The other night I was in Washington D.C. walking from 14 street down U street to the Dupont Circle Metro. I passed two men walking down the street holding hands. It warmed my heart. And then it immediately dawned on me how far I had truly come. There was a time not too long ago when I would cringe seeing men holding hands. It would make me very uncomfortable.
When I began to come out three years ago at 53 years of age, and after years of internal debate about my homosexuality, I made a few decisions: If I was going to come out so late in life, I didn’t have time to waste. I needed to go for the gay gold, whatever that might be. I kept saying to myself: ‘If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it all the way’. I didn’t want to leave my marriage, family, and home just to sit by myself alone and depressed in an apartment.
I wanted to fully embrace and experience all aspects of the gay world, (and I don’t mean sexually). So in the past year in addition to coming out at work, I’ve done gay speed dating; gay hiking; joined a gay group touring the National Gallery; gay men’s yoga; gone to many gay MeetUp events; posted a profile on Match and OkCupid; gone on lots of dates; went to two pride parades, one pride festival, and one pride Shabbat service; vacationed at gay resorts in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Provincetown, MA; watched screenings of a gay documentary and two fiction films with other LGBT individuals; went to two work-related events with a date; hung out in a few gay bars. Tonight I’m going to a gay science and technology dinner. This weekend I’m going to a gay men’s yoga retreat.
And I don’t think this is a full list.
When I look around and talk to other men who came out or are coming of marriages, more often the story is much more painful. I believe the reason that my coming out has gone so well, and the reason I’ve changed so much is that I made the commitment to myself, when I really decided to separate from my wife, to live and experience this new life to its fullest.
While I didn’t know what lay ahead in coming out, I knew it had to be better than the pain, the excruciating pain, that I was going through.
There is the phrase: go big or go home. I chose to go big. And I keep pushing the envelope for more. Each step of the way is so powerful and positive that I wanted it bigger, faster, all at once. It’s not to say that I haven’t been fearful at many points in this journey. It’s just I’ve permitted myself to feel the fear and then pushed past my fear in taking each new step. There’s this high that I’ve gotten every time I go a little further and push my own envelope, and it’s just amazing. I’m becoming a junkie to go further, and I love it.