never mind the time

If you feel like you came out too late in life, you’re not alone

It’s hard to come out, especially if physical and emotional safety are concerns. So it’s understandable that many of us wait years or even decades to bust down that closet door. But one 29-year-old who came out just before the pandemic crisis says he’s grappling “inescapable regret” for all his years in the closet.

“Especially during these long COVID days of isolation, I’m burdened with all this regret for the years I was closeted,” he writes. “I keep thinking of all the boys I missed opportunities with, all the fun memories I missed out on, and the years of self-hate.”

Related: ‘Hairspray’ actress Nikki Blonsky comes out just in time for pride

In his Reddit post, he asks how other gay bros handled the same regret. “I can’t turn back the clock, so just wondering how some of you might have dealt with it?”

Many commenters can relate, as it turns out. “First came out when I was 25,” writes one guy. “I’m 28 now, but looking back, I still regret most if not all my life choices. Wish I knew how to deal with it.”

Another says: “I came out at 23 and do regret not doing it sooner, though I realize I did it earlier than a lot of people. I often wonder how my teenage years would have differed had my friends known.”

But a lot of commenters on the post are philosophical about their deferred comings-out. “It took how long it took, and I suppose there’s a benefit in that being a bit more mature when I started getting involved helped keep me out of trouble,” muses one.

Writes another: “Even though I occasionally get these regrets, it’s also almost hard to remember what my life was like before coming out because of how much has happened and how much changed since then.”

Related: Teen suspects his mom is forcing him to come out to his homophobic dad

One commenter reminds us that life is full of “what-ifs,” and he quoted a popular proverb: “The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago. The second best time is now.”

“Just focus on today,” that commenter adds. “You freakin’ did it. Now you get to live the way you wanna live going forward.”

And another commenter tells the original poster not to rue all the time spent in the closet. “Those years were still formative to the out and happy person you are today,” he advises. “Plus, 29 is still super young. There’s a lot of adventure ahead. The greater the storm, the brighter the rainbow.”

That’s a powerful sentiment — and a timely one! Happy Pride to everyone in or out of the closet.