• Troubleshooter

I’m a 60-something single gay man reflecting on my life’s meaning

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a single man in my 60s. I am a homosexual. Recently, I have been thinking about something.

I have already retired from the workforce. My parents have passed away and I now live a carefree life all by myself. Since I have pension and savings, I have no trouble getting by.

There have been several instances in the past when I was approached with talk of marriage, which I soundly rejected because of my sexuality. I could not marry a woman while hiding the fact that I’m gay.

At this age, however, I have come to feel a bit of loneliness. I will probably live out my days without having made the choice to have a family. I sometimes sit and think, “What was my life all about?”

I would be grateful if you could offer me some advice.

—U, Tokyo

Dear Mr. U:

In your simple letter, I can feel the pride, wisdom, thoughtfulness and determination of a man who has survived a 60-year voyage almost entirely alone.

You sometimes harbor doubt about the way you have lived and wonder if there were other ways to live. You have a broad perspective fitting your years of experience. You also have the ability to make objective judgments.

I’m sure you know that you couldn’t have lived any other way. You have not been swayed by the world around you and have stuck to your beliefs. As a result, you are content as you can see now. That is something you should be proud of.

Having a family does not automatically mean fulfillment. There are many people who cannot “choose” and have no choice but to live in their current circumstances. As you can honestly say you are homosexual, you are much more blessed with love than a family in name only.

In addition, your life is not over yet. Moving forward, why don’t you try to live a life in which you share the love you have in your heart with the people around you, regardless of their sexuality? I am sure that many people, thanks to your wisdom, consideration and resourcefulness, will wake up to life with a renewed sense of purpose.

When you share love, love does not dissipate. Instead, it increasingly multiplies. I believe that is the actual joy of loving.

—Shinji Ishii, writer