Is 2020 vision really about hindsight, or looking forward with that sight gained?December 31st, 2019
They say hindsight is 2020… but we spend the most of our time at the turn of a New Year looking forward.
We can’t see clearly the way forward and what the next decade will bring… but we can look backwards at the last years of our life and use that hindsight as a bright light of clarity to inspire the way forward. The past is nothing but lessons, intimately experienced, from which we can propel our way forward. Hopefully, a better way forward. Replicating the best parts and enhancing them so that we have an even better future… and also moving onward (not moving on, not “getting over”) from our hurts of the past, such that we can learn, grow and be even more resilient to learn from the hardships of the past to a brighter way forward.
One of my best friends wrote something eloquent lately, and it goes like this:
You can overestimate what you can do in a year. but severely underestimate what you can do in ten ~Vito Michienzi
May we take this turn of a decade to apply some hindsight, and some clear vision to the future, and plot a way forward for the next 10 years that is truly revolutionary.
“Warning: dates in the calendar appear closer than they appear”
2019 was a year of rebuilding my life for me. I lost several things that I’d grown accustomed to: chief among those, my living environment and my employment. But, though I didn’t completely find the long-range answers to either element of groundedness in my life, I learned something even more important:
I learned both self-resilience and humble inter-dependence, and the confidence to look at making the short-term great so that the long-term can be a-okay.
I am grateful to my friends and family who gracefully accepted the uncertainty of my life, and opened their doors and hearts to me throughout 2019… who stood by my side and saw through the turmoil of my life and knew I’d continue moving forward.
In 2019, I took a short-term job, not knowing where it’d lead. It turns out to have been a wonderful decision to join Fanshawe College. I really like what I’m doing now!
I don’t know where the long-term will land, and what 2020 and beyond will have in in store: but I know that right now, I am happy and learning and growing and building resiliency.
So, I’ve been rebuilding my life… and I’m stronger for it. The next year will be one of many possibilities, and I’m ready for them!
The tragedy of life is not that it ends too soon; but that we wait so long to begin it. ~W.M. Lewis
Fortunately, these last 10 years have been filled with learning how to begin to live my life the way I really am meant to live it. And first and foremost, that is to live life authentically!
Looking with hindsight, I look back at the cusp of 2009, December 2008: I was 27 and not even out yet!
For those of you who have met me in the last 10 years, let that sink in. I wasn’t out yet.
In January 2009 I had been back from working on a cruise ship for a half-year. On the ship, I had met a wonderful girl and invited her back to my cabin… and didn’t do anything at all. She slept in my bed and I slept on my couch!
Further into my stint working on the ship I kissed a guy for the first time… (well, minus Jordan kissing me once in grade 4). I started telling some people on the ship that I was into guys I think…
I came back from working on the ship, and told Vito and Jordan that I liked guys too. I remember when I told Vito, it was kind of like a confession.
But I didn’t act very fast on that…
In January 2009, I purchased a house in London. I was 27 and excited about all the adventures that would come before me in my 20s and 30s. I had another girlfriend, and was so happy that I would get married, have a family, and that life in London was going to be perfect. I actually had a picket fence… really!
By 2010 I had finally told my parents that I was into guys; at least bi. That started a journey that was rifft with some adventures and some challenges. Newly out as a gay man, just starting to live out within my community, and building friendships, community, relationships and identity as the man I’d kept hidden for a lot of my life… I gradually started dreaming of a life I’d never had before….
In mid-2013 I sold my house, left my job, said goodbye to all my friends and family, and moved to Montreal.
This started a crash (read about my mental health journey here, as written by a wonderfully eloquent communicator at London Health Sciences Foundation). I discovered that my desire to re-create my life from scratch as an adventurous gay man in Montreal sparked bi-polar disorder.
I crashed hard, and was in Montreal less than three weeks… thankfully welcomed back to London to the caring arms of my family and friends.
After two hospitalizations, with mania and harrowing depression, I was back in London and back to a sense of self that I’d never fully realized before. After CBT therapy, the right combination of medication, and ongoing therapy… I built a sense of who I actually was: a man, gay, proud, educated, loved by friends and family, and grounded deeply in his community in London.
As I look back with 2020 vision on the last 10 years… it’s really been a decade of rebuilding.
Rebuilding myself entirely with resilience. My mind, my body, my soul, my career, my community… my identity… every ounce of my being.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. ~Annie Dillard
I am now turning a very big page of my life, entering 2020 fully myself.
I might not have my career totally crystal clear, and I might still need to get that dream place to live (if I continue with my current job, I can’t wait to get a really nice apartment in London!).
But I know who I am now. I know what I’m good at, and what I’m not good at. I know what BALANCE means, and how to protect it. I know WHO I AM, and I defend it. I know what supports I need to defend it: my family, my friends, my community, my inspiration, my rest, my daily reflections.
I know where I’ve come from… particularly in these last 10 years of growing up into a proud gay man.
And while I might not know exactly where I’m going, I do know WHERE I AM.
AND WHERE I AM IS GOOD.
And I am thankful.
And I am ready to celebrate 2020… a decade of planting my flag and waving it proudly. A decade of uncertainty, yes… but a decade that will grow from roots that are more firmly dug than ever in my life, and from which I will grow.