A Letter to Myself. An Ode to Self-care.

 Dear Jamal,
First of all, calm down. What are you doing getting yourself all worked up about nothing? When things are out of your control, remember, they’re out of your control. Do your best in the moment to ground yourself, dig deep into self, and use that energy as fuel. If you don’t like something, change it. If a certain environment or group of people aren’t good for you, or helping you achieve your goals, cut them out!
You’re a stubborn Scorpio, so you think you have all the answers. There’s something you’re forgetting to do, though, in all this misery and darkness you’ve been hiding from the world… Take your own advice. MAKE A CHANGE. I mean, seriously, bro. What are you waiting for?! Be responsible in your decisions, of course, but you’re too young and full of inspiration to waste away in your current state. Go for it.
In the end, you have to remind yourself that you have a beyond supportive husband, family, and friends who would slay anyone who got in your way. Spend too much time pondering on the “what ifs” if you want, but you’ll only have yourself to blame if you stay here. You have a tendency to put others before yourself, but it is to your detriment most of the time.
You can’t be a man of the people if you’re not taking care of yourself. I charge you to make a change and to fight through these dark clouds you’ve been surfing. Look forward to brighter days, greater love, and more adventure than you can ever imagine. The time is now, Jamal. It’s your time.
With love,
Jamal
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Weekly Goals 7/16/18

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I’m not going to lie – it’s been tough getting back into a productive groove outside of the 9-to-5. I’ve started making simple goals to help keep me on track during the week.
 
This method has been helpful because it reminds me to slow down and maintains balance. I tend to take on too much at once, and if any of you are the same, you know the pressure that comes along with that.
 
We’re all our own worst enemies! Keeping a small, low-pressure list of goals keeps me feeling accomplished and reinforces purpose.
 
This tool helps build up the strength and momentum required to take on more during those really tough weeks.
 
So… What’s on your list this week? Let me know in the comments. Is this a tool you use in your weekly routine?

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,

Vacay Decay

The first day back after a long week (and a day) off are so terribly slow and painful. On the struggle bus is but an understatement, let me tell you, because homeboy was dying at his desk on Tuesday of last week. Christmas fell on a Sunday, so around this time last year, I planned to have the week of Christmas 2016 to myself. I wasn’t worried about the time being gone because I’m generally smart with my time off at work and S always has extra time to spare.

The holidays are always a great time – largely in part to the amount of Crown Royal we consume. “Ho Ho Ho!” scream our livers. S’s dad definitely makes sure the bar is properly stocked when we’re down home. We’re never hurting in the wine and spirits department. The thing we were most looking forward to  was chilling at home with each other; to completely decompress.

We did a whole lot of nothing and it was absolutely fabulous. S played a lifetime’s worth of video games while I just zenned out with a plethora of self care treatments. Another huge plus of our time off was familiarizing ourselves with our new home deep fryer. We can’t say enough good things about how the fryer has stepped up our kitchen game.

2017 brings in the new grind. I’ve been drifting away from new year resolutions because there’s always so much I want to accomplish. S and I both vowed a couple years ago that working on our health, fitness, and overall well-being would always be a big focus. Your health shouldn’t have to be a resolution – I get it, I do –  but instead, a commitment that is lasting and honest.

I foresee pretty big changes on the job front for me this year. My freelance public relations projects are picking back up and I’ve been working on ideas to pitch for writing opportunities. S is doing really well at his job and can now breathe with his Master of Accounting degree being complete. There are still some late nights, but Reynold and I don’t mind too much. We understand.  

Eat Slay Love. We survived an extremely (and unpredictably) busy 2016 and we’re both entering 2017 a little sluggish; if we’re being truthful. Never fear, though! I think this is just part of being an adult. We enjoyed the hell out of our time off and time with each other, so sure, we’re wishing we could go back to that week (lol). So with that being said…

Goodnight. And don’t let the trap queens bite,

Progress Report 3

Hello! And Happy New Year! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a progress report, so here goes:

Data collection #3, November 18, 2015:

Weight – 232.4

Body fat – 27.1%

BMI – 31.4

Data Collection #4, January 16, 2016:

Weight – 231.3

Body fat – 25.2%

BMI – 31.3

The holiday season was trying, per usual, and I did put on some weight. Last week I was back up to 237 lbs, but was able to get back down in just one week. I’ve been doing strong lifts in the gym, and made it a point to make sure I was really digging deep this past week. Adding 2.5 lbs to 5 lbs on each of my sets (each week) has kept me challenged, and really showcased the fact that heavy lifting, and a good amount of healthy fat consumption, can make all the difference during a carb detox/recovery. My weight was up and down since my last progress report, and it’s all due to those couple of carb moments, and slacking off on my intermittent fasting schedule. We’re back on it, though! Get ready for some results 😉

Overall progress since data collection #1:

down 14.2 lbs

down 5.3% body fat

Hold The Treats

Victory comes in the form of turning down all the tempting, delicious, carb-filled treats that my mother-in-law will present when S and I visit home.  We had to put our foot down, and really prove to ourselves that we could stay true our health and fitness goals. S and I try not to worry our friends with our low-carb lifestyle, but a voice popped into my head before we hit the road down South. It was the voice of one of my best friends, ST, in Minnesota. “I don’t think it’s too much to ask someone to respect your diet and lifestyle…” Never wanting to come off as a snooty, delightfully rude individual, I would always eat what was presented, and never put in any special requests for any meal.

What ST said during our visit in Minnesota turned into a gospel, of sorts, just hours before leaving the low-carb sanctuary we call home. The few days we spent visiting the parents went surprisingly well, and it was easy – easier than expected, anyway, when saying no to a mom – to not eat any sprinkled, cream-filled, frosted item.  In the past, we would visit home, and assume we’d be eating terribly. It felt good to put an end to an assumption like that, because we now feel like we have full control over how we eat when we aren’t at home. Dealing with naysayers can be enough when it comes to our low-carb, keto lifestyle, but it’s a small price to pay for how great we feel sticking to our regular routine. The downside of it all will affect S’s mother the most… She’s a mom! She will always think we aren’t eating enough.

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.