Joe Moore, Minneapolis
“Everything you’re going through right now will be worth something in the end.” I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist household and I’m gay. I got pushed into a marriage to a woman when I was 18 to “cure” me. Didn’t work. But she’s my best friend now. We have a son and it all worked out.
Q: Was there a pivotal moment that helped you embrace who you are?
My son. I figured if I wanted him to be able to tell me anything without having to worry about me not wanting him, then I should be able to do the same thing. I sat down and told my then-wife and she said she had a feeling. We’ve known each other since we were 18 and she told me it was OK. If she was OK with it and my son was OK with it, then that was enough for me.
Q: How about the rest of your family?
They will come around, hopefully. Eventually you have to love people for who they are and hope that they do the same for you.
Keith Kostman, Minneapolis
“Take more chances.” At this point in my life I’m working on my bucket list, but I could’ve gotten started a lot earlier. I’m 53 now and I’ve finally realized that experiences are really the only currency that I’m interested in. Most of my bucket list revolves around travel. Possessions don’t really count for much for me. Going bungee jumping or skydiving, or talking to somebody on the street. Those are the things that you take with you. I work 9-5 and I don’t want to wait until retirement to get all that stuff done.
I went to the Himalayas and ran for nine days through the mountains. I was out in North Carolina running a 50k. You do all these things that you think are right, like, “I’m gonna eat healthy. I’m gonna exercise.” But you know what? In 2008 I had a stroke and I just had a stent put in my heart about a month ago because my artery was 90 percent clogged. So what does any of that mean? It all seems so random. That’s why right now it seems more important than ever to live like it’s your last day. Because you just don’t know. You could do all the right things and drop dead. You can do all the wrong things and live forever.
Judith Gehrke, Minneapolis
“Don’t get caught up in old beliefs and stereotypes.” When I was more into my career at about 45 years old, business took front and center and most of my interactions were with people my age or older. I lost track of what youth were thinking and how open they were. I had limited my exposure. Not intentionally, but I had a busy, corporate routine without access to younger minds, like college students.
Q: Were you able to reconnect with those younger voices?
Yes. I went into data technology and almost all of my peers were right out of college. Also, my nieces and nephews became of age, so I would hear them out at different gatherings.
Q: What did you learn?
That their ideas made a lot of sense. They were more efficient in how they went about their day. They cut out a lot of redundancy. They made me think before I spoke in terms of hanging onto some of my beliefs, such as that their way would never work because it seemed impractical and they hadn’t had as many life experiences. It wasn’t true.
I realize that at 65, this isn’t my generation. I don’t need to be convincing people to do things my way. It’s antiquated.