One Moment In Time; Whitney Houston
The Year I Lived
For several years before 2007 I stopped living a full life. I was hysterically funny and entertaining to everyone; strong, well-spoken and the go-to guy to so many people and deeply unhappy. Basically I was in a self-torture trap that was draining me of everything I believed could be mine. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I picked-up and read The Secret. It’s a small, straight-forward book that held so many obvious assertions that it took me two days to read, but months to understand. Ultimately, I needed to accept that I was in full control of my life and what I could achieve. I strongly believe that everyone who reads The Secret comes away with their own tool for edification. Here’s what made my 2007 so special…
Health: There’s no greater sin than the deep-seated self-hatred and sadistic behavior that results from the dissatisfaction in your appearance. In 2007 I recognized that I was missing the best years of my body. I was so entranced looking at the alleged love handles and perceived beer belly that I wasn’t seeing the results of my gym regimen. I was depriving myself from partaking in the delicious foods I love most and all for what? Nothing but the vicious perception that I would never attain the body I wanted. Today, I workout four-to-five days per week and eat what I want in moderation. I love my body – all 163 lbs of it. At 38 years old and 5’7”, I’m still holding down a 36”, 29”, 34 frame, I recognize that as I speed toward 40 years old, I’m going to enjoy every bit of my strength and vitality. I even make it a point to blow myself a kiss in the full length mirror every now and again.
Love: “No one will hurt me again!” That’s what I told myself. I was being honest too. The problem is that by safely fencing my heart away, I was cheating myself out of the opportunity for love and hurting my chances at a shared happiness. The moment I stopped worrying about being hurt and concentrated on being happy, it happened. BD and I went from over a year of hittin’ the booty call hot button, to committing to each other and sharing an amazing year together. It isn’t all rose and vanilla candles either; I learned that I actually had to challenge all of my previous notions of what being committed really meant. Most of all, I made a promise to myself to be honest, open and communicate with my partner, so that there are no surprises. It may sound corny, but we really have the potential to be each other’s best friend. After years of telling myself that I wanted “the maximum amount of pleasure with a minimum amount of bullshit,” I found that the maximum amount of pleasure requires that I put my best foot forward and be vulnerable. It is in that vulnerability that I experience true love.
Friends / Family: This was a year of clarity with regard to my friends and family. To steal a line from an advertisement, I chose the ‘free and clear’ plan with regard to my relationship with those I love. This year I accepted that I cannot change the hearts and minds of those around me – even by bullying or force. I want so much to be understood and sometimes I alienate those I love by trying to force them to do what’s best for them. To take a step back and allow folks to live their lives as they see fit and respect their wishes was one of the hardest lessons this year taught me. How my family and close friends live their lives is not for me to judge. Today I understand that to love someone sometimes means to mine my own business. I hope the best for each of them in their journey and I’m here for each of them if they need me.
Being Sorry, Forgiving and Amputations: An important part of my growth this year was learning how to let go. The only way to truly let go is to know when you need to apologize for doing wrong. No, I’m not on some 12-step program, but it became very apparent that you can’t progress when you’re holding on to past wrongs – especially your own. I felt much lighter when I finally apologized for things I knew I did that hurt folks around me. Whether it was my cheating, my inability to say, “I love you…” to the people I really love, etc. In the end, I’m not holding the guilt of knowing that I wronged people and didn’t do something about it. I also found that forgiving is extremely difficult – especially when some people never apologized. I’ve forgiven those who wronged me and in doing so am not chained to their pain. Pain, resentment and anger were draining my energy. Those feelings were coupled with the false hope that one day many of the folks that wronged me would see the error of their ways and apologize for the turmoil they had inflicted on my life. Ultimately, that apology never came and I was resentful for each day that passed without it. This year I forgave. I wasn’t giving the people who hurt me another day of my life. I wasn’t allowing them to steal my energy, my thunder or to steal my light one more day. In 2007, I forgave…I forgave it all for me. The moment I forgave I was free. I didn’t have one of those religious experiences. I simply was released from all the draining old hurt I was harboring for so many years. Unfortunately, I also had to make some hard decisions with regard to people who have no place in my life. If someone is not FOR you than they are AGAINST you. Anyone who attempts to belittle you; never sees the good in you; consistently hurts you; has no place in your life. I gave that advice to many a friend, but it wasn’t until this year that I truly practiced the art of self-preservation-by-amputation. Amputating someone you’ve held dear and sincerely love is hard, but not being true to yourself is harder. This year I performed very necessary amputations and was all the better for them. I now live with Tamia as my friend/love soundtrack...I choose me.
All things being equal, 2007 I lived life fully. I worked hard, played hard and loved hard. I enjoyed my life because this year was the one that taught me that life is truly short and I’m not going to look back with regret. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but I can now assure myself that no matter what, I’m going to love life. There will be good and bad days, but I’m in the driver’s seat. I make it happen. I control where I’m going. ’07 proved to be filled with so much good that it helped restore my belief in all that could be mine.
So as I bid ’07 farewell and welcome in ’08 I feel like a kid on the day before visiting Disney…I know there’s magic waiting.
Happy new year…happy living.
Keep passin’ the open windows…