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A Gay & The City

The clock begins to tick and tock, each tick growing louder, each tock starts to echo. The lights dim. I tiptoe through the dark. My hands guide me along the wall. I feel a velvet curtain, and it initially scares me. The lights get warm and bright. The curtain opens, and there I see someone controlling a computer next to a large screen. I quietly hide behind the curtain to see what is happening. On the screen, I see the last decade of my life playing. The person sitting in front of the computer is typing as fast as his fingers will allow him to move. I hear him swear under his breath to not disturb the show. The next thing I see is me hiding behind the curtain up on the big screen. He has caught up and is getting ready to do his next bit fo work on my life. I begin to panic and pass out.

The countdown has begun, 13 days until I hit the big 30, and to be honest, I am terrified. I know that it is another day like any other, but it's also something more than that. There has only been one birthday that I have cried with, and that was when I turned 26. I don't know why I had a great day but couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by the fact that I was turning 26. I saw everyone around me getting their lives together. Getting married, having kids, landing the dream job, etc. And there I was standing in my 2 bedroom apartment living with a roommate working as a pharmacy tech and killing myself to make ends meet. I couldn't imagine bringing a child into my life at that time, especially since I could barely afford to take care of myself.

Over the past 4 years, I have pushed these thoughts out of my mind. I began to look at my birthday as another passing day. But over the last couple of months, I have seen these thoughts poking out of the safe I put them in. I tried to ignore it and find something else to focus my attention on. That was until I woke up this morning and found those thoughts racing through my mind. I could see the safe destroyed in the corner of my mind. But in the darkness of the corner, I also recognized the man that was working on the computer. I race in and out of these thoughts to get closer to the man to find out his identity. As I get closer, he begins to smell familiar, like I've met that smell before. I turn the flashlight on, and before I shine it on his face, I try to make out his features. They seem to look familiar, as well. Very familiar. I shine the light on his face, and I am looking into a mirror.

Reflecting on the last decade of my life has brought a lot to light. I began to dive deep into the memories over the last decade. I would see flashes of one thought that would collide with another. All were blending together in a rapid-fire across my mind. A new attack came in. The arrival of panic in my mind. The latest and old begin to battle it out, and there I stand in the middle, trying to find a way out to get some control over the situation. I can still hear the clock screaming at the tops of its lungs. TICK TOCK TICK TOCK TICK TOCK!!!!!!

I find an escape route and make a run for it. I've been hit! Evading this memory has been a struggle for years now, and it has finally made the appropriate contact. I am down for the count. I keep telling myself to take deep breathes to stay conscious and to regain strength. Let the memory play out. It finishes, but the final credits refuse to roll, I see one of the latest thoughts holding onto it. Maybe there is still something to learn from this memory. Perhaps they are playing a friendly game of tug-of-war. One side has the lead, the new team is going to win it! A glimpse of my future flashes on the screen, moving too fast to comprehend. Listen to it, break it down to understand it. I can hear myself talking, but who else is that with me? Where could I be? Was that an airplane ticket? TICK TOCK! Glimpses, seconds long, begin to give me a headache. I shouldn't be watching this! I need to get out of this ring! TICK TOCK! TICK TOCK! TICK! TOCK!

The battle continues to rage on in my mind. The clock sounds like it is moving faster, perhaps its the echo bouncing back. I get to the edge of the ring and get out. Bruised, bleeding, tired, nauseous, and unable to move from the ringside. Now that I am out of harm's way, I can begin to get control over this situation. I take one deep breath, pull myself up, and gain control over the loudspeaker. STOP!

Everything stops, and there is nothing but silence. The clock is the only thing still quickly moving. I quickly decide that I can't put the old memories back, I have to deal with them. Dealt with, accepted them for what they are, and filed them away in their appropriate locations. These new thoughts are getting restless. I hear them begin to start on each other. The damages I took before still haven't healed, and I can't take on any more damage.

I grab a refreshment for everyone and sit down with each new thought to figure out why there are here. The thoughts warn me that I will have no memory of watching these thoughts as they are from the future, and my knowledge of them can ruin me. But they show me to give me hope towards the next decade of my life.

Turning 30 is a big deal. In today's world, that is more than a third of our lives. But turning 30 isn't a death sentence. It is time to revamp our efforts to achieve the growth that we have set out to get. Self-care is a huge part of this. I will be honest, over the last decade, I didn't fully understand what self-love was. It wasn't until I sat down with myself and began to work through my traumas and mistakes that I have made that I began to understand the primary edges of self-care. For me, turning 30 is a chance to regain control over my life. I now have 10 years of experience in my field of being an adult human being. Now, I can put what I have learned over that time into practice.

Let's raise a glass to winning this mental battle and to our flirty and thriving thirties!

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