January is often the month when many of us feverishly start to fulfill or come up with what we want to change in our own lives in the coming year. We become a nation of wide-eyed idealists, hell-bent on doing more, becoming more and repairing the so-called chinks in our armor.
While I'm certainly all for personal growth and developing ourselves as gay men (and humans), it's super easy to get sucked into that rat race, becoming a human doing rather than a human being.
I adore this quip from Lily Tomlin:
"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."
So, let's take a moment and shift our mindsets. As gay men, our own "resolutions" and plans for improvement vary widely. Some want to lose weight and get "fit", while others want to make it big, landing that corner office or singing in the spotlight on Broadway. Others still hope to take adventures cross-country or overseas, soaking up all life has to offer. Some hope for a new relationship, a revitalized relationship, the means to take care of an ailing parents, or completely starting anew.
Step back, for a moment, from this dizzying game of success. The rat race. The rapid, doing, doing, doing that often leaves us exhausted and knocks our priorities out of whack. Slow down. Take a deep breath in and cleansing breath out.
Now, step into this idea of contribution. Contribution is all about what you are bringing to the table of humanity.
In the book "The Art of Possibility", which I highly recommend, the authors note that when we live from a place of contribution, we escape the seduction of comparison and the black and white thinking of "failure" and "success."
Imagine waking up each morning and asking yourself: How will I be a contribution today? How will I be a gift to others? This shift in thinking gets me so excited, not only for my personal life, but for what all of us can create, next year, in our own community.
What if, as gay men, we stepped into the new year with this insatiable thirst for contribution to the gay men around us?
How will you bring more light into our community in 2015? What small gestures can you take or make to help enrich the lives of the gay men around you? What would you say? What would you do?
I firmly believe that gay men are uniquely gifted with being the people we are. We are here to shed some light for the rest of humanity about what it means to be human. For me, this includes inserting graciousness where there is little. Forgiving, when rage is more popular or seems fitting. Being gentle when the crowd is hoping for revenge. Being thoughtful when it's often easy to stay wrapped in our patterns of thoughtlessness.
As we all head into 2015, I want every gay man to think about the contribution he can be to his community, family, friends, and to the larger LGBTQ community. How will you be of service? This isn't limited to "community service," which we often put into an "other" category.
Wake up with that question: How will I be a contribution today, in every area of my life?