Rage, Rage Against Your Former Self

Jay Hall
5 min readJan 1, 2022
Photo by Attentie Attentie on Unsplash

2021 was a wild ride. COVID-19 kept my dreams at bay (for now). So, while I rode out events being shut down—slowing down my spherical economy, I took on a couple of projects. The big 2 were acting in the video for and the smaller production of this year’s Fear and Manitoba Nurses Matter.

Both taught me a lot about people but mostly, they taught me a lot about myself … or more correctly, who I do and don’t want to be.

Like everyone, I have some skeletons hanging in my closet and this year’s biggest project of all was cleaning out that closet.

I worked hard to be a better man and while I’m by no means good, I am better.

In the midst of losing people to this horrible virus, letting go of the person who (until now) has been the love of my life, some pretty horrendous circumstances, and trying to find my worth, I discovered a very important lesson along the way.

You know the point in every movie where the main character is a bit of a shit head and can’t be all they can be, but then they go in a different direction and eventually everything changes for them? That’s me. I’m not at the point where everything has changed but I am at the point where I’m seeing small improvements as I make small improvements in my self.

The best thing I did was take a cold hard look at my faults and work to fix them. We all have faults and flaws and I am now convinced that the people who do well in life, who are genuinely happy and who reach their goals are the ones of us that can admit these mistakes or shortcomings and fix them.

None of us are born perfect; none of us are perfect. We’re all broken in some way that would offend someone else or cause pause.

The next best thing I did was let instinct drive a lot of my decisions. My instinct is so much smarter than I am. This isn’t to be mistaken for a gut feeling, which is essentially acting rash. Instinct is my total knowledge and experience assessed against a risk vs reward scenario. It’s helped me weed out liars and people stuck in their shit head phase of life. I hope they too, can go on the journey I’m on eventually.

There are so few bad people doing bad things, but more good people doing bad things than any of us care to admit, whether that comes in the form of cheating on a partner or something worse. Good people doing bad things often comes from desperation or lying to ourselves; there are are very few exceptions.

But we all move at a different pace; some of us get over our faults and some live within them forever. What has become apparent to me is that if you consciously shift your life into a better direction, you don’t have to worry as much about that which you cannot control.

Eventually, I’ll find what I was born to do, but I started wanting to become a better and smarter person much later than some, so I have some catching up to do.

The trick is to be kind but not a push over, strong but not a bulldozer, and selfless when the time is right but selfish when the timing calls for that side of you.

Another trick: helping a good person do good things and crushing the bad people doing bad things.

Towards the second half of the year people kept asking me why I’m not as worried as most about my future, even though the last couple of years have been bleak where they should have been interstellar. I had to think about it for a moment, but I guess the only answer I have is this:

I got comfortable with my discomfort, with the dark, with the traumatic.

I found calm in knowing I am on the right personal path and no matter how much has to change, I will always rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I will be fine.

I may not be rich or famous. I may not be a sought after expert. Hell, maybe no one remembers my name when my energy is redistributed in this universe.

But …

My childhood, while problematic, was pleasant. I have some incredible memories from my nightclub and event days. I’ve dated incredible women. I worked for and met Barack Obama. I’ve helped along the way. I have achieved some success. And while trying to figure out which fork in the road to take, I’ve smelled some roses. Not too shabby.

For far too long, I’ve compared my life and my failures to others and that has clouded my view of the great stuff. Those skeletons are being cleaned out at a steady and vigorous pace.

As I move into 2022, I have some very reasonable goals in my personal and professional life. Whether I crush them or not will depend entirely on how dedicated I am to them, but I have learned that if I achieve these goals I will live a much happier and more content life.

This all started with not knowing my place in the world because of C19 and it continued on as I made a conscious effort to correct my many mistakes. I’ve been hiding from quite a bit of trauma for a long time (allowing it to hold me down) and this year I dealt with it in a much healthier way than I had in the past.

The new me I see in the mirror every day is much more dapper, and that’s not just because I spent a lot of time on my physical well being and I grew hair. It’s because I know I’ve started the process of making up for any negativity I’ve put out into the world and I just hope it’s enough to bring me back from the brink.

As I journey out of 2021 and slam the door, I am done arguing with anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. I did all I could. I’m going to put all of my focus into positive subjects like growing my business, continuing to be a better human, following the most exciting story since I was born; James Webb, and finding my rightful and righteous place on the spec of dirt and water.

As I enter 2022, I keep Dylan Thomas’ words close.



Jay Hall

I find therapy in words. 3 types of articles I write: Life Lessons, What If (fiction meets reality) and Nonsense Listicles.