Next weekend marks the last I will spend as a thirty-four year old man.  After Monday, I’ll be a year older.  Of course, as I often do, I have spent the last few days reflecting on what the last year has been like, and what sort of future my next year holds for me.  And, of course, I wanted to share a little bit of this.

At this time last year, I was making plans to head west.  I had finalized a transfer with Apple.  I had been wrapping up a visit with my family.  My car was packed with all of my earthly possessions, and I just wanted to hit the road.  My plans were to take me from the quiet backwater of Maine, where I grew up, and where I had spent the previous year healing from a broken relationship, to Denver, where I am today, high up in the sky and among some of the most gorgeous peaks and mountains I’ve ever seen.  I set off, dipping into New York City, stopping into Chicago, and the pressing onward towards Denver.  Three days and nearly two thousand miles later, I landed in this city on the front range, in a world I’d never been to before.

It’s been a really tumultuous year here.  It took quite a bit of time to get my feet beneath me.  I started off really scattered, and did what most gay men do – I took off to the bars.  I spent a lot of time casting my net, socializing, networking, and finding my place among the gay community here.  For a few months, it was a crazy run of going out, working on very little sleep, and seeking some sort of feeling of belonging.  By the time January came, and I had a visit from my dear friend Amanda, I thought I had finally come home.  I really wanted to make Denver a place for myself.  I wanted to settle in here for a bit.

January gave way to spring and Amanda’s arrival in April.  Work continued, as did my crazy life.  Eventually, though, I had to put the brakes on things.  I had to slow down.  My writing, my goals, my life, required that I pull up a bit and take a good look at where I was.  I was thirty-four years old, barely able to pay my bills, and leading the life of a twenty-something.  It wasn’t where I wanted to be, nor where I expected to be.  I had fallen into old patterns of behavior, and needed to adjust.  Somewhere around the month of May, I stopped being that boy.  I took up hiking, and getting out into the wilderness around my home.  I found solace out on the trails.  Things began to take on a new perspective, as I calmed down.  I wasn’t desperately seeking a partner.  I was finally feeling okay with being in my skin.

It was around then that I started to really connect with a few people here in Denver.  Andy and I became closer.  He and I began hanging out, meeting up for a bite every now and again, and just talking.  He was the first person here that could understand exactly where I was in my life.  We were two guys without much direction, but with potential and energy to do anything we wanted. It was Andy who reminded me to be better to myself, and to work on my confidence.  It’s been Andy who’s reminded me that I’m better than I think I am.

Summer came, and I began my housesitting and airport runs for the connections I’d made here in town.  It was in these weeks, away from my apartment, and away from the circles that I’d fallen into, that I realized I could be and do much more for myself than I was at that point.  Sitting in the home of a couple, with all the trappings of domestic life, and feeling the energy of the two of them lingering in every room, and in every space of their home, it became clear to me that I this is the life I wanted, and deserved.  I’d been giving a lot of myself to those around me, and getting very little in return.  This needed to change.  I needed to reserve a little more of me for me.  Selfish as it felt at first, it’s made all the difference.

As summer has melted into autumn, and I’m now looking at the start of another year in my life, so many things are on the horizon.  I’m taking a trip to Seattle, thanks to the couple who’s house I watched over.  I’m meeting Caleb in person.  There’ll be a lot more about him at a later date, but suffice to say, I may have finally found something more magical and powerful than I ever thought possible again.  I am also taking a trip to Vancouver, BC, to visit with Itai, an amazing man who has inspired me to do better, be better, and treat myself with more dignity and respect.  My birthday will be spent in Canada, on the coast, and in a place I’ve never been before.  Just as it should be.

Next year is going to be amazing.  I’ll be living with Amanda till April.  After that remains a little shrouded in fog, but if all goes well, I’ll be in a place and space that is more than I ever saw coming true for myself.  Again, more details about this in the future.  I will also be finally finishing my MFA, and getting this degree under my belt.  I’ll be an official writer.  I’ll have the credentials.  I’ll have proven to myself what I’m capable of.  I will also have been to the gym consistently for a year, and been paying attention to my health in a way I’ve never done before.  I can’t wait to see what I look like after a year of focus.

Thirty-Five is going to look really good on me.  I’m beyond Optimistic.  I’m actually a little Ecstatic.

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