Pivotal points, forks in the road

I had lunch with two co-workers last Thursday, one was leaving at the end of this week to pursue other avenues, and she wanted to get together before I left on vacation.

We got to discussing life, new beginnings and life choices. I told the two younger ladies what I have learned about life changes, which is this: There are pivotal points in one’s life where a decision is so important that it can change the course of one’s life dramatically. I explained that there are four, or five, points in my lifetime where a decision if made differently, would have altered my life completely.

fork in a road

One such choice would have been a co-worker I knew from my first full-time job at Ad-Scan. I believed, with hindsight, that he loved me and he wanted to be with me. If we had moved in together as roommates as he suggested, then I would have come out a lot sooner than I did. I would have built a life around us.

Another choice was to dropping out of college, the return to get my OAC/Grade 13 before attending university. If I had remained in college, I would have different friends and a career as a lab technician, and I would have built a life around this scenario.

About the same time as university, I met a certain co-worker. It was because of her that I moved to Vancouver. If we had never met at the bookstore those summer months, then I would never have thought of moving to Vancouver. I would have built a life in Toronto, I am not sure what that life could have been, but I guess I would be in IT somewhere living close to work, or still at home with my brother.

Another was when the co-worker mentioned previously (just above) passed away, I got pretty home sick once and I was tempted to give it all up, but my sister talked me out of it stating I had a good career with a pension and good benefits, I also built a life here and I had friends here. It would be a shame to just throw it all away and to have to restart all over again.

Lastly, if I had never met my partner online, or he did not answer my ad, then I would have had a different life than the one I currently have. Perhaps, I may have even moved back to the Toronto area.

We all have pivotal moments in our lives. Points so critical, these forks in the road, that a decision one way, or another, leads to an alternate life existence.

I have the advantage of age and hindsight. I know my pivotal life points, these forks in the road. There are only five, but they lead me to where I am today.
—Robert Confiant 23 July 2018

Those were the days

Those were the days
And what a time was had
Sitting around the kitchen table
A-heeing and a-hawing to those Blue Grass lyrics
Dad singing and strumming
With the boys by his side.

jammin

Those were the days
The music flowed
Them hurting songs
Made you want to sing along
Picking and strumming those Country hits.

Those were the days
What a time we had
Dancing the night away
Weekend in
And weekend out
We partied all weekend long.

Those were the days
Those were the times
The music’s done
The old man’s gone
And the boys moved on.

Those were the days…
—Robert Confiant 16 July 2018

My father and weekends

dawn1

I am writing a verse (I just whip it up, but it still needs work, so I haven’t posted it yet). It got me thinking about those days of yesteryear and my dad.

My father lived for the weekend. He hated work day mornings. I remember my sister warning me not to say anything to anyone the first time I had to get up to work with my father, my brother and my sister (As I was one of those cheery people in the morning and they were not). But come the weekend my father was up with the birds.

I don’t think he wanted to miss anything come the weekends. Often times, he would organize social gatherings with lots of homemade music. He would invite his brother and a few of his friends to play and sing a song or two (or more). Sometimes, these parties would start one day and continue well into the next.

What good times; what great memories.
—Robert Confiant 16 July 2018

It’s not the same

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We have taken to watch old 1970’s and 1980’s television shows (My partner records them). Most of them are unwatchable. Wonder Woman is guaranteed to put my partner to sleep. Lots of other shows, I just cannot sit through. The odd one for example, WKRP in Cincinnati, is tolerable. For the most part, it holds up.

If sports weren’t on, we watch home some TV.  (Sports got priority in our house, go HNIC on CBC). Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s most sitcoms were home some. We watched most of the popular ones. “Classic TV,” they call them now. As a strong Catholic family, this was important (Well, Archie Bunker might have been pushing it and The Jefferson’s). This changed of course as we aged with shows, such as, Hill Street Blues and the like.

Memories of family time, they make me miss the past some times, but its mom and dad that I miss the most. If your parents are still alive, you should treasure them while they are still present.

Classic TV re-runs watching has taught me that one really cannot go back. It just isn’t the same.
—Robert Confiant 12 July 2018

The comings and goings in life

Facebook

I re-joined Facebook.

I deleted my account because of the data sharing issue, but returned because I missed connecting with friends and family (turns out my family is pretty quiet on FB lately). I returned because I live in British Columbia and they live in Ontario, so the distance thing is an issue. Also, I missed the friends I had on FB.

When I was a gamer, I had thousands of friends then I gave gaming up and a lot of them left (I encouraged them to leave if they were just gamers – no offense was taken. A few remained; namely those I chat with over the years). At the time I deleted my old account I had 200 to 300 “friends.” Now I have 50 or so friends and most of them are family. I am still trying to re-connect with those I used to chat with on a semi-regular basis, but I believe some of them have left FB. I may never re-connect with most of them, but such is life. People come into and out of one’s life throughout the course of the journey. It is just the way life is.

It really doesn’t matter in the long run. It won’t be long until Facebook is passé and it crashes and dies. It is just a matter of time (I really should get people’s contact information that I do not already have).

Any way the point is this, value your friends while you can. You never know what is coming up the pipe line. Don’t leave any regrets. You hear of people say, “I should have… told the person that you love them, that you valued the friendship, that they were special, etc. Don’t be one of these people that regret not speaking up.
—Robert Confiant 27 June 2018

Two strikes: Growing up gay and handicapped

I have always known I was gay. It wasn’t until I was fourteen that I knew what attraction to the same sex was called, but I knew I like boys better than girls.

I tried asking girls out; it never worked. I would date once, and then that would be it.

In grade school and middle school, I always picked girls (at least subconsciously) I knew were safe, either they were never interested, or they were already taken. I never thought it was the “gay thing,” as I never really came out to myself. No, I thought it was the “dis abled” thing (I have a mild case of Cerebral Palsy and because of it, I walk with a limp).

gay & disabled

On reflection, I see it was probably a bit of both: the “gay thing” and the “handicapped issue”. It really doesn’t matter, which because I was looking at boys long before I thought of girls (however rarely). I never acted on anything once I hit high school.

I first admitted to myself I might be gay in at fifteen or sixteen; I knew, but I also knew not to act on it. I grew up strict Catholic. In-fact, I even tried to pray the gay away. This was one of the issued that caused me to become depressed (along with low self confidence – which is another story for another time).

When I was ready to come out to everyone at the age of thirty, my brother bet me to it. He came out because he contacted HIV and he was dying. I went back in. My parents asked me if I was gay, but because of the AIDS epidemic, and HIV scare, I said, “No,” even though it was all I could do to prevent myself from hyper-ventilating on the spot. I reasoned I wasn’t acting on anything, so it wouldn’t matter. I never thought about the future. I ended up coming out at forty.

It hasn’t been easy being both “dis abled” and gay. My being “dis abled” hid a lot of questions growing up as to why I wasn’t dating, or why I did not have a girlfriend. I retrospect, I am thankful for this. I grew up in one of the projects of Toronto, and life would have been extremely difficult if people knew I was gay on top of my having a handicap.

Such is life. Things worked out for me in the long term though.
—Robert Confiant 2 April 2018

One more time

It’s been a while, since I last posted, and it will be a little while more. I am on the “Learn French” kick. As a result, I have been spending a lot of my energy on this task.

I have a French last name, Confiant. We have traced the family to the south of France. Our family moved to Saint Pierre et Miquelon (a French satellite off the coast of Newfoundland) many generations ago. For reasons that are lost in history, our family settled in Cape Breton N.S. (Canada). At the time assimilation was occurring. It was either assimilate, or move out, (Which is why one finds French settlement in Louisiana and surrounding areas). My family chose to stay; they chose to assimilate. In so doing, we lost the capability to speak French.

My partner and I  are planning a trip to France next year. I am attempting to learn French (again). I have a French last name, so I figured I better try ti learn the language.

Numerous times in the past, I tried to learn French for the same reason I always attempted to get in touch with my roots. All my attempts were in vain. I found I could read quite a lot of the language; I failed to speak it well. I didn’t get much practice with it, so I gave up each time. This time around, I hope to succeed.

I will try to post at least once a week. Jusque-là, souhaite-moi bonne chance.

Au revoir,
Robert Confiant 2 February 2018