Lots of people have been using the Facebook “thingy” to create a summary of their year to share with friends and family. It’s been fun to browse those Facebook-selected highlights for my friends. When I did my own Facebook year in review, it didn’t quite capture 2014 the way I remember it. It certainly got some of the good stuff, skipped all of the bad stuff and painted a very Facebook-appropriate picture of my life in 2014. But when I think back on the last year, there was so much that Facebook missed that made the year special, memorable and another step forward in my life’s journey.
What Facebook definitely got right was that I had a pretty awesome year. What made it so amazing wasn’t the travel, events or activities that Facebook focused on, but sharing all of those things with family and friends near and far. I was blessed to reconnect with two important groups of friends from my past — a group of kids from elementary school that I hadn’t seen in over 40 years and my beloved Jug Jugs from college, some I haven’t seen in over 30 years. In both instances I was reminded that even though I have “grown up” and moved a long way from Queens and Boston, my history with those special people is a huge part of the man I am today. That’s why it was so great to effortlessly reconnect and build new memories. I hope to definitely see those people again in 2015.
Last year was also the year of the gay wedding. Three dear, long-term friends married the men of their dreams, legally and surrounded by their community. While I was only able to attend one wedding in person, all three brought tears to my eyes, warmed my heart and nurtured my soul. The epic changes legally and socially that allow my friends, and all gay people, to marry legally, still amaze me. It truly is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime. Weddings will never get old for me. The power of standing in front of your chosen community and making that commitment is one of the most important things we will ever do and the fact that gay people can now do it makes me very happy. Whenever possible, I will always choose to celebrate the love and community of my friends.
Speaking of community, while this past year brought several wonderful new people into my life, one very special person left. My dear friend of over 20 years, Kim George, passed away quietly while holding my hand. While I grieve his loss in some small way every day, I am so grateful that I could be with him as he left this earth. I take comfort in knowing that during those last moments of his life he wasn’t in pain and could feel the love of both George and me. It brought closure for me and made it easier to move on. Kim’s death reminds me to live with purpose and intention. Don’t phone it in. I try to sweat the small stuff less. To enjoy the good stuff more — big and little. I say “I love you” often and make sure everyone in my community knows how much I appreciate them. And I’m starting to do all the logistical things that will make it easier for whoever is taking care of things when I’m gone. That was a beautiful gift Kim gave me and all of his close friends — clear instructions about what to do. I’m not fully prepared like Kim was, but one of my goals this year is to get my house in order.
It has been a pretty cool year, with more good than bad. More laughs than tears. And more love than hate. Whatever 2015 brings, I think I’m ready and if I’m not, I’m pretty confident I can adapt and roll with the punches. I wouldn’t have it any other way.