Arion Adventure. Meet the Skipper.

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You all know that I’ve been sailing around on the Arion but what I haven’t told you yet is who I’ve been sailing with.

Well fellow Space Time Travellers, meet the Arions Skipper of seventeen years, Graham.

I came aboard the Arion to escape the negativity that was deepening my depression and my time here has revealed an experience that was totally unexpected.

You may recall earlier in the year I asked for older Gay men to contact me to talk about the experience of aging and what it meant in particular to Gay men. I was grateful that a few of you shared your experiences by email, but what I was really hoping for was somebody who I could speak to in person.

After some frustration at a lack of response from friends and the local Vintage men’s group I was beginning to doubt that I would ever be able to find a mature Gay man who would speak openly and frankly about aging, and who would be happy to share his experiences with others through the blog.

Then Graham came along.

Graham has been sailing for nearly all of his adult life and the time that I have spent with him has revealed an extraordinary and vibrant life, a life, which Graham says, has only now begun to really bloom.

Grahams life aboard the Arion has its challenges and it’s a lifestyle that is not always easy but on my first day I will always remember him saying to me, “I didn’t want to be one of the jailers, I wanted to be the guy digging the tunnel”.

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For many young gay men aging within the Gay community is something we either don’t want to talk about or something we fear. We all fear the days when we will no longer be hot young twinks or buff gym boys, we cling to our boyhood, botox and tight tanks tops like life rafts, hoping that they will save us from loneliness, thinning hair, crows feet and declining desirability. We call it the Peter Pan syndrome; the middle-aged boys who never want to grow up because growing up is scary. But what I have discovered is that this is far from the truth and while aging does hold its challenges it also holds great wisdom, great beauty and great hope.

The dynamic of a younger and older gay man living in such a small space together and the sharing of experiences by both of us has been one of the most extraordinary and revealing times of my life. The incredible friendship I have discovered here on the Arion is something that I will treasure always.  It is an experience that I hope to share with you in future articles, and one I hope you will find as revealing about the reality of aging as a Gay man as I have.

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6 thoughts on “Arion Adventure. Meet the Skipper.

  • October 16, 2013 at 2:05 am
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    Shannon, I’m glad that this has been a positive experience for you.
    I think you have become MORE attractive over the years, so please don’t worry too much abut your looks as you age.

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  • October 16, 2013 at 4:37 am
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    Thanks for this post- so positive and heart warming. I am so glad you found each other and it resulted in this epic journey/adventure and that you can share it with your fans.
    Thanks to both you and Graham.

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  • October 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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    Always try to remain positive.Some people hate us…through ignorance mainly,but they are a minority.You can be a force for good wherever you Live,and whatever you do.A man (or a Woman)is not just flesh , blood,and bone.”As a man thinks, so is he”.Anything in your life you don’t like can be changed,you can change it ..all it requires is thought.

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  • October 17, 2013 at 12:28 am
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    What an incredible adventure! I have often wondered why we (gay community) are so stuck on the Peter Pan syndrome… besides the obvious of media drilling “youth is beautiful” into us every minute of the day. I have just turned 45 – and I can honestly share with you that I LOVE getting older. I cherish each year and recognize as time passes it gets better and better (I know – corny and cliche – but oh so true). I love the wisdom, experiences, people, places and changes that come with each year. I don’t regret that things are changing – because life is short… and I plan on living every day to its fullest. When I was younger I had older gay men and women who were huge influences in my life (they were my “aunties”) that imparted wisdom, stories and experiences that I have never forgotten. They were as good for me as I was for them. Today, the roles have reversed and now I share my wisdom with others younger than I am… the cycle continues – just as you impart your wisdom and experiences to so many younger than you are through this blog. Your impact is vast.
    Shannon – you are so fortunate to have found Graham and likewise he you! You are living!

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  • October 21, 2013 at 3:02 am
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    Shannon, a very nice message. Particularly from someone still in “twink” stage. When I turned 50 last year, I had a large party. A lot of younger guests from work, a few older guests. Someone asked me a lesson I’d learned in my half-century, and what popped right into my mind was “it doesn’t matter.” the judgement you’ve passed, the judgement you’re receiving — in the end fade away. I think your odyssey here could open a lot of minds. Mind you, I live in West Hollywood CA, and could easily stay wrapped up in the go-go boy youth culture. But I recognize I’m one of the older gents nowadays, I hang out with my friends of all ages, (some nights I’m still the young one!). I still sometimes lapse — “if I had my college six-pack I’d be truly happy!” — but that comes and goes. I think my down times are due to my being single, while so many of my generation are partnered by now. But, I’ve learned not to dwell so much. To put things in some perspective, I have to stop typing now and go meet a friend for brunch before she prepares for breast cancer surgery later this week. Sail on, Arion!

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  • October 22, 2013 at 11:34 am
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    Another great read Shannon babe well done & dignified.

    Reply

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