there’s nothing unusual or wrong about this state of affairs. Work from that platform. Decide where you want to go with your new life and go there.

And right up there with self-knowledge is self-regard – absolutely essential to growing into your new life successfully. Love yourself enough to forgive yourself for past mistakes. Believe that you are worthy of a great new life. Believe it enough to go out and get it despite feeling like you’re in over your head.

Coming to self-knowledge and self-regard can be easier said than done. A good therapist and/or peer group helps. A solid spiritual connection helps. A community of gay friends helps, too. As does the simple fact of the passage of time.

There are other tools as well. I consult with late bloomers on redefining their personal brand so their new gay identity is clearly defined and poised for success.

All these things help.

But eventually the answers are up to you. It takes a little courage and a fair amount of practice. But you’ll get there.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 06/12/2012 10:19 AM

    Great piece! The “born again” reference works well. In fact, I think it’s spot on- e.g. growing along spiritual lines; growing into the “spiritual clothes” that are currently don’t fit or are awkward; being “born from above”; claiming ones Belovedness. Yes, it works! Thanks, David.

    • 06/12/2012 10:59 AM

      Glad you like it, friend! Thanks for saying so.

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