February 1999

Making the Most of Life... Before it's too Late

This month has been very very stressful for me. Just under a week ago my mother suffered a heart attack. She is young, under 60, and generally in okay health. You can imagine what a shock this was to me. As it turned out she pulled through well, but now is the uphill climb of lifestyle change...

I also went on an "official date" with this guy that I met a couple of months ago. We seemed to hit it off well. I really enjoyed his company, and find him attractive. This may not sound stressful, but it is. I'm very out of practice with this dating thing, and I have not really ever been in an LDR. I'm having a hard time deciding what I should expect from the relationship, understanding my own level of commitment, and reading his feelings.

With all that said, I just want to ramble on a bit about my feelings on dealing with stress.

With the initial scare of my mother's heart attack passed, I have moved on to post-trauma grief. I can't seem to get the realization, that I was close to losing one of the most important people in my life, out of my head. I seem to be dwelling on what could have happened. This may not sound very healthy, but it has helped me understand that I am not happy with the amount of time that I have been spending on myself and just enjoying life.

Unfortunately, bills continue to mount, so quitting my jobs and roaming the planet probably won't happen soon. I do feel that I need to spend more time just enjoying life. It seems to me in this commercialized and materialistic society that we have all helped build, the emphasis is no longer on true enjoyment. People want bigger and better. What ever happened to a cold glass of lemonade and a beautiful sunset?

I could be going crazy but I truly feel burnt out. There are just too many pressures in life. Bills, work, friends, sexual expectations, household chores, blah blah. If that wasn't bad enough I am also gay. So that adds a few more: coming out, harassment, new dating situations, physical appearance expectations, blah blah.

With my new found outlook on how short life could be, I am going to take these pressures and put them all in the garbage disposal. If I (or you) stop worrying about what people expect us to own, participate in, do for a living, or look like, we would be happier. Also, if we learn to appreciate what we already have in life instead of what we want next, contentment will follow.

Family...This is an interesting problem. My family is one of the most important things in my life. So why don't I spend more time with them? Well for starters I am not out to them. This creates stress for me that I choose not to deal with. It is just easier to avoid them. I have tried to tell them, but it never seems like the right time, it never seems really necessary. On the other hand I want them to know who I am, to better their understanding of me and my needs in life. I just feel that ever since I realized who I am, there has been this wall building. By now it is way too tall.

So I guess what I am saying is simple. Everyone put down that work, move from the computer, and go outside. Find something that you love doing that requires a fair amount of social interaction. While you are engaged in that social interaction, make an effort to notice all the small things that you would normally pass by. Let yourself enjoy wherever your heart takes you to. Who cares if Mr. & Mrs. Jones aren't into it? If you are true to yourself and make an effort to find all the reasons to be excited about waking up, people will eventually be attracted to you, and you will be happier.

As for the family...If you think that you have something they should know, tell them. I have thought about this a lot. I think that we (my immediate family) will be a lot happier if I tell them everything that is on my mind. By including them in the most personal parts of my life I will be showing them the trust and love they have always shown me.

I also have to put my little plug in about being gay. Life also seems too short to care what a bunch of non-gay people think about me (or you). I have decided that I am going to date guys, and I am not going to hide the fact that we are dating. If people don't like the fact that I am gay, well that is just too bad. I don't feel that my happiness should suffer because some ignorant people can't get past their own BS puritan sexuality issues.

We're Queer and Fabulous!!

Well this has already gotten way out of control, and if you read it I am amazed. Sometimes that soapbox is just too tempting. Have a great month!

Matthew, 24, is a freashmen at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. He enjoys computers, outdoor activities, good books, romantic evenings, and duck decoys. Currently a communications major, but that could change.

Email: junior@coredcs.com

Homepage: http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Park/3628

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