Dear Grandkids, 7 Nuggets Of Life Wisdom From Your Gay Grandfather

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letter to grandkids

I struggled my whole life for a chance to be my true self ... I hope you never have to do the same.

Dear Unborn Grandchildren,

I'm writing this letter in case (god forbid) I never get to meet you. A rather morbid thought, yes, but it's certainly possible we will never know each other — a thought that makes me sad.

(Oh, and if you don't know what "morbid" means, ask your Mom's or wait until about 3rd or 4th grade ... it will be on your spelling list.)

Of course, I'm assuming that your moms, Shelby and Riley, will decide to procreate (hint: a big word for "make babies"). I'm OK if they decide parenthood isn't for them, but my gut tells me you will make an appearance in the world someday.

I have some insights, wisdom, and thoughts that are on my heart to share with you.

Although, there's a real chance you'll think I'm rambling. But, rambling is a great stress reducer (a life lesson there for you)! So, keep reading and just indulge me a moment, won't you?  

The truth is — I'm writing you this moment in particular because Grandpa George and I, as of June 26, 2015, finally have our marriage legally recognized in all 50 of the United States. Both, ourselves and millions of other in the LGBQT community are finally free to love as we like and enjoy the equal freedoms of marriage that, up until June 26, were only available to heterosexual married couples.

I'm not going to bore you with the history lesson about gay marriage and gay rights. Hopefully you'll be exploring: Gay History, American History, and Political Science classes.

What I will say is that this monumental change in history, got me thinking about a lot of stuff — insights that I want to give to you now in case the future doesn't present the opportunity.

So here, my dears, are a few things I've learned in my life, that I hope will help you in yours:

1. Love is love

I don't care if you turn out gay, bi, transgender, asexual, or even heterosexual (again, ask your Mom's to help you understand these terms); I just want you to go out and love, and enjoy loving. Love is one of the coolest gifts we're given to experience as humans, so don't waste it or hold back on it.

2. Be brave

Throughout life you'll face a lot of stuff that'll scare you crawling back (or at least, trying) into the comfort of your Mom's tummy! Fear doesn't diminsh with age. Heck, I'm afraid of dying and having my bones shoved in a box. Instead, I'm going have my remains BBQ'd and the ashes strewn across the ocean. OK, so I'm actually freaked out by fire, but I love the ocean so I figure one cancels out the other. Same thing applies to bravery ... it cancels out fear, so keep facing fear head on and be brave!

3. Stay curious

I was almost 50-years-old when I realized I'd somehow stopped being curious. I'd lost my 5-year-old boy curiosity. Curiosity is a cool, cool, toy we're all given to keep us from settling or taking things at face value. From where I sit (can't tell you where that is), it'd be cool to watch you wake up every day being curious. Trust me, curiosity is one of your dearest friends, I promise. 

4. Never stop playing

Confession time. Pop-pop was often told to loosen up. I wasn't like a stiff old bird who's set in his ways. But, I was more of a serious, "get 'er done" sort of guy — very focused, intent, and determined. All great qualities, but not when you forget to play and simply have fun, too! Play keeps us fresh, young, and alive. Remember that, even when your Mom's tell you to stop playing. They're just asking you to stop for the moment, not forever.

5. Smile, smile, smile

I'm smiling right now thinking about this piece of advice. Why? Pop-pop wasn't much of a smiler. In fact, I hated getting my pictures taken because it always required smiling. Then I realized my smile was pretty hot, it made others smile, and it often led me to find curiosity, play, and fun. (Plus, your Great-Grandma Jeanie paid a lot of money to make my smile a killer one, so I decided I may as well use it and share it.) So should you — share yours. Smiles will get you a whole lot more in life than frowns!

6. "No" doesn't mean "never"

The word "no" is a fact of life and it probably should have it's own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (is that even still a thing in your day?) Unless you're on a date (in which case "no" DOES mean "no"), in life when you're told "no," just know that it doesn't have to mean forever. Whether it's asking your mom for a cookie or a boss for a career opportunity, often times, "no" simply means "not right now!"

What you'll also learn is that sometimes "no" is actually for your own good. But, I'll let you figure that one out.

I could continue to ramble on but I don't want to bore you completely. So let me add just one last tidbit of wisdom, if there's only one suggestion of mine that you follow, please let it be this one ...  

7. Love yourself first 

For too long, down through the ages of history, humans learned that it is selfish to love yourself first. Honestly, that is true, if your self love is contingent or done for the wrong reasons  to hurt others, to make yourself look better for better's sake, or because all you know how to do is love yourself. I'm not a fan of any of those people who love themselves because they think they're the greatest thing since the Internet! (Yes, there was a time when the Internet didn't exist and we had to roll down windows in our cars with our hands.)

However, if you love yourself first, you'll learn to love others more, find ways to trust, respect others for who they are, and you'll make the planet a better place.

In fact, love is the bases for digging other people's differentness.

If you learn to love yourself and your differentness, you will be able to love others and their differentness. Soon enough, you'll shed the desire to look, act and follow any and everyone else. Just be yourself!

Oh and one more "Pop-pop thought" ... putting up a fake persona is way more work than being the special, unique, amazing someone you already are!

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