Ten Surprising (and Fucking Awesome) Things About Getting Older

1) Rules—When you get older, the only rule is there are no rules. I’ve written about this several times, and I’m amazed at how indignant people get about this simple statement. Freedom is underrated. See #5.

Fuck Jordan Peterson and his twelve rules for life. That is twelve too many. He reminds me of the mega-church pastors I worked for.

2) Money—I was furious when my boss required I set aside ten percent of my salary in a retirement fund. I was twenty-seven years old, and that was almost forty years ago. You know that thing about investment money doubling every seven years. Do the math. Oh yeah, and he also suggested I use some of the remaining pittances he was paying me to buy stock in a fledgling start-up company with a weird name. Apple.

Fuck Dave Ramsey and his smug, entitled acolytes. I did not help build his Franklin, Tennessee mansion on the hill. I built my own.

3) Time—I woke up at 3:34 am with the ideas for this post racing through my head. So I got up and am writing it. It is now 4:35 am. I’ll probably take a luxurious nap this afternoon. Because I can. I don’t wear a watch. Does anybody really know what time it is?

Life after sixty passes by in a sensual passage of flowing moments. I often have no idea what day or date it is. If I want an omelet at midnight, I make it. I’m finally not feeling guilty if I sneak away to my backyard studio and read all day. Yes, all day.

Fuck Timothy Ferriss and his type-A four-hour workweek. That is four hours too many. See #5.

4) Sex–Younger people (yes, I once was one of them) erroneously believe that the sex drive diminishes after a certain age. I just read yesterday about a couple enjoying a rich and varied sex life in their nineties. Think a moment. What if you had little if any stress (see #10), no financial worries (see #2), all the time in the world (see #3), and no rules (see #1)? Ah yes, life after sixty.

The orgasms are stronger, longer, more often, and gasp; they are real—with no medication. Yep, it’s incredible what happens when you ditch the stress and the clock.

Fuck Jerry Falwell and his handbook of rules for conduct at Liberty University. Have you read it? Give me a break. Curfews, Preferred Hair Styles, And Punishments For Watching R-Rated Movies? This is the same guy who enjoys drunken wild parties on a yacht and gets off watching a young guy fuck his wife.

There is a reason the word cuckold is one of the most searched words on Google. Don’t be a hypocrite and require sex prohibition rules for all your followers and do just the opposite. Lighten up and enjoy life and let everyone else have fun too!

5) Freedom—This is the foundational truth for the other nine surprising and fucking awesome things about older life. When money and freedom are synonyms—magical things happen. And for most of us, even if we are lucky, and even if we are prudent, that won’t happen until around our sixth decade. And that’s okay. I have a LOT more to say about freedom in my next book. It is one of the four essentials of my life.

Fuck Putin, Xi, Duterte, Kim Jong-un, and all the other dictators that deprive human beings of their freedom. Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. I didn’t say that. Denis Diderot did. But I wish I had.

6) Expletives—The Cambridge dictionary defines expletive as a rude or offensive word used to express anger, pain, and annoyance. But a psychologist friend once told me I would know I am truly free when I can say the word fuck without guilt or shame.

When you are over sixty combined with #1, #2, and #5, you can say whatever the hell you want. While building the artist cabin at my Tennessee farm, a country kid named Dylan told me his grandmother says if it’s a bodily function, it can’t be a cuss word. Truth.

Fuck everyone who is offended because I say fuck.

7) Reading—My mom taught me to read around age four, and I read the Hardy Boys before elementary school. I have been a voracious reader all my life. That gives me a deep and wide context that guides the tomes I read today. For most of my life, certain books were forbidden and censored. No longer. See #1, #3, #5. By some miracle, I read Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” as a teenager. Finally, I can read Miller, Nin, Reage, Vonnegut, Huxley, Burgess, and Nabokov.

Fuck Savonarola, Hitler, the Pentagon, the Amazing Grace Baptist Church, and all their book-burning kind. Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings. Heine.

8. Knowledge—Curiosity killed the cat…but satisfaction brought it back. A great thing about getting older and gray is that wisdom creeps in if you let it. I recently took the VIA Survey of Character Strengths.

The results. My #1 strength was Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence. I notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.

My #2 strength was the Love of Learning. I love learning new things, whether in a class or on my own. I have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere, there is an opportunity to learn.

My #3 strength is Curiosity and Interest in the World. I am curious about everything. I am always asking questions and find all subjects and topics fascinating. I like exploration and discovery.

Fuck Donald T***p and all his illiterate and small followers. I’ve seen few people so proud of their ignorance. When proven wrong, the wise man will correct himself, and the ignorant will keep arguing. Talib.

9) Friends—If you think a mid-life affair and renouncing one’s faith will cost you friends—just wait until you get older. They fall away like flies. Americans are all about youth. But the surprising and fucking awesome thing about this is the few friends that remain are like the finest gold. There is something to be said about quality over quantity.

Fuck Burt Bacharach and Michael W. Smith. Their hit songs about forever friends are nothing more than sentimental bullshit. But, as you get older, songs by Chip Taylor and Brandi Carlile scream authenticity.

10) Bullshit—When you turn sixty, there is a sudden realization there is not enough time to put up with bullshit any longer. Warning: This costs more friendships. Posers, pretenders, and preeners seem irrelevant to the messiness called life. I need people around me who are genuine. And the rare people that pass the no-bullshit test are surprisingly enjoyable to be with. Life is too short. Get real.

Fuck the Evangelicals (aka Republicans) and their bullshit. The people that befriended me and took me in when I was alone and homeless were brown, black, lesbian, gay—and real. They empathized with a fellow outcast. The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our life. We need a vocabulary and freedom (see #5) to access complex and taboo conversations with the people of our life. When you are over sixty, you expect the bullshit but don’t accept it.

Disclaimer: I fully realize (as a friend once told me) that I have a golden horseshoe stuffed up my ass. The words in this post could not be written if I had not been lucky. Doors open wide when you are a white, heterosexual male born in America. I’m just hoping a few of us lucky ones can write words that will help those doors open for everyone.

I long for an America where all people are equal, love wins, black lives matter, immigrants and refugees are welcome, disabilities are respected, women are in charge of their bodies, people and planet are valued over profit, and diversity is celebrated. Maybe I’m getting sentimental in my older years. Or, maybe not.