Advice

Wise words from older gay people to their younger selves

A pensive young man thinking
Posed by model (Photo: Shutterstock)

A public question on the Facebook page ‘Gay and Fabulous’ this week has prompted over 450 answers.

“Knowing what you know now, what is one piece of positive advice you’d give your younger self?” it asked.

The answers came rolling in. Although such advice will always be subjective and influenced by one’s unique life experiences, the responses certainly provides food for thought.

“Stop being scared of what others think, you’ll grow personally and life will change for you,” was a well-liked offering from Nick Bynum.

“It is not your job to make other people happy. Look after yourself and the rest will follow,” was the powerful reminder from Timothy O’Keefe.

Related: Older gay gentlemen offer 15 life lessons to their younger gay counterparts

‘Health is wealth’

“Move back to your hometown two years earlier so you can spend more time with Mom before she passes away,” said David Reyes. “Get out of your long-term ‘relationships’ early. Neither are good for you. They’re hot, but it ends there,” before adding one final thought: “It’s ok to leave the party early.”

“Never ever, ever apologize for being yourself,” said Nick Woodbury. “Express yourself in ways that feel right to you and f*ck the haters”

“Health is wealth, don’t abuse it,” was another popular response, from Damian John Taylor.

“Believe in yourself fiercely and fearlessly,” offered Adam Jacob Lee, in a similar vein.

Gavin Tideswell warned against impatience: “Just wait. Don’t rush into every relationship, you’ll do yourself more harm than good. You will meet more people who think the world of you and you will be happy. It’ll take time but you’ll be so much happier if you wait.”

“You will always intimidate people with your authenticity. Lean into that,” said Jerod Lengacher. “There are ways of moving like water flows around stone, and only you decide who is worthy of your grace. Stay sharp.”

“You will get to where you need to be by just being you,” said William Dominic. “The people who truly love you will be there always, hold onto them. The other people that come and go, hold onto them while they’re around because they’re the lessons that help you grow.”

“Don’t stop being yourself just to please other people,” cautioned Indrajeet Sinh Chauhan. “Don’t let the words of insecure people hurt you.”

“Never try and live your life for others,” offered Sam West. “You live your life how you see fit. And never live in fear or shame. Don’t hideaway. And something my dear old Nanna used to say: This isn’t a rehearsal, you only get one shot at it. I so wish I’d followed all of this in my younger days. All them wasted years, missing out.”

Related: Awesome dad asks the internet for advice after seeing his teenage son kissing another guy in public

“Invest in Love. It starts with yourself and reverberates in how you treat others, and the universe does reward that. Love is energy and one of the only things you can control from which you give; so be mindful,” said Mason Williams.

‘Trust your gut’

“Never settle. You’re worth more than people know,” offered Roy Nairn.

“Trust your gut, try not to compare yourself to others, have more confidence and less hang-ups,” stated Dave Mallinson.

Many of the most-liked answers explored the benefits of living an authentic life and striving to be yourself, even when it feels hard. For anyone still in the closet, Steven Cowlishaw had simple advice to his younger self: “Don’t be afraid to come out sooner. You’ll feel much better in yourself for it.”

And some were a little more lighthearted.

“Always get a good haircut from a professional,” said Sara Mitchell. “Umm same goes for highlights. I have photographic evidence.” (she’s not wrong).

Anthony Paynter cryptically offered “It doesn’t hurt as much as you think.” We can’t imagine what he’s talking about!

So what would you tell your younger self?