Last week, someone made a comment that I looked “old as fuck”, to be exact. They then chimed on by saying I at least looked 50+. Let me make this clear; this was not from someone I know or even respect, but it still stung a little bit to say the least. If it’s true, their honesty is appreciated, I guess, but I’m not really sure what someone gains by being put down directly. I’m not perfect. I can definitely be judgmental at times and I’m one to be blunt, but rarely at the expense of purposely causing someone to have hurt feelings.
Most of my friends know that my hair began to to turn grey when I was only 25. From that point up until about a year ago I relentlessly colored it my “natural” color brown, when in actuality my “natural” color was white. I thankfully had some pretty amazing hair stylists working on my hair. Three years ago this upcoming Monday, Alex and I were married in Las Vegas and spent a total of eleven days by the pool. I had forgotten to bring my electric razor and decided to let my beard grow out. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, my beard was almost entirely white and grey. Although my husband thought it was sexy, as did many other people, the strong difference between the brown and white bothered me, so I eventually shaved my beard and adhered to the old ways of hair coloring.
At some point later that year I got really tired of spending tons of money on my hair and decided to try and let it go completely white. No one believed that underneath my beautiful locks(har har) was a completely full head of white and grey, but I proved them wrong. I would like to say it was easy letting it go and that I lacked any kind of vanity, but that wasn’t the case. Instantly people started telling me that it put ten years on my face and when I had just weeks previously been guessed at early thirties I was now being guessed in my late forties.
Prior to getting married, I lost some weight and had Botox in my forehead to remove lines that made me feel older. I refuse to get into any discussion about the merits or dangers of Botox, just let me say for this guy, it made me feel much, much better. I’ve put worse things in my body to get a less than desirable outcome. Needless to say, I was holding on to my youth any way possible.
I should also mention that my mother died six years ago. She was only 64 and I was 36. I think losing a parent at certain ages does something to a person. I think when you lose a parent as a child you struggle with huge abandonment issues. I think when you lose a parent in your teens it has huge affects on further relationships. Losing a parent who was still young while I was in my thirties made me realize that the big clock in the sky was ticking. I was, like my mom was fond of saying, on borrowed time! It did not help that this was reflected by the lines in my forehead and the color of my hair.
At about the same time, I woke up one morning with sore muscles from the night before. I called my dad, who just happens to be a surgeon, and told him I thought something was seriously, medically wrong with me. In a very sarcastic tone, he assured me he believed something was wrong too. “It’s called getting old, Pete, and it sucks!” He was right…or so I thought. I started gaining huge amounts of weight and finding lines and hair in places I never thought possible. I became jealous of guys much younger than me for just being able to look great as soon as they woke up. In fact, it was not easy being married to someone twelve younger than myself who looked pretty amazing just walking around in his underwear while I hid under a bathrobe.
And then I just let go. If this was going to be my reality of getting older, so be it. I gave up on my hair color and lines and even let myself get fat…really fat. I traded in good looks for wisdom, all the while trying to keep up, but I couldn’t do it. So I let go again. And again. And again, trying ever so hard to accept that I was getting older and be OK with this new fact of my life. Inside, I still felt like I was 18 dammit why couldn’t my body match my feelings? It was something I had heard my parents ask themselves many times.
Last week I heard the nasty comment that I looked “old as fuck!”. Yesterday I read this article from a young gay guy telling gay guys over forty to stay out of clubs because they don’t belong there. Both assured my aging process again and made me feel as if maybe I’m done for and over the hill, with the clock ticking faster and faster.
And then this morning I stood in my bathroom completely naked and looked at myself. I wasn’t happy but I wasn’t disappointed either. I remembered a quote from the book If Life Is a Game These are the Rules years ago:
Rule #1: You will receive a body. The body you are given will be yours for the duration of your stay. Love it or hate it, accept it or reject it, it’s the only one you will receive in this lifetime and it will teach you some lessons if you let it.
I decided it was time to change my body. I was not happy being fat. There are millions of older men who have amazing bodies. And regarding the hair, I think it’s pretty sexy. It’s getting past the idea that it defines a certain age group that bothers me. But on the other hand, I constantly quote Janis Joplin by saying, “It’s all the same fucking day man”. So in reality, life has no age. We’re all just living at different addresses on the same street. Nope, I decided then and there that the hair was staying white and I was never going to question it again. I was wasting time on these trivial questions that didn’t really matter in the first place.
And as I stood there, I realized that I don’t have a problem so much with getting older physically, I have a problem with running out of time and being able to do the things I want to do. It took me twenty years to realize that anything in life is possible and I can achieve or do anything I want. I can write a book(I know because I did), I can dance on stage with Britney Spears(I know because I did), I can get married(Yep, yep), I can go to a club over 40 and still have a place(you boys wouldn’t know what to do without us) and yes, I can be OK with getting older. In fact, it’s the letting go and enjoying every age that’s important.
Last year, my husband and I went to Ultra Music Festival in Miami. I was so worried that I would be the oldest guy there and be completely out of place, when what I found was that I was actually the same age as many people and we were all just dancing and raving like the rest of the “kids”. And I love those kids because they remind me of the youth still inside my soul. And I also love the generation before me because I can learn from their mistakes and their life experiences. There are much older people than me who are living very, very cool and groovy lives and they do not live by the validation of others, so why should I?
I’m not old, I’m only 42, but I am getting older. We all are. Sometimes I wish I was 18 years old and knew what I know now, but I’m not. But this much is true; I only get one turn on this planet and I plan on making it amazing. I don’t think I look “old as fuck” but even if I do, I think I still look pretty sexy. Maybe I’m just senile or something, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’ve decided to keep the white hair and lose some weight so I can feel more comfortable in my own skin. The jury’s still out on the Botox. Even though I believe in aging authentically I’m not opposed to a little help. It took me way too long to realize I don’t need validation from others. It’s my life and I’ll do as I please. Love yourself for whoever you are…life’s too short anyway, right?
Oh yeah! And go buy my book. It’s getting pretty amazing reviews and write-ups. Check it out at the places below!