Last year I joined a few sessions of a local self-help or therapy group. It soon became apparent it was not for me, or indeed anyone in my age group. Discussions about careers and ambitions featured heavily, as did such things as relationships and love interests. As I have retired from work, never had any real personal ambitions, and any relationships or love interests are in the past I left the group.
As I approach my 66th birthday I realize how my perspectives have changed as I grow older. No longer do I spend a lot of my spare time trying to change the world by joining political parties or going on demonstrations. Having seen a lot of my dreams for improving the world fail, or at least stall indefinitely, I now feel I can best contribute by sharing some of the things I’ve learnt over the past 7 decades (I’m actually living in my 8th decade as I was born in the mid 1940s).
There’s a Jerry Lee song which contains the line: ‘I never see much of the old gang anymore’. This is poignant as it reminds me of the ‘old gang’ who used to attend parties thrown by my partner and me, so many of them passed over to Spirit. My partner George along with Lenny, Noel, Brian, Freddie, Marion, Sheila, Roy, Charlie. Bob’s in a retirement home, Stanley we lost contact with. Only Tom remains in contact, his partner Norman also passed to Spirit. Frank, Lenny’s partner, remains in contact – but Norman and Frank were never party animals so didn’t come to our parties.
In the entertainment field so many of the people I like have passed to Spirit – too many to list here. This includes film stars, singers and drag artists. The current ones in all these fields rarely hold much interest for me. The few that survive make infrequent appearances sometimes, but are long past their heyday and often shadows of their former selves.
If all this sounds depressing, it shouldn’t because it is a natural occurrence. Those of us fortunate enough to reach our 60s and beyond find many of our friends, relatives and acquaintances gone on before us, if we’ve been lucky we have done a lot of the things we wanted to do, paid work is probably far behind us and we have taken on other interests and responsibilities. Mine includes looking after my 96 year old mother and spending quality time with her.
I’ve had some wonderful holidays, traveling all over the world with my life-partner, to many places since he died, including some lovely cruises with my mother. I now have little desire to globe trot, and many other things I used to get enthusiastic about now seem old hat and repetitious. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt as they say.
Some may call it morbid, but in my eighth decade on Earth I think quite a lot about what awaits me in the next world. As this blog verifies, I spend quite a bit of my spare time researching the after-life, and this is what I now find exciting and interesting above all else. My life-partner has kept in touch over the nearly 20 years since he passed to Spirit, and still gives me advice. I found, as soon as he passed over, that I acquired much of his attributes which I never had before – such as a quick wit and the ability to make friends easily. I’ve had more friends and social life since he died than I ever did before I met him, and during our time together on Earth we largely shared a social life with his friends and those we made together (usually he made the friendships for us both).
So what ambitions do I have? To hopefully outlive my mother so she has someone to look after her and keep her company in her last years on Earth. Then I’d like to have a few years just to enjoy myself – perhaps go on some more holidays, or just play my large record/CD/DVD collection, etc. It would be nice to have a younger friend or acquaintance to look after me as I get into my dotage, but perhaps that’s too much to ask. They are often tied up themselves with families, or live far away. One of the downsides of being gay without children is you often end up on your own, though having children is no guarantee they’ll keep in touch, let alone look after you as you get older.
Maybe that’s a goal worth fighting for. Gay people without kids and indeed all childless couples and singles should organize retirement homes or social groups which can provide friendship, holiday companions and care facilities for older people like ourselves. I think of Brian whose last years were spent in a largely heterosexual retirement home among people he had nothing in common with except his age and accelerating dementia. Among gay people of his own age this dementia could, perhaps, have been slowed down since they’d have had common interests and similar past experiences.
I never had any great personal ambitions in the career field, never wanted to own my home or a fancy car. I’m quite contented in a council flat using public transport with my Freedom Pass. My ambitions always centered around a better world, which I still hope for one day, maybe long after I’ve left this world: worlwide Socialism of some sort, world peace in some kind of confederation under the UN, the abolition of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and the abolition of hunger, famine and exploitation.
I can’t do much about any of that except pass on my ideas and hope the younger generations can develop their own, learning from the experiences, mistakes and wisdom of the older generations. That is the real perspective I have now – continuing the Spiritual and social evolution of the planet.