I was in Toronto the other day for a PositiveLite.com business meeting. This year there will be a couple minor changes and my role will be part of them, but more on that will come soon.
As I rode the bus home I had time to think about my time at PositiveLite.com starting with my first post published in March 2011. It has been six years already. It was my debut writing for a big time website after a short stint writing for my local AIDS Service Organization (ASO) here in Guelph.
One day I asked the staff member I was working with (Megan DePutter – now back with PositiveLite.com) - for a blogging site I should follow so that I could improve my skills. The rest is history.
I didn’t know how things ran there, thinking it was this huge organization with many people involved. Imagine my surprise to learn it was then a couple of guys who worked via the internet in two different places, one from his bedroom in downtown Toronto and the other from his basement in the rural community of Warkworth, Ontario.
For the first of couple years my only contribution was as a writer and I was asked to share all posts from the site on my social media network. At the time I didn’t have much of a following but it all changed when I was asked to take over social media duties for the whole site. Up to this point I had spent most of my life working in factories, and a short time as a Personal Support Worker, I had never been involved in anything this important ever. To share a story, written by someone from Canada or the United States, and have it ‘liked and shared’ within seconds by someone in Japan was quite mind blowing for me.
So as I travelled home this week I thought of the many things I should have done while I was younger. Except for being a father, the only real accomplishment I was proud of, all those years back then were a waste. They say the biggest fear out there is fear itself and it was so true for me - I feared starting over. Now being more mature, I see how easy it could have been.
And then I thought, here I am today, on the eve of my 63rd birthday and I’m starting to slow down, considerably. I enjoy all the things I’m doing but I’m not as motivated as I need to be. I’m not sure if it’s my medications, the normal aging process or if it’s this new thing I’m dealing with – depression. Some days I just want to grab the camera and head out for the day, alone. I prefer to be alone, I can go at my own pace and it’s my agenda.
When I was first diagnosed I didn’t need many of the services offered to me so I went on with my life for seven-plus years. Then when I did need them and wanted to get involved I went at it passionately to help in any way I could. Aside from my signature fedora hat, I’ve wore many hats in the work I’ve done.
About a year ago I was asked to write a CV (Curriculum vitae: a summary of academic and professional history and achievements) listing all the trainings and work I have done and was surprised to have a list more than two pages in length. Along the way I have had learn to not say too much in a meeting at the ASO because you end up involved or in charge of it. I choose my words more carefully and try to frame it as a statement like, “maybe we could work together and do this”. It is becoming my go-to comment.
So I’m realizing that I need to find the things I’m having the most fun doing and stick to just them. I don’t want to see 63 as being over the hill but it’s time to start enjoying life, doing more fun things that don’t resemble a job. I’m getting better at my photography hobby, I’m inspired to get more creative with it. My grandkids are growing up to be beautiful and creative young ladies so it is time to spend more time getting to know them before they too are grown up and gone. (Yes, I have all granddaughters for now)
It’s not always safe to make plans too far ahead of time but I think I can get away with this one. If the date comes sooner, well – it could work just as well.
So I’m making it official, on my birthday, two years from now I will be retiring from many things I do. I hope to continue writing for PositiveLite.com and doing what I can on social media and the rest of the time. I am still concerned with HIV and aging, disclosure and criminalization and will support it where I can. But it is time a younger generation jumped in, it is however their future too. I’m good and I’m almost done. It’s time to take care of me so that no one else will have to.
“It’s better to burn out than rust”