You’re born naked, and the rest is drag.
Who am I to consider myself someone with wisdom to impart to others?
First, I consider every sentient being full of wisdom, knowledge to share. I cherish the times I spend enough time with people to hear a story from their life. I also gain wisdom from animals, trees, the ocean, clouds, insects, reptiles, plants, etc., from the Universe.
I am a keen observer; I’ve been told I listen “too well,” hearing things between the lines. These skills were enhanced when I was stricken at three-and-a-half years of age with a childhood disease, Perthes hip. I suddenly went from a boy who ran everywhere to one who required assistance to do most everything.
I became a good listener and observer because that was what about all I could do without having to ask for help. After three-and-a-half years of treatment I was pronounced “cured.” Being able to get regular shoes was something to celebrate.
Later I got a huge download of wisdom during the height of the AIDS epidemic. I lost over 200 friends during the 1990s. My friends had to suddenly confront their mortality, often without the support of their families. Among the many things that I learned from them, the primary piece was to embrace life while you can, because none of know when our time will end, and it certainly will end.
Growing up we moved around a lot. My father was in heavy construction and we had lived on three continents before I was five. We went from New Jersey to Puerto Rico, to London, to Liberia, and back to New Jersey. And right before high school we moved to Houston. Each place made a unique impression on me. For instance, you can witness the influence of living two years in Africa when I can dance to music with a drumbeat.
My being a gay man has required me to do a lot of work on self-acceptance. At first I could not see a way to live in society as a gay man, to the point of considering suicide. Today I see my being gay as a gift, giving me the insights of an outsider, however, one who can get into most every room.
I have always been drawn to the oldest person in the room. I think I found them both more interesting than my peers and easier to talk to. I have heard a lot of great stories from these conversations. Just the other day I was talking with an 89-year-old woman about her family’s unique 57-year-old Thanksgiving tradition.
I am a perpetual student, always eager to learn more, especially life lessons. And I believe the best learning experiences are two-way ones, with both participants being a student and a teacher.
Thank you for reading about my life!
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