Conversations about HIV and Aging: Guillermo
Q: How did the U=U message shift your outlook on dating and connection?
A: After living years in fear and shame, I finally understood that I was not damaged and being loved was nothing I needed to beg for. Intimacy was always a fear based-rational process and not a human experience. Always worried to impact somebody’s life by passing an illness that will change their existence forever. Now I enjoy a healthier-intimate life experience where I am not afraid to explore but still, in a responsible way.
Q: What's your goal for the future? What do you hope to be doing in the next 5-10 years personally or career-wise?
A: This is probably the most challenging aspect of my life since I never thought that I would live this long. My approach was always living in the present and not making plans for the future. After three decades of living a healthy life with HIV, I guess I am here to stay longer than I expected, but now, as an older man. It is hard to understand what is “typically” part of just aging and what is aging with HIV being on meds for more than 20 years. I am looking forward for a more adventurous life, working and producing income in a balanced and harmonious way, being free of shame … No more careers for me. Just the joy of working, earning a living, creating an impact and holding positions and opportunities that allow me to do so. There is so much more to give and share, but it takes others to see you and give you that platform.
Q: What book or movie inspired you most?
A: “A New Earth: Awakening Your Life's Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle. When this book came out in 2008, I remembered hearing about it through Oprah Winfrey when she decided to do a live cast (way before Zoom folks!) to read the book, one chapter every week with Eckhart. This book has been transformational for the way I see life and I apply its principles every day.
Q: What's your personal mantra?
A: “It is not too complicated.” We tend to take life too seriously and the pressure of living a life following the society standards of happiness and success. None of that works for me, and I just want a non-complicated life because it is not complicated. We make it complicated.