To borrow a phrase, “It gets better.” For youth, life can be a terribly hard. For an old man like me, it is a treasure. There were times early in my now long life that I had thought to end it — once after running away from an abusive father, lost, hungry and penniless in a city where I knew no one. I survived. I’d like to say things got better quickly, but they did not. It took time: time to grow, time to find my place — far away from the people who were hurting me. No matter how painful life may be at any given moment, there is a place for you somewhere. If you keep looking, you will find it; if you give up, you will not. I learned to live for myself; be myself; express myself in the way that I choose. Instead of fleeing my oddness, I celebrated it. I survived. The happiness I have today is my reward.