I am not as young as I used to be.
I guess that’s what they call “stating the obvious”.
I am not old, nor do I feel it.
However, I am aging and I fear that I may fear that.
That I am going to do it alone, that life is going to feel surreal sometimes. That it’s going to be a life unshared.
Sometimes life just doesn’t seem real, like I am not really here and sometimes it feels like I am here too much.
I am quite simply later in my life than I was before.
I guess that’s pretty obvious too.
And when life feels later, it can feel unsettling, strange. It can also feel like it can be new again. Later becomes a different version of now.
I guess what I am getting at is that because of where I am in my life and what’s going on around me and within me, this is a good time to be mindful and to be smart and thoughtful when I am deciding on decisions or choosing from choices.
I have the life experience to do this.
I have the wisdom.
And the courage too.
I got my back.
When I was young(er) and when I was foolish(er), I could easily recalculate, bounce back, thrust forward or divert. Abort.
Not only am I older,
I am wise(r), and slower.
The tortoise and the hare. Now I get it!
The world is a lot different than the world I’ve spent most of my life living in.
I would argue, but I won’t, that the world is just tougher.
Sometimes I look around and things don’t make sense.
Why are they that way?
When things could be better if we cared for each other rather than just about our “self”.
And life, it is moments, it is days, it is years. It’s choices. It’s values. It’s this and then it’s that.
It is one thing that leads to another.
But I think it really is a collection of moments and I inhabit each one.
Connecting them to each other, that is when it feels unsettling, clumbsy as I put the string through the glass beads.
That is change.
This is when I relax and notice things will be OK, better. That life is an amazing gift and sometimes this new toy feels dented, sometimes it needs batteries which weren’t included. Sometimes I just wind up the elastic and the popsicle stick airplane flies over the sofa, into the sink. The bubble machine makes bubbles. The elastic tightens and the elastic unwinds. It’s just the way it should be.
It’s just the way it is.
I am there, present in all of that, all of this, and, yes, could it be true. Yes, it is true. I am smiling.
I smile, or I problem solve. I strategize. I relax. I reminisce, I go up and I down. That is what it’s like when I inhabit the moment.
Who do I want to be in this world?
What would I like to happen?
What are my options?
And of course, always leaving room to dream, to dream big, reasonably so.
To rest and to sleep.
For tomorrow to be another day.
Career. Am I healthy enough to work?
The people who know me well say that I am not.
There may be other options – so I am not ruling it out, but work/career, you know those things that define us when we introduce ourselves are not going to be what I was lead to believe they would have been for me.
Hi, I am Harlon, I am 52, I have been HIV + for 30 years now, I live with my Mother. I am unemployed. I have no equity.
I am good.
That is what I do, it is a part of who I am.
I am guided by my values so it’s never really an elevator speech, it’s more like a stairway to heaven. That long slow song that I had my first dance to.
Awkward. Change. Connect. Share. Repeat.
Academia. I think it’s the right place for me so I am putting together my application for a Doctorat at the University of Toronto.
I do well in school and I am also very happy when I am learning. I think when you think about going back to school and your response is that it is a “no brainer” then I think I have definitely addressed the doubt. I am cultivating my path.
Some things I just can’t seem to dial into directly, there’s always a bit of static, always the sense that I need to fine tune, like I am missing the notes. I live my life out of step, singing off key. Walking to the beat of a different drummer.
I live my life being me.
I think academia is going to be my life being me. It’s the closest thing I know to being me.
Because you’re not here and I am alone.
Who am I to say?
Who are you to judge?
However, the reality check that hovers over the list of things to do, the file folder of things to follow up on, says “doing your Ph.D. isn’t going to be easy, in fact, it’s going to be harder than working a 9 to 5 job.”
If you are not ready to work, am I ready to study.
It’s what I want and that is what I will try to do.
The corporate world and the pharmaceutical industry aren’t safe places to be for me; homophobic, AIDSphobic.
Living the life I choose to live, that, sometimes sounds like turning the dial through all the radio stations and hearing different, incongruent sounds. The news, traffic, all the hits, all the time.
Can I do it? I mean can I make all of this my life? I mean, can I really live the life I want to live?
Am I really there, when it says “I am here?”.
Yes I can because it is what I want to do.
Well there you go.
I am probably not fully ready but I have become very much at peace with the belief that it will happen when I least expect it. It is certainly not out of question.
I am worthy of being loved and those words don’t come out of my mouth as easily as I would like, but they are there like the bitter pill you put under your tongue to dissolve.
It will happen. It will take effect.
The things I find interesting, the things that give me pleasure, they are things I like to do. and this is what I am going to do.
Connect with my values.
Don’t give up.
I think mindfulness, psychotherapy, connecting with others and sharing our experiences are the stuff that is good in my life and I will stick to them.
I may get a dog.
I may just spend the rest of my life volunteering for organizations that do Conservation Biology.
Wouldn’t it be fun to just spend the rest of my life going to exotic destinations and being part of a project that helps protect a species?
Why not just do some good because that is what I am good at.
Damn, I like that idea more and more every time I think it.
And I know what I’m doing, and I think you do to.
I’m over thinking it.
It’s wise to be mindful.
It’s best if I just relax.
Life comes to me and I come to life and there’s still a lot of it left in me.
This is not the end.
This is the middle.
This is the time to relax.