Friday, July 30, 2010
To celebrate 50 years of living I wanted to post some thoughts on what the journey has been like so far, but that sounded just ordinary so a couple weeks ago I put the task out to all of my friends to ask me something and my answers would speak to this moment.... Some of the questions were far more difficult then I really expected and I have been working on the answers for a few days...
What's the hardest decision you've ever made? Why?
Probably moving to Toronto... I was 37 when I moved and at the time i gave the decision very little thought because I knew it had to happen/wanted it to happen and had I really thought it through I would not have come. Once I was here the reality of it all kicked my ass for the first 3-4 years, it was really hard but I have ultimately come to see what the change has brought me and the changes in my life and it was all for the best, I am a better person.
What one Personal and business opportunity did you turn down but regret/ wish you didn't?
I was once offered the opportunity to live rent free in New York, which would have given me a foothold on living there permanently which is something I have always wanted to do. It came at a time just after my move to Toronto and I was too afraid making such a big move without a real job and Icould kick myself in the ass over that missed opportunity
HOW DID YOU LAST 50 YEARS without eating vegetables???? or did you get enough vitamins from a secret sauce???
Ah its sooo good to have a friend call you out isn't it? Oddly enough I eat more vegetables than I’m given credit for... I love almost all cold serve veggies like salad, cucumbers, tomatoes etc.... I even like some cooked veggies... corn, string beans, peas etc... Still I hate all veggies that have that mealy consistency like Brussels sprouts, lima beans or other boiled to death green veggie. I love Big Macs for sure ... but I consume in moderation.... besides everyone knows Pasta/ Pizza is my week point!;-)
What would you like to do in the next 50 years of your life?
My publicly stated goal is to make photography a bigger part of my life and career and ultimately Id like to have the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine so look out Annie!.
What do you think are your 3 biggest accomplishments/success during your 50 Years of Living?
Working on Star Trek, My first book of Photography and Ill leave one for the big thing to come next!
What are the 3 hardest things you have ever had to live thru or gotten over in your 50 years of Living?
Breaking my leg in 10 places at the beginning of my last semester of University, Losing my Mother, Perry and Montrice and finally Losing too many friends to AIDS in the late 80's early 90's.
What are your 3 important life lessons learned ( TOP 3 .cuz we know us leo's need to learn a lot..lol ) during your 50 Years of Living.
So many of my lessons I am still in the process of learning, like learning to listen more than speak. Life is short and should be lived to the fullest.
What is/are the most valuable lessons you've learnt?
The older I get the less I know, that learning never ends and wise people look at all sides of an issue before speaking on it.
How many times did you fall in love? Not talking infatuation OR lust. Real, concrete love is what I mean.
Based on your question six times, two times if you add sole mate to the criteria. As an aside two of them have no idea about my feelings.
Is there someone who never forgave you? If so, will 50 make you humble enough to ask for forgiveness now?
It would take a ton of hubris to think there are not a few burnt bridges out there. When it comes to that part of my life I have always had the humility to admit my mistakes, still there is a fear of the results/rejection that have sometimes kept me from taking that step... something for me to think about.
Is North America US/Canada more tolerant or less tolerant than when you were a younger man?
The USA is ultimately my home… and I believe it has become more tolerant since I came out at 27, Canada however leads North America by at least espousing tolerance with full equal treatment under the law, Gay marriage has been the law of the land for several years and guess what USA... Civilization has not unzipped as predicted by the right!
I think you should have stayed drawing like you brother Matt, it’s when I’ve seen you the most fulfilled, do you regret leaving the creative field?
I know! Totally agree with you and my course back to the creative field is well underway. Two things I have learned, While I have accomplished all I could with illustration it ultimately was being creative that I loved and should have stayed with. What I have learned in the corporate world are lessons in business and marketing which I will be able to apply in my third and final career, so I don't regret the last 14 years at all.
Did u really love me? and What was your most embarrassing moment ever? If you had life to do over again would you choose another path?
Yes because you are you! One time a bunch of us (3 guys and 1 girl) spent homecoming weekend at the University we had all graduated from and on one particular evening we ordered pizza after a big drinking night at the bar... When Joy went to the lobby to meet the delivery man I striped down to nothing but a base ball cap which covered my essentials:-) and I took a centerfold shot on her camera. Quickly dressing so that it would look like nothing had happened while she was in the lobby we giggled but quickly forgot about the prank while eating the pizza. When I came home for Christmas that same year Mother was happy to tell me that Joy had sent me a present.... Lets just say that 16 x 20 poster sized image was delightfully unwrapped to my dismay and sheer embarrassment! While I would not choose another path in life I think I would have re thought that prank;-)!
What is your relationship with the LGBT community at 50? How do you view your role in the community? How have things changed in your eyes in the LGBT community? What do you feel about "aging" in a community centered on youth? too many questions, but I wanna know!
Wow... great questions, First let me start by saying that I did not enter into "the life" until I was 27 so less than half of those 50 years. That being said I was quite active in the community in Detroit as part of Men of Color and KICK magazine and I continue to support organizations like Kick and Affirmations. My move to Toronto provided a bit of a departure though I have tried to take an artistic role in the LGBT community like my most recent gallery showing.
I can understand the bitterness that so many older men feel, it is a youth based culture to be sure, but age has always just been a number to me. I have as many 20 year old friends as I have older ones! Life is how you approach it and what you choose to make of it!
What has been your hardest lesson learned?
How to be happy with myself, faults and all
In turning fifty... how do you see your role in society with regards to your profession, photography work that you do and the representation of those often inaccurately misrepresented?
There has always been a strong sense of responsibility to those whom I photograph by allowing the model to largely pose themselves. The resulting images become more about them than and less about me. This can be challenging for me as the artist and like my dance photographs often comes down to recognizing the right moments to hit the shutter.
Do u feel like you have accomplished a lot and what would you still like to accomplish?
I often feel like I have lived two lives, one up to 27 and 27 till now... So yes I have feel I have accomplished many things I have worked on Star Trek and Star Wars and just about every major automative company on the planet. I have learned the most difficult skill of managing people. What I want to accomplish now is to create work that people will be talking positively about for hundreds of years to come.
If you had the chance to go back in time and met your younger self, what advise would you give to him, based on your 50 years of living?
For starters, eat better and go to the gym 3 times a week for the rest of your life. Stop being so fucking sensitive about everything and save some damn money guy;-)
Living on this planet for 50 years is quite a feet and you've obviously walked a lot of miles. During this journey, how many times did you fall in and out of love? and are you satisfied with what those individuals brought to your life?
In the scheme of things I'd have to say many times. I am friends with and love everyone of those individuals today and I am most satisfied that I can honestly say that because it means I am a good judge of character and that all of my relationships were based on friendship first.
Who are your inspirations now and/or have the people who inspire you changed over the last 50 years?
So many inspirations, in business, the art world, etc... I have found inspiration in so many people. When I was a boy I was inspired by astronauts landing on the moon and heroic fictional characters like Captain Kirk. I am still inspired by them but as I grow older I find inspiration in people who have a vision and see it through to the end!
Anything you wish you could change bout the past 50?
With out blame of/for anyone it might be my relationship with my family, Not all families are close, that would be something I would change.
If you were to die today (Heaven forbid) what do you think would be the most remarkable thing/quality you'd be most remembered for AND what is the most remarkable accomplishment/quality you'd want to be remembered for?
I would have to say my most remarkable quality is creativity and I would hope that I would be remembered via something I had put my life into, I have had many creative high points in my life with my illustration and design work and I hope to hit the mark in photography. Second too that I would hope people would ultimately think of me as a good person.
Do you think that the happiest time in your life (the part where all of the stars are aligned) is before or behind you?
I love this question because in hindsight I can see the path that got me here was so well laid out in advance and that I followed it pretty well and that I have been happy most of my life. Based on that experience I can only surmise that I have a destiny which I now see forming and that I will continue to be happy.
Given that you are my only friend that has reached this amazing milestone, what is one piece of life advice you can pass on those that are to come?
Hope is powerful and real, you have complete power over your life and are capable of miraculous things and negativity breeds more negativity and like a cancer can consume you, choose to be positive in all things
If you could go back to a particular time of your life right now when would it be and why?
1987 through to 1997.... Finding one's true self while in the midst of one of the most creative times in the last century was a real thrill. Many of the friends I have today I met during that time. The height of house music, cutting edge art and culture that reverberates to this day.
Your body is turning 50, but what age do you feel emotionally and spiritually?
I stopped thinking about age somewhere between 27 and 32, Emotionally I am still connected to the world and all that is new. If my body betrays me from time to time it only reminds me to appreciate the days that are still really great!
Chocolate or Vanilla and why??
Oh jeezz is that a loaded question... Chocolate the darker the better!!!!! at least 70% cocoa! What did you think I meant?!
When looking back on the last 50 years and your many voyages, what has always brought you 'home' or given you perspective? What is your truth and why?
Simply put the people in my life, and because of that home means many things to me, No man is an island and I have the best friends in the world.
At 50 Years old how old do you feel? Is this your 2nd or 3rd anniversary of turning 50? ;)
I feel Im in my 30's and I will answer that second question in 2 or 3 years.......................... Beoooch!;-)
My question is in regards to regrets. What in your life do u regret doing. What do you regret not doing? What would you encourage others to do or not to do? Oh one more what are you most proud of in your life currently and through out your life.
Dont have very many regrets, but the ones I have are big enough, I regret not having a better relationship with my family, there are a couple conversations with my mother I have regrets about. Family is important. I would encourage people to live their lives as uniquely as possible, conformity can be ok as it can be safe but not if it costs you to be untrue to your inner self. I've said it before, Im most proud of the people in my life...
What is the best thing u are planning to do after your 50th birthday for yourself?
There are a couple trips I would like to kick off of my "bucket list" (not that I have a list) But I would like to experience a few more places in the coming years.
If you could go back and change one thing in your love life, what would it be and why?
Love is simultaneously awesome and tragic and the things we all go through make up who we ultimately become. So I don't believe if I used hindsight that I would change one moment. That being said I wish that I had come to terms with being gay earlier in my life. I had always had desires I could not understand but I had a girl that I really loved and we had a family for a period. When we separated I was devastated and it was about a year later that I found myself thrusted into a relationship that would change everything for me. I wish I had come to understand myself earlier as I feel I missed out on some important moments that happen in a young persons life.
Got an interesting question for you. Kind of a two-parter question. Seeing the way technology has advanced, in all aspects, from 50 years ago to now to provide the world with modern conveniences influenced your perspective on your quality of life, in regards to experiences/outlook/friends/love/ the whole shabangabang, positively or negatively? And if so, how do you perceive you place in the world as you grow older as opposed to when you were younger? In other words, has the experience of life, as you know it, made you a more wise and optimistic to what lies ahead for you? I hope this isn't a stupid or cheesy question that you were hoping no one would ask.
As an Apple fanboi I'd have to say many advances have improved my creative life with all the things computer can do for the average person. In addition this blog is proof that technology has allowed me to show my art around the world to over 180,000 individuals! I have had the advantage of many of the medical breakthroughs as well. Where I think technology only gets it half right is the current craze of social networking sites. While its great to catch up with friends I haven't seen in 10 years these sites have reduced actual in person social interactions... The art of meeting new people. Personal sites have made it possible to look at someone’s stats (Age, Waist, Height, Color etc) and dismiss that individual with out getting to know them, their personality and character... It’s become a double edged sword.
The world too has begun to move so quickly, news is nearly as quick as its made, ethical reporting is almost not existent and reporting the negative now completely overshadows anything good! Still I believe Allot of these things will be figured out by people smarter than me... I remain optimistic…… though I am still pissed that the promise of my youth has still not come to reality.... WHERE IS MY JET PACK! I’m tired of walking!
Thanks to everyone who took a moment out of their busy lives to formulate these questions. My young friend Kenny has this quote on his Facebook And Ill leave you with this.....
“In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours.”
Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.
Posted by EpiphanyNoir at 7/30/2010 12:14:00 AM