What a year it’s been! After supporting my partner John for six years with his depression only getting deeper because he wouldn’t accept anything but the perfect job, I had to call it quits last January. To remake my life I go back to eighteen years with Michael A. Schoch the loveliest man on earth until he died of AIDS on April 24, 1996. Until he got sick, I was happy, and the world was our oyster. During my years with him I was heavily involved in the community, first on the board and eventually chairing the board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund, now HRC. Then I headed a fundraising campaign that raised 3.2 million for the Gay and Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Main Library.
With John in my life, I begged off community involvement and went back to school for an MFA in poetry. To save myself I wrote poems and tried my hand at play writing. Now I am on the fourth iteration of a novel about San Francisco when our community came into its own. In 2007 I officially declared myself a writer, and a year later I began a secret affair with a man who loves me and is smart to boot. (Having an affair feels very adult).
Last year I bought a second home in Sebastopol, and I’m spending more and more time here where the dogs have free range of the property, and I have uninterrupted time to write. The community is very comfortable with aging Hippies and others who have chosen to live outside the hustle and bustle of cities. The town has three markets, a fine green grocer, and earlier this month, I attended the Occident Community Chorus holiday concert led by a vibrant woman.
I was supposed to die thirty years ago, but have lived with HIV for 80% of my life as gay man. I stay healthy with a trainer at the gym twice a week and a stationary bicycle on weekends in the country. Aging for me is finding joy and staying close to friends.