When I was a young boy, I constantly heard from my parents, aunts, and uncles, that eventually, I would settle down and get married. I would go through the the traditional rites of passage such as graduating high school, college, and find a beautiful woman to marry and have kids with. Ok, even I had to control the urge to burst into laughter at that last part.
After I awkwardly went though adolescence and became an adult paving my own way through this world, I realized much of what was grilled into my head (with the best intentions) was utter BS! I discovered that settling down for me meant something entirely different. It was loving my blackness and the fact that I was gay and owning it. If there was anything I could ever want for myself, it would be entirely up to me. Based on this Ruelon-ology, I refused to subscribe to any silly social constructs.
My decision not to have children, extended what some might call a Peter Pan syndrome. It’s not that I didn’t want to grow up, but my life choices, as was that of my other same gender loving buddies, allotted me the time, disposable income, and the freedom to pursue my well; freedom.
When first asked by nosy family members and some of my straight friends why I vacationed so much, I felt guilty and ashamed. I thought how insensitive it was for me to flaunt my occasional life of leisure in front of them. Just like a 70 degree day in New York City during the month of February, that feeling didn’t last long.
I realized that my life choices got me exactly where I wanted, and needed to be. There was however, the question that lingered in my mind of, when would I be too old to party? Was there some truth to what some of my favorite people outside of my “fam” were saying? After careful consideration of the man I became and the giving nature that ultimately became my identifier, I said to myself, what kind of stupid question is that?
If I’m going to be completely transparent here, this question surfaced recently in my head when I saw a fellow Instagram follower of a certain age, post a meme implying that he may be too old to party it up during Washington DC’s Black Gay Pride festivities. I thought he, being a gainfully employed individual without children, lives his life openly, and confidently, should be allowed to let loose as long as his feet will keep up while dancing to “The Wobble”.
We brothers in the gay community often put too much emphasis on the party aspects of Pride celebrations. I too have been guilty of that. It’s not uncommon to be in the middle of a two step to (Insert Diva of Choice), drink in one hand, with the other egging your friend on like a conductor at a symphony to forget about the stressors in his life at least for the night. Then the whole crew, almost in unison, begins to act as if there is not a real life awaiting us upon our return to the Matrix. Nothing matters in that moment but the ability to let go!
A long weekend of leaving the oppressive world behind you while gathering with the family you’ve created, is always warranted and thus, never has an expiration date! Even if you are ignorant to, or willfully choose not to acknowledge the reason why Pride celebrations came to be, you are in essence, paying homage to those who passionately fought for your right to be seen. As you carefully select that dope outfit you that you’ve changed at least five times prior to going out, you are unconsciously validating your existence with your day one’s, even if you’re completely oblivious to it.
“You’re too old to party when you no longer need to exhale in an environment that is judgement free.”
There is not a person on the planet regardless of their age, orientation, or ethnicity that needs to put a cap their desire to connect with whom gives them life! In a culture that’s forced many of us to live silently, it’s always a good day to have a good time!
I will now answer the stupidest question ever in the best way my experiences have permitted me to. When are you too old to party? -The moment you no longer need to connect with like minded souls. You’re too old to party when you no longer need to exhale in an environment that is judgement free.
Get rid of the need to support a concept of settling down created by those who never had you in mind to begin with. At whatever age you damn well please, pour yourself and your boys a drink, turn up the music, and do what it takes to pull out that mean, brown liquor, two step. You don’t ever have to stop celebrating your life and who you are because somewhere, someone, deemed it inappropriate passed a certain age. To quote the incomparable Salt n Pepa, “You only live once and you’re not coming back, so express yourself!