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Queer Shift

Age 40 and lists – Shift

Being an aging gay man can stir up tremendous feelings, emotions and change. A lot of gay men find turning 40 frightening. In fact, having worked with SAGE Utah the last three years, we developed a category called ‘Pre-Sage,’ which is for gay men 40-50; our hope was to allow them a gradual and smooth decade of transition before hitting the Sage age of 50. It seems to be working, and for that I am happy. As we gay men age—our wisdom, experience, opportunities become more plentiful and diverse. I recently read an article on QUEERTY entitled “40 Things Every Gay Man Should Do Before Turning 40,” Here’s half the list they suggested, and the link if you wish to read all 40 things every gay man should do before turning 40.

Dress up in drag.
Dress up in leather.
Accept that you will never have sex with Jake Gyllenhaal.
Donate to The Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, Gay Men’s Health Crisis or other gay advocacy organization.
Expand your horizons. Find a fetish.
Stop wearing T-shirts that are two sizes too small.
Date someone that is at least 10 years older than you.
Date someone that is at least 5 years younger than you.
Stop being afraid of lesbians.
Go to therapy.
Have sex on a beach, in a park, in an elevator, on a roof, in a car, in the desert, and your parent’s house.
Volunteer at an LBGT Senior Center. (SAGE)
Stay friends with a former lover.
Have sex in a foreign country.
Make peace with your parents.
Know your status. Get an HIV test.
Fall in love.
Take your boyfriend home for the family Thanksgiving.
Stop manscaping everything.


Well, for those of you who know me, these types of lists are fun, informative and enjoyable to see whether I agree with the items listed or not. So, I got to thinking why not a list of “40 Things Every Gay Man Should Do After Turning 40.” Why the hell not. Life is NOT over at 40. Fact: gay men and their ridiculous obsession with youth, beauty, body image and appearance can be exhausting. Exhausting if you are observing the absurd behaviors in others or even worse in yourself. Age 40+ is hot, happening, and full of hope. So here’s my list of 40 things all gay men should do after turning 40. Love it. Hate it. Agree or disagree, however please consider the benefits and joy in all the many phases of your life, and attract and allow the best life you can for yourself regardless of your age. Gay men are unique, different, incomparable and we make the world better with all we have to offer.

Over 40 possibilities:
1. Travel to your dream destination(s).
2. Tell everyone how much you love them, in words, writing, and especially things you do for them.
3. Take living parents and grandparents out to dinner, grab the vital moments telling them how you feel.
4. Spend a whole day with your dog.
5. Take a day without any technology.
6. Have no regrets (“Non, rien de rien, Non, je ne regrette rien”)
7. Embrace your age, this one thing is at the top of possessing self-worth.
8. Intergenerational connection, collaboration, cooperation, it’s your job to understand and to educate yourself—about those who are younger and queer.
9. Volunteer for an organization other than an LGBTQ one.
10. Read W.H. Auden, e.e. Cummings, Walt Whitman, Edward Albee, William S. Burroughs. Know your gay writers, authors, historians, contributors.
11. Stop having patience for arrogance, ego and elitism in others and in yourself.
12. Know your legendary drag queens, such as Divine, Dame Edna, Sherry Vine, Joey Arias, and others. Love RuPaul, but she didn’t come first—share that with younger gay men will you?
13. Know your pivotal Gay Movement Points, Civil Rights, Political History, and talk about it to Millennials with conviction and passion.
14. Finally learn to cook, I’m talking gourmet; entertain, share life with others.
15. Create a What Makes Life Worth Living list, and then read and partake weekly.
16. Concerts, opera, theatre, ballet, symphonies. Go if you haven’t; take a young gay man if you are a connoisseur, and talk about the experience afterward.
17. Watch Internet porn and literally fry your right nostril from amyl nitrate.
18. Live each day, week, year, as though it were your last.
19. Dress your age. Seriously.
20. If not already there, get your ass once and forever to authenticity.
21. Dating and marriage—if you’ve figured it out congratulations, and if not, fast track your learning curve.
22. Fitness, yoga, gym, jump start your metabolism. Get essential checkups.
23. Diet. A simple game plan that ensures a lifetime of health and happiness. Eat breakfast. Pump up protein, (I’m not referring to masturbation.)
24. Schedule a colo-rectal examination with your doctor. (pretend it’s a date)
25. Deconstruct drinking, drugs and dick, and find a balance—Fast. Aging is a bitch, accept that. However, slug the bitch daily, every way you can.
26. Full tilt push self-spirituality as defined by you. (Religion, only if you need it.)
27. Perform, create art, cook, teach or take a class, get into planting and gardening.
28. Create a list of 10 things you will learn to do, and go after that list!
29. If married, add spice, variety, difference. Be adventurous with your partner or spouse.
30. If single, put yourself out there, and in several different ways.
31. Donate to causes, people and organizations you trust, believe in and see results from.
32. Go to therapy.
33. Rediscover your fear of lesbians. Keep those in your life that are part of your true chosen family. : )
34. Eliminate, delegate, simplify.
35. Narrow and value your list of friends. Share your life with the best, the others find a way to become less committed.
36. Don’t become a Facebook addict, and don’t post mundane shit that only makes you look and sound lonely, desperate or seeking pity.
37. Beware of Grindr, Growler, Prowler, Jack’d, Scruff. Limit your intake.
38. Explore the dark side of sex, if you haven’t done so already by the age of 40. If you have, consider winding it down to quality sex. Find the balance of what you need. Get tested, know your status.
39. Know your wines, the whole spectrum, from white zinfandel to a dark, robust cabernet. Be a snob. Enjoy.
40. COMING OUT never ends. Do it with aplomb.

Thanks for reading the ramblings of a well over 40 gay man. Give me some feedback if you disagree or agree. I love feedback.

About the author

Charles Lynn Frost

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