The constructs of time have been debated by scholars for centuries. For me, these “constructs” are too cerebral for my little brain to comprehend. Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity stated, “time and space are not as constant as everyday life would suggest.” I only know enough about time to prompt me to get me where I need to go and when I need to be there. And like most people, time is something that we never have enough of.
As a kid, I remember thinking about having an abundance of time and being bored because of it. Growing up in the 70s, my imagination and activities were fueled by my love for Saturday morning cartoons specifically the animated-series, the Super Friends; produced by Hanna-Barbera. My mother encouraged my older sister and me to go outside and play as a way of giving her time for herself. I didn’t mind, I would spend my time running around the neighborhood pretending I was flying and fighting monsters, bad guys, and occasionally my sister, like one of the caped heroes from my favorite show.
That was then. Now the older I become, the more time I spend wondering and pondering about my life. I am officially a middle-aged man if you look at the numbers. In fact, my partner jokingly mentioned that we probably now qualify for senior discounts at certain businesses; a thought that never previously crossed my mind. I know that I’m not the only one making assertions about their state of maturity having recently made another trip around the sun. This year however, I’ve been confronted by a number of questions where there are no easy answers. Questions pertaining to my health (mortality), my career, and even the question of my and our purpose as global citizens.
Time has made us complacent (intentionally and unintentionally), when it comes to engaging with others or taking action. For example, we say things like,”We should do dinner”, “Let’s do lunch,” or “I’ll do that tomorrow”, and more often than not, nothing ever comes from these proposals. I’ll be honest, I too am guilty of doing this, and I’m sure that I’m not alone. A short time ago I made a rare appearance at a club. I met this guy who was curious about the number of people I was being greeted by. He explained that he and his husband moved to Portland a while ago, but didn’t yet have a good network of friends. We exchanged digits and would text back and forth about getting together, but could never find the right time. In late July whilst texting about favorite fried chicken spots in Portland, that I learned via Facebook,that this friend died in his sleep. I too am guilty of allowing life’s distractions to interfere with my well and good intentions. My excuses usually include things like work, insufficient energy, lack of money, and even Eric (the hubster). With regard to Eric, he doesn’t ever prevent me from doing things, I sometimes just want to spend my downtime with him ❤.
I have been thinking a lot about time lately. My recent birthday has caused me to seriously reflect on my life. Maybe I’m suffering from some version of a gay man’s “midlife” crisis. What makes this a gay man’s midlife crisis you may ask? Well, I’m gay in case you didn’t catch earlier hubster reference! I don’t have any plans of buying a shiny new hybrid/electric car or suddenly running around with some young and muscled 20 – 30 something year old who’s looking for that “Daddy” figure; a title that definitely comes with this age. Personally, I would rather travel than deal with any superficial and temporary needs of someone’s fixation.
Each morning as I awake, I wonder about the aches and pains that seem to appear out of nowhere for doing nothing out of the ordinary. I understand that our bodies can and do go through processes of shutting down over time, I’m just not there yet. I want to be around when we find a cure for the common cold, AIDS, and bad political decisions. Even as I write this piece, I’ll be heading to see the gastroenterologist later this week for a colonoscopy. The procedure is an important part of colon cancer prevention (Your courtesy Public Service Announcement). This isn’t my first time my ass gets probed (guys will know what I mean) but I hope to at least get a warm blanket and maybe a hug this time. With every check up I feel anxious, nervous, and even a little fearful. The question of whether cancer will again invade my body never really fades from my mind.
Eric has his dream job designing award winning homes. Even as a young boy, he would create home plans. He even made a wood-covered leather bound book to display his residential wonders. Once upon a time I did have my dream job performing (dancing, singing, and acting) in a variety show at a San Diego, California theme park (🐠🐙🐬+🌎) . It was joyous and physically demanding work. Sadly, it took its toll on my knees and very flat feet. I’m realistic, I don’t see myself dancing again in a show as I did some 30 years ago. What I enjoyed most, aside from the performances, was the positive energy we created. I also gained some amazing friendships too. My current job feeds my desire to do something good, just without the physical intensity. I also work with some talented, wonderful, and underpaid colleagues, but there are components of this work that make it feel uncertain and insecure. Is it too late to try and figure out what I want to do and be when I grow up?
I view myself as a global citizen. In fact, my personal mantra is “Community-Motivated & Globally-Driven”. At one time in my life I was fortunate to spend several years living in Europe. While abroad, I traveled to other parts of the world and experienced some amazing and also harsh realities of our world. My life has been forever changed by these experiences and how I view myself in it, especially being a brown-person. Our foreign neighbors often know more about our American history and political climate than we do about theirs; not to mention the multiple languages individuals are required to learn. So what can we do to make us (U.S.) less insular and really be a global partner? Maybe it’s time for “US” to do better for preparing our kids for a future that has them thinking about their part in the world rather than just within their own cities, states, and country.
These are just a few things that come to my middle-aged mind, and with the year 2020 less than 2 months away, only time will tell what the future has in store for US all.