I love the fact that we have a new year ahead of us, rife with opportunities for success and—more importantly—change. I do not know about all of you, but 2018 kicked my ass and left me licking more wounds than I have gray hairs (which is a lot by the way). Nonetheless, hope springs eternal, as a brand-spanking new playing-field lies before us (hopefully more refreshed and less cynical) to romp about in. It is an exciting time, for sure.
Of course, this is the perfect moment to reflect on where we have been, how we have handled things, and reassess our life-trajectories. As many of you know, I have done my fair share of changing these past few months. Priorities have shifted. Outlooks have improved. My consciousness has gone to a much healthier place. Best of all, I feel more comfortable in my own skin, and I love it. Finally!
We cannot rest on our laurels, though. If only we could.
For the most part, I have focused a great deal of energy, time, and effort on regaining a sense of balance and safety in my life (post-midlife crisis). Luckily, I survived and found myself coming out the other end all the better for it. As a result, my attentions began to center on ways that I could maintain this stasis. I found myself becoming increasingly risk-aversive and overthinking things way too much. While doing the opposite may seem counter-intuitive, I cannot help but feel that sticking to this course of action would only result in the past repeating itself, again, as it typically does. That is my MO, after all. So, what to do?
It was not that long ago that I mentioned how 2009 was my “year of living dangerously.” In response to an existential, psychic slump that I could not shake, I gave my life a much-needed laxative and dared to be daring. I let go of things, people, and jobs that kept me cocooned in safety but tragically bored and unfulfilled. Then, I began to embrace my fears and welcomed awkward situations, openly. I did things that terrified me on a regular basis, acting first and worrying about them later. Life was about being “uncomfortable” and pushing through my own ambivalence. It was one of the most exciting times in my life and, definitely, the most character-defining. Unfortunately, it did not last.
Being the security-driven animal that I am, my decisions eventually started to center around maintaining lifestyle and income. Keeping the status quo became increasingly important to me, regardless of the good that came from my diligent efforts towards change. It was not long before I found myself in the same place, bored to tears and constantly irritated by the sense of a void that would not go away. I did it to myself, again.
Now that I find myself—somewhat—purged of my angst and psychic muck, a decision has to be made. I can continue the way I have been, or I can trust the universe (and myself) and shake things up a bit. I opt for the latter.
Does this mean that 2019 will be a “year of living dangerously” redux? No, it does not. The effects of that, based on personal experience, are only temporary. What is needed, here, is a significant life-change.
Throwing myself into another year of challenges and excitement, while appealing, would not be enough. Ultimately, the slacker part of my personality knows that the attacks on my comfort-levels would only be temporary. Sucking it up for twelve months would be a breeze. After all, one does not grow-up gay in a small town without developing a tough skin and the ability to disassociate. Needless to say, I got skills.
No, I propose that I need to start living life, dangerously. Period.
Up until now, I have always thought that life, during my later years, should be calm and peaceful. Chaos-free. I was wrong. The need for safety has always been a trap for me, masking the real reason I avoid life’s challenges, which is fear. Well, I am not going out like that.
Why not make this time of my life as amazing and exciting as possible? I will be fifty in four months. What better time to change my approach to living and dare life to respond to me, in-kind? I am well-educated, logical, and annoyingly intuitive. Plus, I have decades-worth of life-experiences and wisdom under my belt. I am pretty sure I can fend off whatever “the unknown” has in store for me (or at least find someone who can help). I just need to trust that I GOT THIS.
While the road, ahead, is wide-open, there are a few challenges I already plan on tackling, mostly around writing. I am making establishing some “hard” goals and holding myself accountable to achieving them, despite their high likelihoods of failure. If anything, that will make any successes I realize all the sweeter.
So, here is to living life, dangerously! I will be the one doing the ass-kicking in 2019 and taking names along the way! Who knows? Maybe there is another column in all this.
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