Wow, time flies. My children are adults now and one is married. I could be a grandfather soon.
I’m still getting it in and enjoying life in my early 50’s but realize my time on Earth is limited. And I have a a wide range of friends in my age group experiencing the same thing.
So here is my advice on how to grow older as a gay man with grace, style and dignity:
GET YOUR FINANCES STRAIGHT: The lifespan of the average American is now 79 years, up from just under 70 in 1960. So odds are you will live longer than your parents and grandparents. You should make sure your money stretches longer too. While you are in your 50’s and still earning start paying down bills so that debt doesn’t drag down your retirement income. And start adopting habits you will probably have to as you age. These including cooking more at home, cutting back the cable bill and learning how to entertain yourself for less (try attending minor league events with lower ticket prices, concerts in the park, and free art galleries). Also, AARP is your friend. My partner Van and I use their discounts for the movies, hotels and rental cars.
WATCH YOUR HEALTH: People over age 50 are still having a hell of a lot of sex (like yours truly) and account for 17 percent of people getting HIV. My doctor got me on PrEP (which blocks HIV infection) because I am sexually active and I recommend you get regular checkups for STDs (doctors recommend every three months if you are sexually active) and get routine general health checkups done. Many illnesses that men get (colon and prostate cancer) can be treated well if detected early.
EAT HEALTHY AND EXERCISE: Face it, many men let themselves go to seed when they get older. They get the big stomachs and gain 20 pounds every five years. You don’t have to be a stereotypical gay gym bunny. It’s the little things that count. Take regular walks. Get a bicycle and use it sometimes. Drop the sodas and limit the alcohol and drink lots of water. Eat more healthy. Don’t give up meat entirely but try to consume more fish and try going vegetarian several days a week. It pays off. I attended my 35th high school reunion this fall and everyone was complimenting me on still having that small waist and no gut. Sure, I will never be a size 29-inch waist again but it sure is nice to be able to see my dick when I look down.
EXPAND YOUR SEXUAL REPERTOIRE: Sex lowers blood pressure, releases pleasurable endorphins, relieves stress and is good for mental well-being. So have sex albeit safely. And mix it up — and break the routine and try something new. Keep the dick hard — if you have erectile issues there are several medications that can help you. Consult your doctor and get them.
VOLUNTEER: Stay engaged in helping others, especially the younger generation of LGBTQ coming up after you.
KEEP YOUR DRAG TOGETHER: Dress stylishly but not too trendy, which can make you appear ridiculous and like you are trying too hard to still look 25. Wear clothes that are fitted, even if you are heavier. Loose, baggy clothes can make you look stockier and dated. Keep your hair (not just head and facial hair but also pubic) trimmed and neat. Moisturize and again drink plenty of water, which makes your skin appear more supple and younger.
CULTIVATE YOUNGER FRIENDS: Stop hanging around with just a bunch of fuddy duddies. Younger people can school you on the latest electronics, music, fashion, TV series etc. Thanks to younger friends in their 20s (Hey TC and CW!) and I have learned about the Cash App and Cardi B and a lot of other things.