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Why be alive?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by nerdbrain, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. justaguyinsf

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    I relate to a lot of what you say. I think human beings have a spiritual purpose and that part of our journey must involve a spiritual discipline/practice/pursuit. You might find joy and purpose in giving of yourself to others.
     
  2. CameOutSwinging

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    What do you do once a day that you're thinking of as unrestrained joy? I think that's a great approach to life, but I wonder how many people actually do it in life.
     
  3. greatwhale

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    Joy doesn't have to be spectacular, it could be as simple as enjoying one's own beating heart, or contemplating a beautiful sky, or hearing a child laugh, or splashing in a puddle instead of avoiding it...however, it does require presence and an open heart to truly see the seemingly mundane but truly spectacular things that can happen in a day.
     
    #23 greatwhale, Jun 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  4. CameOutSwinging

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    I definitely agree, but I think most people don't think that way either. This sounds a bit like mindfulness, which most don't practice. Sounds like we'd all be a little better off for it if we did though.
     
  5. baristajedi

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    I don't think I'm very zen-like (mindful), but I do truly feel this kind of joy. It's being open to the moments.
     
  6. Nickw

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    COS. I love to bike. When I was five my Dad held the bike while he pushed me down the driveway. He let go I started pedaling and kept going down the street. I remember my heart felt like it was in my head! I watched that front wheel go round and round with my face in the breeze. The world was mine!

    So, I get on my bike pretty much every day. And when I coast down the driveway I am five again for just a minute. I watch that front wheel go round and round. If I need to I can feel this way anytime I want because I do it so often.
     
  7. HereWeGo

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    This thread really spoke to me right now. I'm going through several tough times myself (surprisingly, not about my sexuality).

    In the middle of all the chaos, my family and I had plans to go camping. As I was packing for the trip I had so much anger and frustration and hopelessness. I started envisioning throwing myself over the side of the Grand Canyon when I got there... Silence the pain.

    Even once we got to the campground at Zion National Park, my pain could not be silenced. I was moody, sulking, couldn't get out of my own head.

    But then I started hiking and seeing some of the most incredible sights in nature: Rivers that cut deep canyon walls a thousand feet high... death defying scrambles up mountain sides where I had to hang onto a chain to keep from tumbling over... Rock formations called hoodoos that looked like I was on another planet. The beauty transfixed me. Nature slapped me across the face and said "this is what you're living for, Asshole!" I was participating in this miracle called life. It was right in front of me but I was so stuck in my own shit to notice it. It is an honor and a privilege to be alive and experience these things.

    NerdBrain, I'm sorry to hear you are in pain. I'm sorry you can't accept your sexuality. I see a couple of options. 1) push yourself to live a gay life like SF suggests. Push through the denial until you get to acceptance... You are not broken because you are gay, the same way a person is not broken simply because he is left handed. Forget the unrealistic expectations of being something you're not... another boring ol' straight dude. 2) completely take a break entirely from this whole sexual identity business and do what others suggested. Become a modern day Jack Kerouac and hit the road. I think you can eventually find yourself that way too. You may find the real "you" when you least expect it. NYC is an amazing place, but it's also intense and it takes a lot of energy to survive day to day. Find an easier pace and maybe without so much pressure you will have an easier time reaching self acceptance.
     
  8. QuestionMark99

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    I notice that you label yourself "probably gay" but mention that you've been struggling for 2 decades. Are you really not sure after all that time? Are you reluctant to label yourself as "gay"? Maybe by not doing so it allows you to hold on to the past despite already knowing that the past didn't work out either.

    I'm not saying you have to pick a team or that you must label yourself as anything other than what YOU want to, but for a long time I didn't admit to myself I was gay even though I knew full well I was/am. It's only in the last year I've looked myself in the mirror and said "I'm.... g...aaa....y" and it's changed how I've felt (about myself) dramatically - despite not having said it to anyone else. Sometimes you won't be able to move forward until you set the goal posts for yourself. If you're looking at your future as a "probably" gay man rather than a "gay" man, there's not much certainly on the horizon. What do you aim for?

    I hope that makes some sense and if I'm totally off base, I hope I didn't upset you further. I truly wish you the very best!

    Mark
     
  9. brainwashed

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    nerdbrain, it's hard to see everything that's going on in the words of your post, but heres my take.

    It seems you've hit the point where "you hate yourself" for what ever reason, homophobic shame perhaps. You've hit a point where self hatred of you and others starts feeding upon itself. How do I feel this may be the case. I've been there. I recognize the words.

    I've been to the point where the excrement that comes out of my body proves I am shit and unworthy of living.

    What did I do about it. I exercised - mainly walked. I walked and walked and walked.

    Take care. Stay with me man. I love you. I'm not just saying that to cheer you up. I really do. We are Hu = Human.

    ---------- Post added 28th Jun 2016 at 05:21 PM ----------

    I concur. Hike, walk, walk, hike.
     
    #29 brainwashed, Jun 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  10. Nyx2

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    Many people here have given great advice and have said things that I don't have the words for. I don't have great insight, all I can say is that I am here only because I have told myself: tomorrow may be better. It probably can't be worse. And that's it. If you say that for enough days you will find that one of your tomorrows will indeed be better.

    And know that you have support here. I saw your post this morning and I didn't have time to respond but have been thinking about you all day. We support you.
     
  11. nerdbrain

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    That's not exactly what I meant. The "disability" I refer to is not my being gay, but rather my inability to find a way to accept myself and live my life.

    The only idea I have about how to actually be gay is to force myself to meet guys online and go on dates, which I have zero desire to do. Why the resistance? I honestly can't explain it. Probably internalized homophobia, but I don't know how to de-program it.

    ---------- Post added 29th Jun 2016 at 01:19 AM ----------

    GW, as usual your insight is penetrating.

    Nihilism is probably the best way to describe how I'm feeling. I'm not killing myself nor am I living my life. I'm not accepting my gayness nor am I rejecting it.

    Perhaps this is indeed a necessary transitional state. When I consider the idea of repeating my life over and over, it seems like a horrifying prospect. If I could envision a life for myself that has a happy ending, that I wouldn't mind repeating, I would consider that a major victory.

    I am totally on board with the idea of goal-lessness. I've tried my own methods for years and they are obviously ineffective. I know I need to try something else, but I have no faith in any course of action right now. So I guess I'm just going to let it slide.

    I've been beating myself up for wasting my life away. I may not be able to stop wasting my life yet, but I can stop beating myself up about it.

    ---------- Post added 29th Jun 2016 at 01:23 AM ----------

    I can't remember. Maybe that's the problem. I haven't experienced real joy in a very long time. I don't even know where to find it anymore. All I can remember is pain and the lack of pain. I know there were some happy moments in my life (not too many) but I can't seem to recall them or recover that feeling.

    This is what I meant when I said I have no reason to live. Joy is why we keep going and tolerating pain. I have lost my sense of joy. I've stopped dancing and running through sprinklers -- honestly I'm not sure I ever did.

    ---------- Post added 29th Jun 2016 at 01:29 AM ----------

    All of this resonates with me a lot.

    I miss nature. I've been trying to get out of town more but it's not enough.

    My high school yearbook quote was Thoreau:

    "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."​

    Rereading this now, I'm saddened by how far short I've fallen from this ideal.

    I also loved the Beats very much. I identify with Allen Ginsburg a lot. I never thought I'd live the conformist life that I have today.

    Perhaps I should start planning my escape.

    ---------- Post added 29th Jun 2016 at 01:34 AM ----------

    Thank you to everyone for your support and your insights. I was in a pretty bad place yesterday but I feel more level now.

    I'm not seriously contemplating suicide and I didn't mean to be alarmist. But the underlying challenges are still there. Something's gotta give.
     
  12. OnTheHighway

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  13. Tomás1

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    Yes, good thread on finding meaning in life.

    A lot of it's about having high self esteem.

    NB, may you love yourself completely … for no reason other than love beats fear.
     
  14. greatwhale

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    Ah! A reader of Thoreau! Very good, there is hope for you yet!

    I actually went to Walden Pond several years ago, near Concord, Mass., the place where he spent two years "...to live deliberately...". My ex-wife made fun of the fact that I had found my own personal Ganges...whatever, it was a memorable experience to see the cabin they recreated as a memorial to Thoreau's (primarily spiritual) adventure and the subject of his best book Walden.

    I recently read a study that found that being in nature, travelling, getting out of one's external skin (the city, the job, the relationships) actually suppresses the centers of the brain that are involved in depression. It may be time indeed to consider planning your escape...

    I'm reminded of a quote from the movie My Dinner with Andre about living in a large city like New York:

    There are other great quotes from the source I provided, about the danger of comforts that divorce us from reality; how we have insulated ourselves from the seasons, from day and night, from the rhythms of time.

    I was blessed to spend two summers up in Great Whale River, when I was 18 and 19 years old...I remember one night in particular, around this time of year, when the days are the longest, still sub-arctic, the sun had just barely set below the horizon, leaving a permanent red patch of midnight sky in the west, there was a full moon, so many stars that all by themselves they could have lit my path, and best of all, a spectacular aurora borealis. I sat on that beach looking above in awe...

    I spoke above about a path to the centrality of joy, but there is another necessary ingredient: the feeling of awe, of wonder, or what the philosopher Martin Buber called "I-Thou" experiences. Too much of our lives are spent in an "I-it" frame of mind, in the duality and separateness of subject against object. Try to find those moments of I-thou, of awe, where you are no longer a separate being from the rest of creation. It could also happen in work that engages us, when we are so absorbed by what we are doing that time has no meaning, try to find that kind of work, or that kind of hobby...it is a path toward healing.
     
  15. Tomás1

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    Speaking for the wonders of travel, I'm close to the end of 3 weeks in the Greek Islands … days where the main task is what beach will I go to, dinners of ouzo & octapus, letting go of the routine, affirming that sex is about relating & being with another person (way beyond my normal drive of getting serviced) … being in the beauty of the sun, sand & the water.
     
    #35 Tomás1, Jun 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  16. brainwashed

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    I love Greece. Got to get back. It gives me a feeling of going back to the home country - I'm not Greek. It's also a spirit world country......things happen there.
     
  17. greatwhale

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    This seems à propos...

    [​IMG]
     
  18. rachael1954

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    My high school quote was similar:

    There is a rawness and a wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it. Don’t listen to the whines of those who have settled for a second-rate life and want you to do the same so they won’t feel guilty. Your goal is not to live long; it’s to live.

    And you can still suck the marrow out of life. There are tons of good suggestions but yes an escape could be ideal.

    Did you go to pride? Because as a self-loathing possibly/maybe/probably gay person, I went there and proceeded to cry, in public, on 5th ave, for 30 minutes. To me, the sense of hope these people in the parade have is beautiful and frustrating.

    We all love you here nerdbrain, and we want to see you do well. I think that the doing good works for others can be a good thing, to help ease others' sufferings.

    If you like carpentry, you can go on a habitat for humanity trip. If you are annoyed with humanity, volunteer at an animal shelter. These are the things that seemed to work for me. I wish you well, please keep posting and letting us know how you are doing.
     
    #38 rachael1954, Jun 30, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  19. YeahpIdk

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    I don't have much to add from what others have said. I just experienced some of the worst pain in my life (physically & a bit mentally because of the pain) this past year, and that is something that made me think about not living anymore, so what you're saying is on a level of ....I just don't see a point in you ending things from what you've stated. I understand you're having mental/emotional anguish, but I hope you can find it in yourself to do the Groundhog's Day thing. Just keep waking up. Even if it's the same bullshit. Even if nothing seems worth it anymore. Keep playing it out until you wake up one morning and things are different.

    I imagine you're definitely in some kind of depression. I agree with what (I think, only skimmed) others have said, get out and give yourself to others. Go volunteer. Even if you don't want to or feel like you can't, go pick something and get out and do something.

    I say keep waking up. Even through all my pain, which I never saw ending, it has started to get better. I seem to have figured out my problem, am taking care of it, and am slowly getting back to feeling better - dare I say good. Keep waking up until that happens for you, too. No point in ending things -- plus you wouldn't be able to enjoy sleep or food, both of which are awesome.
     
  20. HereWeGo

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    I arrived in my hometown yesterday to visit my folks. My best friend and best man at my wedding also came to town yesterday as well, mainly so we could hang out. We haven't seen each other in years.

    He texted me at 11pm to see what I was up to. We're within walking distance of each other so we met up and went for a looong stroll. This is the burbs and I'm surprised the cops weren't called because what were a couple of dudes doing out at that time of night? But we had so much fun catching up. We had to cross a park and as we did, the sprinklers came on. We ducked and dodged as the streams of water swung towards us. Every once in a while we'd get caught by surprise and get slapped in the face by an intense spray. We laughed so hard!

    This thread came immediately to my mind. I forgot about my troubles. I got to dance through the sprinklers and it was glorious! (I figured if we were naked then we'd REALLY have the cops after us).

    Thanks GreatWhale and Nickw for the reminder to do that every once in awhile!