From the Editor: Grow Old Along with Me
Happy Pride Weekend! The month-long celebration of Pride in the Twin Cities is hitting its peak this weekend. I can’t wait to get out there and see everyone at one of the many events listed in this issue. Though there are many reasons for tension in our lives in recent days and months considering the horror in Charleston, the open discussions regarding Caitlyn Jenner and transgender persons, and the decision from the Supreme Court of the United States regarding marriage in the bounds, we can also come together and celebrate what is good. Together, we can. Together, we must.
I always have a long-lasting afterglow following each of our Pride issues. Because the Pride issue is what our magazine would look like if advertisers chose to be in the magazine all year ‘round, we get to include pretty much all of the editorial topics in one publication. Sure, there is special Pride-specific content, but most of it is what we already include…just more of it and all in one place. With more coverage comes more of the diversity that is within the community.
One of the areas of diversity in this community that is less often seen is the senior contingency. As people get older, they are less visible. Whether it’s because of retirement, or lack of ease in travel, or simply wanting to stay put, the demographic group of seniors tends to fade away. We’re trying to buck that trend in these Senior Living issues and pull people more to the fore.
I sometimes get guff for asking people if they’d like to be a part of one of our senior issues…because, guess what, people don’t necessarily like to be considered elderly. Big shock there. Again, mea culpa. Now that the National Senior Games lists “senior” as being 50+, I’m not going to be nearly as sheepish about it. Wear your years proudly. You deserve to. And, when I see articles about who else is joining the 50+ club this year, your company includes the Hollywood Brat Pack members like Sarah Jessica Parker, Charlie Sheen, and Robert Downey Jr. Fifty is not old. Fifty is still mid-stride. Some of the people in that Brat Pack crowd lived a hard life for a while there and I wouldn’t have guessed that they would make it to 50; considering that they could have another almost-half life left on this earth, it’s mind-boggling.
What’s also mind-boggling is how I often hear that a gay man’s life is over at 30. That is complete bullshit and we all know it. What we need to embrace are the renaissances of our lives. We will be reborn a number of times. Add a person. Subtract a person. Change careers. Join a club. Start working out. See faraway lands. Get a pet. Sell your car. Start protesting. Run for office. Play sports again.
The 2015 National Senior Games are in town this July. If that isn’t one big advertisement for life after 50, I don’t know what is. In the piece about the Games later in the issue, Jan Furuli talks about how she was slowing down and that was unacceptable to her, so she stopped it. She started playing sports again and improved her quality of life in a number of ways. Also proof of life after 50 is Lily Tomlin. Lily’s in town. She’s on our cover. She’ll be on stage at Orchestra Hall. She’s proof that it gets better. No, we can’t all be Lily Tomlin, but we can look to her as an example of what life can look like as we age past 50. A recent marriage, a hit show, and more on the horizon, Lily is in a renaissance with her humor intact and I am so grateful for it.
When I think of what my future will be like, I hope it’s more like Lily’s or Jan’s lives. I want to get up every morning with a role and a reason, I want to be engaged and working. I don’t want to fear how everything in my life might change as I get older. Reading about “How Can I Afford Senior Living?” later in this issue was eye-opening for me. As someone who is single and aging out of the time when I might have my own kids, my future might only involve myself. I’m not unique; there are many of us who might be hoping that our nieces and nephews don’t forget us as we move into senior communities in 20–30 years. It is a less-frightening prospect the more we know. But, before then, to walk that path with our parents will be eye-opening as well. Though mine came home one day with an announcement that should’ve had a big bow on it (“We now have long-term care insurance! You’re welcome!”), there will be much to learn in the years ahead. Our parents never stop teaching us; if we’re fortunate to still have them in our lives, it’s up to us to take notice.
It’s also up to us to be there for each other. My age group is moving from the time when we lose our grandparents to the time when we lose our parents. Then, we’ll lose each other. The more diverse in age my friends are, the more life and loss there is for me to experience with them. Life and loss…and love. Never forget the love.
With you, with thanks, and with love,