It’s Been 3 Years!

Gays in the Life turned three years old yesterday. Can you believe that? I was listening to one of my favorite podcast this week when I found myself triggered. You see, the conversation centered around how perfectionism could be the cause of procrastination or the reason some people never go after their goals. Needless to say, The Friend Zone podcast struck a chord and it got me thinking about what growing the Gays in the Life platform has taught me. I suffered some major writer’s block this summer and wasn’t as productive as I would have liked to be. Large part of that was due to me being unable to get out of my head. Here are a few items that have contributed to both the darkest and lightest lessons over the past few years (and especially the past few months):

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Productivity. When I started Gays in the Life I had more time and endless energy to put into ideas and content. Fast forward through a couple promotions, a busier work life, and time juggling personal projects and you’ll notice all that energy and time has gone out the window.

Today I’m slowly getting back into my groove and making time to fidget with the blog every couple days. If writer’s block is getting the best of me, I’m maintaining tasks for my side hustles or tweaking ideas to improve the GITL platform. The secret for me has been to remember the fun. Once the fun is gone, I’ll truly be doomed and none of you will see another blog post.

Next is my relationship; my marriage. Three years of diving into my marriage through the blogging medium most definitely shed some light on strengths and weaknesses – things we need to work on and things we can celebrate.  Gays in the Life has become an ever-changing blueprint for our relationship.

Going through old posts, we recognize opportunities to learn and grow beyond the lessons we’ve already shared on the site. We jump at any chance to improve below average scenarios and capitalize on shared victories. My heart dances because S and I have been able to share our experiences and paint a realistic view of what it takes to survive the early years of marriage.

Balance has been trying and tricky the last few years. I touched on it lightly at the top of the post when I mentioned having a busier work life and juggling personal projects.  Navigating my perceived lack of availability was exhausting and began to eat at my creative process. My life was evolving in other areas and keeping it all together and on track was a challenge.

Instead of getting caught up in the sludge of life I do my best to keep to the schedule and goals I set, and don’t beat myself up about missing any desired deadlines. Another helpful trick to keep your cool when you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, is to reflect on the things you did accomplish that day. A quick reminder that you aren’t completely worthless never hurt anyone – and remember, you have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyonce.

With all that being said, I’m happy and appreciative for how Gays in the Life continues to morph. From the early stages of focusing on content only and maintaining the basics of the site, to present day where I’m digging more into GITL social media analytics and elevated site design… I’m challenged, inspired, and feel the next phase of evolution on the horizon.

We’ve got some fun things coming your way on GaysintheLife.com and it only works with your support. So thank you all for hanging in there with us.

Cheers,

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3 Years A Husband.

Anniversaries happen every year, yet I’m still unsure where the time goes so quickly. “So, does being married feel any different?” I’ll ask good friends after receiving a save-the-date magnet – I know they aren’t technically married yet, but come on – or during their wedding receptions.  It’s a question we got from family and friends after our courthouse ceremony.

Being married feels no different to us and I never expected it would. We’re the same two schmoes that met in a wild and crazy bar during our college years, but sure, we’ve calmed way down in the party category. While we now have a legal title, everything feels as it did when we first became boyfriends in Fall 2011; fun and mostly light (lol).

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Remember, not all relationships are the same. Having each other and keeping up with our joint goals is enough to drive our relationship and keep us flourishing. Nine times out of ten we are on the same page when it comes to any topic within our marriage. And if we aren’t? We take some time to discuss and get to the bottom of it.

A big factor that’s been adding to our relationship recently is encouragement. We’ve always pushed each other to do our best in all aspects of life, but it became extremely important this past year and a half when we ran into challenges in the corporate world. Wishing anything for an opportunity to run away from angst and frustration, we were able to keep each other focused and sane. I’m not sure how I would make some of the decisions that come my way without S.

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We truly take each day at a time. If there were some super secret to share, believe me, I would. I can count on one hand how many fights we’ve had in our almost six years together and we won’t be adding to that number anytime soon. I will say this: Keep each other level. It’s amazing what happens when balance is present in a relationship.

We’ll see what new lesson I’ve learned when year four is upon us.

A Leak, Five Stitches, and A Pending Remodel.

Life can be a soggy mess sometimes, and when it comes to the past week, we’ve managed to just keep swimming. Now, don’t be alarmed. S and I are fine, but the Universe decided to test us as homeowners, and deal us the annoying task of dealing with an internal leak between our kitchen and living room. You may be thinking “that leak has nothing to do with why you didn’t post a new entry last week, Jamal,” and that’s fair.

I wasn’t able to post a new entry last week due to an emergency room visit, and five stitches being placed in my middle finger – on my writing hand, of course, because the joke is on me. I’m barely typing with my right hand at work, and I’m finally feeling like I can power-peck through some form of writing this week, so expect a number of short posts while I get back on my weekly writing schedule.

I’m looking forward to getting full use of my hand back, now that my general discontent and handicapped state is fading. In the meantime, we’ll be hanging out in our floorless condo, waiting on contractors, and planning a full floor remodel. There will be plenty of inspiration for future Gays in the Life entries, I’m sure.

Thank you for your patience,

J.

P.S. Did I mention this all happened during our relationship anniversary week? Friday, October 23rd, marked four years of S and I being together. Despite everything that has happened recently, I’m still feeling like the happiest dude, and love everything about who we are as husbands.

Y E A R O N E .

It’s been one year since I posted Sparks on Gays in the Life – my first post for the blog. Where did the time go?! I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made, amazed at the unexpected lessons I’ve learned through each post, and stunned that people actually still read this little project of mine.

So much has happened in the past year, and it’s been a welcomed creative challenge to keep the ideas fresh and flowing. I appreciate all of you so much, and thank you for your time and attention. Your presence as an audience keeps me motivated, and the result has been the production of forty-seven posts on Gays in the Life to date; there are fifty-two weeks in a year. I hope all of my readers have been able to apply every message that’s been downloaded into each entry, grown with me (and S), and have learned a little more about our everyday lives as a pair of husbands.

Some highlights within the past year include: Reaching a number of communities with GITL, learning more about myself and my husband (through planning each entry), hitting almost two-hundred views in one day, collaborating with fellow bloggers, our first marriage anniversary, NATIONAL MARRIAGE EQUALITY, substantial growth professionally, getting our puppy, and yes… FINALLY starting my book.

Most of me still wonders how I actually managed keep up with the blog, a fairly busy life, and a number of hopeful side projects I have stored in my head; why can’t I just pick one thing and stick with it? I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every brainstorming session, editing hour, and growing the project with each week. I wholeheartedly believe that none of this would be possible without any of you. If you’ve read one, or all, of my post(s)… thank you. If you’ve shared any entry with a friend or your followers… thank you.  And if you’re currently reading this jumbled mess of thanks… THANK you.

Love,

J.

Bonus Material: Cake Update

So the The Last Slice of our wedding cake actually tasted pretty damned good after spending a year in the shadows of our freezer. S didn’t actually have any of it, and I absolutely demolished it after I had a hearty amount of champagne in my system. Maybe he would have had some if I asked again – I think you all are learning that I’m a little impatient – but my drunken-not-wanting-to-cook-anything self said “quit picking at this cake and just finish it. ” The gluten-free, red velvet materpiece was still so soft, moist, and melted in my mouth. I could feel a most devious look forming on my face as I took the last bite, and memories from the day it was given to us played in my memory. I’m not even sure S was looking to eat any of that last slice of cake. It’s been almost a month, and he hasn’t said anything about the thawed dessert’s absence. Oh well! It was delicious. 

The Last Slice

“NO! You have to save that piece to eat on your first anniversary!” M’s voice filled our kitchen with both protest and excitement. The gluten-free, red-velvet, cream-cheese-frosted cake she had made for our wedding day was beyond delicious, and I wanted nothing more than to take another bite out of the lonely slice of its remains. This Saturday is my husband and I’s first marriage anniversary, and that last piece of delicious memorabilia – that’s been hiding under alcohol and frozen meat – has survived the year and would meet its end come May 16th.  I wasn’t familiar with the cake tradition at all until M shared it with us that day in our kitchen, and the pending arrival of our first anniversary has me wondering if holding on to that one, last piece of cake means something. Out of sight out of mind is the notion that comes to mind almost immediately. “The first year of marriage is the hardest” is what every tells you when you tie the knot, and much like our frozen slice of wedding cake, married life blinked right by us in a time-warped state of reality. Has it really already been a year? I guess this slice of cake will be even better than tasting it for the first time, because it’s serving as some kind of reward for getting through our first year as husbands. Our relationship has always been smooth sailing; crossing choppy waters here and there, but never truly rocking the boat. As I think about eating this cake, exactly a year from when I tried to finish it off, a dormant excitement is awakened. I haven’t taken the time at all to note, or keep track of anything we’ve done during our first year of marriage! We did move from our one-bedroom apartment to a lofted condo, AND we are expecting our first fur child – a rat terrier puppy we plan to name Reynold, and who’s a direct descendant of S’s family dog. This first year of marriage has been out of sight and out of mind. It was a good year, and eating this cake will give us a great excuse to reflect and really honor our first year of marriage. I want to thank M for sharing this tradition with the both us, because come this Saturday finishing the cake we started a year ago will mean so much to both my husband, and myself.