|My ship is coming in - soon|
As I approach my 74th birthday in a few months, I look back on my life and ask myself "Do I have any regrets?"
Of course I do. Many small ones, too numerous to mention and not significantly life changing.
My biggest regret was financial that took place nine years ago. I've already written about it in previous blog posts so I won't go into the painful detail in this post. Basically I could have sold our house in Pennsylvania five days after I had it on the market for $640,000 but I laughed at the offer because I had it on the market for $700,000. I sold our house eleven months later for $500,000. We almost went down the tubes on that one folks. That was the closest call I've ever had in my life of total financial ruin. This on top of losing almost a quarter of a million dollars (yep, $250,000) in the Great Financial Market Meltdown of 2000. Still here folks, a survivor.
I've had a long life. I've been at many crossroads where I had to make a choice of what direction to take my life. Most of the time I took the right choice, several times I took the wrong road but by luck and survival skills (I have great survivor skills), I managed to right the course of the Tipton Life Tall Ship.
|Me, Philadelphia (and 145 lbs) - 1969|
Over my bed, I have a magnificent picture of a tall ship that Bill gave to me on our first anniversary. I've always viewed that image of that tall ship as my life. Beautiful, graceful and (sometimes) subject to stormy seas. But in the end still sailing in magnificent waters. One day my ship will come to shore. That day will be here sooner than later, that is for sure. And that is why these days I sometimes reflect on any regrets that I have in my life.
Looking back perhaps the one thing I would do was to pay more attention in English class. I love writing and the English language. But the school I attended spent way too much time on Shakespeare, split infinitives (never did get that), and reading assignments like "Mill on the Floss" (was there ever a more boring book)? In spite of my poor education I managed to overcome my lack of expertise in the English language and write. I started with pen pals, journals, and now blogging.
|Me, on left arms folded with my two younger brothers, my Aunt Mabel and our Mom - 1951|
Another regret I have is that I never learned to play the piano. Oh I know I would been good. Oh I learned to play a musical instrument, the Sousaphone which some people misidentify as a tuba (which it is definitely not). I envied my classmates that complained about taking piano lessons. Oh how I wish my parents would have provided piano lessons for me. However, it was not to be. My father was more concerned with having his three sons weed his fields of corn.
|Me "playing" drums in high school - sure - just posing for a high school year book picture|
Other than those regrets, I don't have too many others that I can even remember. I don't even regret the failed love affairs I was in because I learned from them and God knows I loved which is always worth it. I would rather have had a life of loving and lost than not having love at all. Isn't there a quote somewhere to that effect?
Here are some things I DON'T regret. I don't regret having met Bill when I was 22 years old and spending the next fifty-one years with him. Has it always been a bowl of cherries with Bill? Of course not but through it all, we always knew we had each other's enduring love. We're still here and my only wish now is that whichever one of us goes first, the other will be right there bedside to hold his hand.
|My brother Isaac, me and Bill - 2013|
|Me and Bill - Philadelphia 1979 (those plaid pants are LONG gone)|
I don't regret coming out at 21 years old. One of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I knew at that time I wasn't going live my life as a lie, hiding from people my true self, permitting people to control my life. In the ensuing years I've seen so many of my fellow gay peers having lived those lives, sometimes with disastrous results. Oh no, not for me. Of course I lost half my friends (so called) when I came out, have lost two good jobs because I was openly gay and even to this day am estranged from my family because I dared to get married and have it publicized. But do I have regrets? No way. Anyone who has a problem with me being gay, it's THEIR problem be they Mike Huckabee or my brother's pastor. THEIR PROBLEM.
|One day I will be in the horizon - that I know|
I joined the Army when I was 18 years old. Another great decision. Never regretted it.
|That's me on the left (unrecognizable) - 1960|
The jobs I've had, all great even the ones where I lost them because I was gay. They were good while they lasted.
From the time I was twelve years old I had a goal in mind. To have my own home and to live in that home with a person whom I loved and who loved me. I achieved that goal.
So as I wait for the curtain to come up on the final act of my life, I reflect, do I have any regrets? No, not really (except for that house sale, that still nags at me).
|Me in picture booth (1956) - I still LOVE to have my picture taken even though I'm falling apart these days|
No friends, I have no regrets.