#100HappyDays ~ The Simple Things

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Gosh, a year ago around this time I was starting my first ever #100happydays post on Instagram.  When I started I thought, this will be something that will keep me occupied, especially through those dark, lonely winter days and nights. I had no idea the impact of taking a photo and posting it on Instragram would have on me.  I had no idea that reflecting about one simple thing each day would actually make me happy.  After consistently doing this practice of highlighting one thing each day that made me happy and doing it for 100 days, I realized that some days were easy and others were difficult to find something.  There were times that it was obvious, dinner with a great friend or a frosted cookie.  Other times I took a picture of a Budda and yoga was my happiness.  One of the most distinctive days, the day that I actually believe I realized that I MAKE my own HAPPINESS, was when I simply opened an avocado for dinner.  It was the most perfect green and yellow color inside with no blemishes; smooth as could be.  You know what I’m talking about if you like avocado.  I found such great happiness looking at that beautiful, simple, perfect fruit.  The practice of looking closely, sometimes at the simplest of things, is what truly makes us happy.

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The Simple Things that make me happy:

Candles

Vanilla Comoro Tea(Harney & Sons)

Baking

Things That Sparkle

Nice, Colorful Underwear

Hazelnut Coffee 

Music

Oreo Cookies

A Coffee Mug From a Travel Destination

Soft, Colorful Socks

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LONG HUGS

A Smile From a Stranger

A Smile From a Friend

Holding Hands

Face Lotion

Frosted Cookies

Chapstick

Sending Goodies to My Nieces

Yummy Smelling Handsoap

Homemade Brownies

Traditions

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Ripe Avocado

Time On My Yoga Mat

Memories

Honeycrisp Apples

Whitney Houston

Sunny Days

Brunch With Friends

Brunch With My Entertainment Weekly and Me

Hazelnut Creamer

Good Wine

ROSÉ

Aged Gouda

My Text Tone(bc someone is thinking of me)

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Crisp Red Grapes

Peanut Butter on a Spoon When I Get Off the Plane

Sleeping In

Deep Breaths

Christmas Cards

Glitter

Friendship

Movies

Sharing

Dinner Parties

Singing

Dancing

Laughing

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Follow my next installment of #100happydays on Instagram @spartyguy99.  Who knows what will make me happy this time. What I know for sure is what a difference a year can make in your life. Happiness truly is a choice, I believe.  Shitty things can happen to us, but we have the choice to find the silver lining and wrap ourselves up with happiness and love from the simple things.  Fantastic things can happen to us too and we still have the choice to acknowledge those things and enjoy them.

What are your happy days?  What are the simple things in your daily life that make you happy?

Sometimes I Wish I Was Gay

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I’ve always tried to be myself throughout my life.  Of course that wasn’t always easy due to that little word, “repression.”  But overall I think I have done a pretty good job at least surviving some of those milestones.  I survived elementary school expressing my love and devotion for Whitney.  I survived middle school.  Lawd, we ALL survived middle school.  I survived high school exploring my interests in musicals and band and hanging out with friends.  I survived college…..lawd sometimes I wonder how I survived college.  I did it mostly staying true to who I was or trying to figure it all out.  I unabashedly loved *NSync and Celine and still, Whitney.  I did it dancing at bars and making mixed tapes and reading Entertainment Weekly and kind of dating girls, but exploring affection for boys too.  And I’ve survived 15 years of adulthood here in Chicago exploring me and trying to figure it all out.

One of the greatest gifts I have given myself is allowing me to live my life.  Although society has certainly played a role in shaping who I am and trying to keep me a “man” by design, I was designed different and thank the LAWD for that.  Last weekend I was at my good friend’s birthday party.  It had a dance floor, 3 gays, and a lot of beautiful women.  There were a lot of moments, like free style dancing to Journey’s “Separate Ways”, two of us boys jumping into the windows during a rendition of “Out Tonight” from RENT(musical people, you get it), and just a lot of fancy, wild, FREEDOM of dance.  While we were all doing that, another friend was at a table and a guy there said, as he looked at the amazing time we were having on the dance floor, “Sometimes I wish I was gay.”  I wonder, is he saying that he wishes he was out there dancing up a storm because there are so many beautiful women?  Or is he saying that because we were just being wild and free and not caring what society says about it?  I tend to believe it is the latter.  Society really sucks sometimes when it teaches men how “real” men should act.  I feel lucky because I have almost always been able to be me.  I’ve always had friends and family who have allowed me to dance like a fool on the dance floor at a wedding or at the bar.  Last spring I was at a bar in Chicago and it was 80s/90s night and right when we walked in Whitney played, then Janet, then Mariah.  It was amazing and we were dancing like no one was watching. I’m pretty much always dancing like no one is watching.  It was SO fun and we were all sweaty fools.  I noticed some twenty somethings laughing, pointing, and taking photos.  Oh, youth! They only wish they could be as free as us thirty somethings who know how to Say YES to Life without feeling bad or ashamed.

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It just speaks to how our society sends messages to our youth.  I wish more men were able to watch some crazy fun gay guys and think, “man I wish I felt comfortable out there.”  More than anything else, I invite them to dance up a storm, get out there. Release a little of that “how a man is supposed to act” feeling and let loose on the dance floor men!  If you are raising boys, let them explore their interests.  Let them know, leading by example, that it’s ok to dance like no one is watching!

I’m clear.  I’m courageous.  I can.

Tonight in yoga my instructor started with an intention, “I’m clear.  I’m courageous.  I can.”  It really resonated with me as I pondered this blog post.  As I mentioned above, I have survived to age 38 fairly unscathed with society’s standards for men and how we should act.  Luckily as a kid, in 1987, my dad introduced the American Music Awards to me.  He saw it listed in the television guide in the paper.  We had just gotten our first VCR.  “You should tape this award show tonight.  You might like it.” It was the night Whitney won award after award after award, 5 total, for her Whitney Houston debut album.  That was the night I fell in love with her.  Of course there were times as a teen I wanted to scream, “I LOVE YOU JORDAN KNIGHT!” but instead I felt I couldn’t, rather I littered my bedroom walls with Paula Abdul BOP Magazine pictures.  There were times in college that I really wanted to cuddle with boys, instead I did what society taught and cuddled with girls(like a few times-don’t get crazy). What comes with age, hopefully, is wisdom and clarity. Finally around age 26 I had the clarity to accept my homosexuality.

Certainly throughout my life I faced challenges that prepared me for this life.  My mom taught me to be courageous at the young age of 8 when it was realized in 2nd grade that I did not know how to read.  Elementary school worked itself out, but when I hit sixth grade it took me hours nightly to complete my homework.  Due to my dad traveling heavily for work, my mother was home alone with my brother and me a lot.  I just remember her picking me up from home after working all day, racing across town to get my allergy shot.  Other nights she had to take my brother to various sports practices.  She always made dinner, cleaned up, and managed to keep my ADD in check as I would spend hours doing my homework, much of the time sitting by my side.  In my line of work I know so many parents who are not willing to take the time to be a PARENT.  Luckily for me, my mother did and through it all, taught me how to be courageous. That certainly has served me academically, professionally, and personally in my life.

I didn’t always feel like I could be myself growing up.  My parents did their best to support me and my varied interests without making me feel guilty or shame.  Though he teased me in many other ways, my brother never made me feel bad about my interests in watching hours of Star Search, award shows, pageants, or taping hours of Whitney Houston coverage on television. But still, I didn’t always feel that I could put my “shows” on in public or in our living room. I always knew I had a safe place at home, but even there I sometimes hid in the basement to create solo dance shows or other acting/performing shenanigans. What I learned growing up in my house, never through direct conversation, mostly just through experience, was that “I can.”  I can watch award shows and Miss Universe and it’s ok.  I can be successful and complete my academic work.  It might have taken me four hours a night, but I could do it.  “I’m clear.  I’m courageous.  I can.”

What I know now is that society has certain rules and standards and roles that it tries to get girls and boys to follow. Depending on where children are raised, how they are raised, and by whom they are raised has an incredible impact on who they are as an adult member of the same society that “raised” them.  It takes courageous parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, neighbors, and all the rest of society to allow our kids to explore their interests, out in the open, without judgement, ridicule, or expectation.

Learning to Love Yourself

I am profoundly grateful that I am gay.  It has allowed me to not follow the rules and to be different.  It has allowed me to not follow the norms set before my male peers.  Being gay has allowed me to buck society.  It hasn’t always been easy, but growing up isn’t for anyone.  It hasn’t always been accepted, but not everything a child does ever is.  Whether it was the family who raised me or the mostly kind people I grew up with or whether it came from within me, I think I turned out kind of alright. Luckily for me, I have never thought, “Sometimes I wish I was straight.”

Say YES to Life!                 

My List 2014

Every year at this time I sit down to reflect on the past year. It all started several years ago when I read about Joni Mitchell putting together a CD of songs she liked from the year and songs that meant something to her. Ever since I have done the same.

I just reread My List 2013. Wow, what a dark year 2013 was and what a dark place I was in one year ago.   2013 started off great and 2014 ended in a fantastic way.  The middle 12 months of 2013-2014 weren’t great, but the best news is that I survived!  My List 2013 was pretty much about the darkness I was experiencing at the time.  Songs like “Suitcase” by Emeli Sande-

“If you must kill me then please, please tell me why.” “I can’t stop my heart from leaving through the door.”

And every single lyric from Paloma Faith’s “New York”-

He left me for another lady. She stood so tall and she never slept. He left me for another lady.” “Her name was New York, New York. And she took his heart away oh my. She had poisoned his sweet mind.”

But there was light and release in Nina Simone’s gorgeous “Everything Must Change.

“Everything must change. Nothing stays the same. Everyone will change. No one, no one stays the same.”

 “There are not many things in life one can be sure of, except rain comes from the clouds, sun lights up the sky, hummingbirds fly. Winter turns to spring. A wounded heart will heal. Oh, but never much too soon. No one, and nothing goes unchanged.”

“Everything must change.”

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In 2014, so much did change. I lost the love of one of my best friends. I got back on my feet and felt the love of friends, old and new. I gained love like I have never known before from a man who says what he feels and means what he says. The love I have felt this year is like no other love I have felt in my life. He is generous and so kind, sassy and so fancy, loving beyond imagine. The second half of 2014 has certainly changed for the better; much much better!

Heaven – Beyoncé

“Heaven couldn’t wait for you, so go on, go home.”

On December 31, 2013 we lost one of the best souls I knew, a legend in our own time, my friend Lesley. Those who knew her can remember her laugh, snarky remarks followed by a cackle, her wit, her generosity, and her love. When you met Lesley you instantly felt her warmth and her care. Lesley was my weeknight dinner buddy, travel roomie, fellow Spartan, and one of my closest confidants. She is so dearly missed.

My favorite Webs story goes like this:

The Ladies (my girlfriends) were sitting around reflecting on weddings.  Pretty much everyone was married now except Lesley and me.  Lesley, “I have to say, I was pretty lucky in brides maid dresses.  You guys picked good ones.”

Amy:  Well Matty is left.

Lesley:  Matty would never make me wear ANYTHING ugly.

I miss you every day Lesley.  Love.

 Jealous – Beyoncé

I just love this song. That is all and that is why it made my list.

Oh and last winter SUCKED! The snow! The cold! The SNOW! There was one night in February that I went over to my friend Dennis’s condo and we intended to have a few drinks, order dinner, then head out to the bars. We had a few drinks. We ordered dinner. Then, we proceeded to sing and dance to Beyonce’s then new album until 2 a.m.  Yes, it was a blast!

“I beg you…to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer….”

 

Questions – Jon McLaughlin

“She’s asking a question, oh how will it be, after this next one eventually leaves me? How can a man be all that they say? All that I know is that men run away. I think I lose a little bit of me in every man that I see.”

In February I met a guy I liked. We seemed to connect. As I started to date again I was very honest with guys, “If you have any plans of moving away from Chicago, don’t date me.” This particular guy, “Oh no, I just moved back here to be with my family.” When the topic of New York City came up, “Oh I lived there when I was 24. It was great, but I’ve done that.” Six weeks later he moved….to New York City.

April 27, 2014

I had dinner with a friend I met through my ex. She told me he had a new boyfriend. Enough. Enough!

Heart of the Matter – India.Arie

This is a stunning, stunning song.

“I got the call today I didn’t want to hear, but I knew that it would come. An old true friend of ours was talking on the phone. She said you found someone.”

“I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter but my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter but I think it’s about forgiveness….forgiveness….even if, even if you don’t love me anymore.

Right to Be Wrong – Joss Stone

Remember Joss Stone from around 2002? She was going to be huge, the first Adele, but she never quite caught on here in the States. This past year I rediscovered my love of Joss and her debut album, Mind, Body, & Soul.

“Got a right to be wrong, so just leave me alone. Got a right to be wrong. I’ve been held down too long. I’ve got to break free so I can finally breathe. Got a right to be wrong. Got to sing my own song. I might be singing out of key, but it sure feels good to me. Got a right to be wrong, so just leave me alone.”

 Grateful – Rita Ora

Life challenges us. We get up each day and realistically have no idea what may be put before us. What I know for sure is that through the last year and a half of learning from life, I’m grateful for the wisdom that has been bestowed on me by life. I would never wish emotional pain on anyone. It is awful and much more painful than physical trauma. At some of my darkest days the summer of 2013 I could barely get out of bed.

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Now on the other side I can see all the experiences in life that I have been afforded because my past didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I’m in such a better place personally. I have learned so much about my own strength. I am grateful for the life experiences in 2014 for they made me a better ME; A stronger ME; A ME who understands his worth and is not willing to compromise it for anyone.

“But I had to fall, yeah, to rise above it all. I’m grateful for the star, made me appreciate the sun. I’m grateful for the wrong ones; made me appreciate the right ones. I’m grateful for the pain, for everything that made me break. I’m thankful for all my scars, ‘cause they only made my heart grateful, grateful, grateful, grateful, grateful.”

 

Break Free (feat. Zedd) – Ariana Grande

This was the summer of Ariana. She’s been around over a year or so, but never broke into the pop arena like she did this past summer with “Break Free”, “Problems”, and “Bang Bang”. Is she the new pop diva?

“This is the part when I say I don’t wanna, I’m stronger than I’ve been before. This is the part when I break free cause I can’t resist it no more.”

Maps – Maroon 5

Last year’s List was filled with Maroon 5. They have a way of writing the perfect heartbreak anthem. This year I give you just one.

“Maps” is pure pop. Maroon 5 continues to write lyrics to speak to my life. There was a time I did not like them (“This Love” era), but that time is well over. They keep producing fantastic pop music. It’s just catchy and fun to sing!

“But I wonder where were you when I was at my worst, down on my knees.”

I Luh You Papi – Jennifer Lopez

As spring was turning to summer, my spirit had rebounded and this song was such a fun one to sing in the car. I have a co-worker whose maiden name was Pape (pronounced Pa-pi) so it was a fun June song to sing as we were getting ready for summer break and the adventures to be had in July and August.

Here It Comes (feat. Rick Smith) – Emeli Sandé

In late spring I got a Facebook message from a high school friend Dana, who I hadn’t seen in over 19 years. She was going to be in Chicago and wondered if I wanted to get together for a drink. I said of course. As I was riding the train downtown my friend Sarah texted me and said something along the lines of, “I can’t believe you are meeting up with Dana. You haven’t seen her in over 19 years.” My response, “I’m saying yes to life.” Right then and there my blog started in my head, www.sayyestolifeblog.com. I met with Dana and we both quickly went through 19 years of life. Then we settled in on relationships, the ups, the downs, the good , the bad, the joy, the sorrow, the clarity, the uncertainty. Dana encouraged me to turn my #100HappyDays Instagram posts into a blog. All in one 3-hour period of time on a May evening, my blog was started. From creating the title on the train ride down to meet Dana was the final encouragement that I needed. It all started then and there.

A week later Dana sent me this song, “Here It Comes”.

“Here it comes.” **DRUMS** Anthem! As I charge into my new life, a year after heartbreak, a new man emerges.

How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding

Sometime in the spring this song was played as a cool down during yoga.   Yoga was such an inspiration to me in 2014. Each day I practiced brought me closer to understanding and finding peace in my heart. I fell in love with the lyrics and the message at the end of this song. When I started my blog, www.sayyestolifeblog.com, I knew what my description would be.

“How long will I love you?  How long will I need you?  As long as the seasons need to, follow their plan.”

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Summer 2014

Bang Bang(feat. Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande) – Jessie J

The song of the summer? This song filled the radio stations all summer and fall. It is a trifecta of Jessie, Nicki, and Ariana. The “Moulin Rouge” of 2014!!

Jump (For My Love) – The Pointer Sisters

How could I forget to add this song to My List 2014.  The Pointer Sisters performed at the Opening Ceremonies of the Gay Games in Cleveland.  When “Jump(For My Love) came on the place went wild.  I had a sneaking suspicion that the guy I was standing next to would become the man I would “Jump” for his love.

Here is an excerpt from my August blog post I Beat the Fastest Woman in the 10K-Gay Games.

Cleveland, you rocked.  You accepted us.  You loved us.  You rocked with us.  Thank you.  Forevermore, Thank you!

I’ll remember the people I met along the way.  The German reporter who sat with me and interview me at a basketball game. The speedo clad, tatted up, nipple rings, overly tanned, slightly saggy older man in the swim competition.  Erik, the teacher from Montreal, I sat with on my way to the 10K start line.  We chatted about teaching and kids these days, and how Cleveland rocked the Gay Games.  And there were the two Germans I ran with during the half marathon, Fritz and Michael.  Once I realized they were in my age bracket, I left them in my dust.  Sorry guys, it was nice chatting with you.  There was the girl who waited on us for brunch following my race.  “Did you guys participate?  Did you win?”  My response, “He’s a sliver medalist in volleyball.  Mine is just a participation medal.”  Haha, it’s fine.  She said, “Oh cool.  This is all so cool,” with a huge smile on her face.  Finally, all of the guys I call my new friends.  You know who you are and you are pretty awesome.  It was a joy to participate with you and all the shenanigans.  Thanks for opening your arms so wide to me.

The only thing missing from their GG9 Opening Ceremonies performance was one Pointer Sister(R.I.P.) and those dresses.

I love at 3 minutes when the synthesizers take it up a notch and octave.  I get chills every time.

I Belong to You – Whitney Houston

There was a lot of talk about Whitney Houston in the later part of 2014 as a first ever Live album and an Angela Bassett directed biopic for Lifetime TV were being produced. I never need a reason to listen to Whitney, but I was also falling in love with a boy I met in July. For some reason I was drawn to the I’m Your Baby Tonight album, Whitney’s underrated and undersold third studio album released in November 1990. I listened mostly for “All the Man That I Need” but I rediscovered two fantastic R&B songs, “Lover For Life” and “I Belong to You.”

“All of my life I’ve longed for this, someone who makes me happy.”

“I’ve been to the bottom but I’m back on top. And I’m feelin’ the rhythm as we start to rock.”

What a wonderful feeling it is to love a guy who isn’t afraid to express his love. Bliss.

Didn’t We Almost Have It All – Whitney Houston

Throughout 2013 and 2014’s self-discovery for me, I realized what does NOT make a mutually fulfilling relationship and what DOES make a mutually fulfilling relationship. At the Gay Games in August my boyfriend and I were holding hands and laughing. A group of guys passed us and said, “Did you guys just meet?” Fake angry, we looked at each other and at them, “NO, we’ve known each other a LONG time….six weeks!” When you know, you know. He has brought such joy, fun, consistency, stability, and mutuality to my life. He also allows me to listen to Whitney, A LOT!

One song that we heard in the very early days of our meeting was “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, and we still listen to it often. It might be about a relationship that didn’t work, but the root of the song, the message, is “Once you know what love is, you’ll never let it end.”

 Listen to Whitney’s vibrato and purity. It’s a gift.

In September 1987, I remember waiting by the television in our family room for the live feed of Whitney in concert, singing her new single, “Didn’t we almost have it all. This Saratoga Springs footage became the official video for DWAHIA. Whitney starts out slow and gets to her soul roots at the end with, “Didn’t we, Didn’t we, Didn’t we almost have it all.”

“Cause once you know what love is, you’ll never let it end.”

Home(Live from The Merv Griffin Show) – Whitney Houston

In May 1983 Whitney Houston made her television debut on The Merv Griffin Show. She was 19 years old. This is an incredibly special performance. You can hear Whitney’s purity and undeveloped potential power. Two years later she would release her debut album, Whitney Houston, which went on to score award after award after award between 1985 and 1987.

This is another song played in yoga (to which I shed a few peaceful tears) this fall and I call it “going to church”. Yoga is my church and so is Whitney. Sunday mornings, whether in yoga or simply listening to Whitney, my boyfriend joins me, and I love it. That time is special.

“Time please be my friend and let me start again.”

“Living here in this brand new world might be a fantasy, but it’s taught me to love so it’s real to me.”

“And I’ve learned that we must look inside our hearts to find, yeah we gotta find, a world full of love, like yours like mine, like home.”

Fancy(feat. Charli XCX) – Iggy Azalea

Ok, I’m going to reference yoga again because it played such a huge role in my life in 2013 and 2014. There were nights that I did not want to be home alone so I would take two yoga classes after work. On the other side of that part of my life now, “Fancy” was a fun song played during yoga and a huge hit in 2014. It also describes my boyfriend, “fancy”. Recently at his work holiday party, “Fancy” was played as he made his way to the dance floor with his boss and his wife. “Fancy” is his song!

Night Changes – One Direction

Fine, yes, I still love a good boy band. Although One Direction has only been on my periphery, I saw them perform at the American Music Awards in November. It was so simple. I loved it.

Daily I think about my friend Lesley who passed away in January at age 38. I’m reminded that as we get older, the value of time with good friends and family should be cherished. It might be a special event or a special trip or just Sunday brunch, whatever it is, cherish the time because it can be fleeting.

“Having no regrets is all that she really wants.”

“We’re only getting older baby. And I’ve been thinking about you lately. Does it ever drive you crazy just how fast the night changes. Everything that you’ve ever dreamed of, disappearing when you wake up, but there’s nothing to be afraid of even when the night changes.  It will never change me and you.”

Time:Friends

I Wish You Would – Taylor Swift

You are witnessing history here. Yes, I am putting a T Swizz song on My List 2014. This is the very first time she has appeared on any of my lists. She drives me nuts. Her winning awards drives me nuts. However, her new pop album, 1989, is classic pop perfection.   She writes catchy, can’t get out of my head songs. “I Wish You Would” is probably my favorite song from 1989. It’s pure pop and a throwback to music of the time, 1989!

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You and Me – You+Me

Alecia Moore, yes, Pink, has gotten together with some guy to create You+Me. “You and Me” was a free song at Starbucks in November. I got it. I liked it. Here it is.

“You and me were always with each other. Before we knew the other was even there. You and me, we belong together, just like the breath needs the air.”

Chandelier – Sia

SONG OF THE YEAR! (for me anyway). I love this song. There were times during marathon training on long Saturday morning runs I’d sing it to my friend JP. There were times in my car this fall that I would sing it at the top of my lungs as a release and empowerment anthem. There were times I would sing it at the top of my lungs just to sing at the top of my lungs(my vocal strength-the top of my lungs). Needless to say, it is a sing at the top of your lungs song. I even created in my head what I thought were the lyrics and to this day, my lyrics mean more to me and I sing them rather than the real thing.

My lyrics:

“I’m gonna fly like a miracle tonight. Fill my dreams in this life. I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier.”

Actual lyrics:

“I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night. Feel my tears till they dry. I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier.”

Other meaningful lyrics to me, a guy who finds strength and perseverance through song lyrics.   There were times in early 2014 that I was still desperate to let go of something that wasn’t meant to be. There was still holdover from my breakup. But I so desperately wanted to move on. I wanted to find the strength but some nights I couldn’t.

“’Cause I’m just holding on for tonight, help me I’m holding on for tonight. On for tonight.”

But Chandelier is also an anthem of power for life. “I’m gonna swing from a chandelier.” Yes, yes I am and yes I will. Surely, the second half of 2014, finding love and living life with my love has been truly joyful. For anyone who has been in love before you know the feeling. It just makes your lens on life a little bit better, a feeling of swinging on a chandelier. Joy. Happiness. Love.

So I’m going to swing from that chandelier and I’m going to “fly like a miracle tonight” and I’m going to “live my dreams in this life.”

You Are Not Alone

I was recently in a training and I have no idea why, but the phrase You Are Not Alone came to mind.  It’s a mystery where this came from.  You might instantly think about the Michael Jackson song from HIStory or that creepy video with then wife, Lisa Marie Presley.  Or more seriously, you might think about times you are alone or feel alone.  Feeling alone, loneliness, are they the same?  Different?  I myself am someone who needs very little alone time.  An hour or two a week is fine by me.  I don’t often feel the need of taking a break from others.  This might be why, during a break-up, I felt so lonely.  Or did I feel alone?  What I did then for myself and what I see now, well over a year later, is that we are never alone.  You Are NOT Alone.

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By the encouragement of my friend Jeremy, during the summer of 2013, I started taking myself to brunch after Saturday morning long runs.  This turned into an almost weekly venture during last year’s horrendous winter.  During those times, going home and being at home was not a happy place for me.  I did not want to be there, so I would take my Entertainment Weekly magazine to one of my favorite brunch spots, typically Taste of Heaven or Nookies, and I would boldly say, “Table for one” or “Just me today” and I would sit, by myself.  However, I was never alone.  I had my magazine and my coffee, things that bring happiness to me.  I had the wait staff who grew to recognize me.  One time my waiter even bought me breakfast.  Taste of Heaven became my place, “where everybody knows your name.”  Most of all, I had all the other people in the restaurant with me.  Some would be laughing with friends and others, like me, were simply enjoying something they loved: food, coffee, reading, etc.  I learned that being “alone” does not mean you are alone or lonely.  I grew to love those Saturday morning dates with myself, my coffee, my magazine, and my other brunch lovers.  It was something that put me out into the Universe to say, here I am.  It’s me, Matty, and I’m living my life.  If someone wants to join me, that would be lovely, but I can do this on my own too.  I am not alone.

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All during this enlightening time of my life I also started a daily event, meditation.  Deepak Chopra and Oprah have a meditation series that is free for 21 days, then you can buy it.  I believe they have about five in their series.  On my birthday in 2013 the first of these meditation series began.  I fell in love with the practice of meditation.  Getting up at 5:30 a.m. weekdays was an all new experience.  Some of the meditations were great and super meaningful, while others did not connect with me as much.  But I loved the routine and the waking to about 30 minutes of quiet time before I would get out of bed.  To this day I still try to meditate, though I do not do it nearly as often as I would like.  It is another one of those things that I believe awakened me to the spirituality of the Universe.  Here I am.  It’s me, Matty, and I’m living my life.  Recently in this series of meditations, Energy of Attraction, Oprah said, “Like attracts like.  You attract who you are.  Change your energy and you can change your entire experience of the world.  Change your intention and you change your path.”  I honestly believe that during that dark period of my life, finding something like meditation to connect me with the Universe was a changing force in my life.  It gave me structure, which I desperately needed in order to put one foot in front of the other.  It also gave me hope; hope that the Universe would see me out there trying and would feel my energy.

“You always have a place here, on your mat.”

On a particularly rough day last fall I remember getting the text from my friend Sarah that said, “You always have a place here, on your mat.”  Her yoga instructor said that quote at the end of practice.  It now always means something to me.  I picked up the practice of yoga about a year and a half ago.  Some nights, during the hellish winter of 2014, I would take a 4:30 Sculpt class and a 6:00 CorePower 2 class.  Part of the reason was that it was always 80 or more degrees warmer in the studio than outside.  The other part was that I did not want to be home.  I did everything in my power to not be home alone.  If I wasn’t out with friends for dinner I would go to yoga and just stay.  My yoga mat is such a safe place for me.  I am now in a much different place in life, but I keep my yoga practice going.  I actually missed yoga during the 2014 marathon training season.  I love that I am back to nearly daily practice.  For me, yoga is an intense workout, but it is also spiritual, a time for me to find strength in myself.  It is a time to find space between me and my day, me and the outside world.  It is a time for me on my mat.  I never feel alone with yoga because in my mind it connects me with the Universe.  It puts my energy out there for all to feel.  Here I am.  It’s me, Matty, and I’m living my life.  Just remember that your time on your mat is for you.  You are never alone because you have yourself!

 

“And I’ve learned

That we must look inside our hearts

To find a world full of love”

What does lonely feel like?  What does feeling alone feel like?  How does feeling alone in an empty room differ from feeling alone in a room full of people?  What I know for sure is that it feels all different for all of us.  I am grateful to have learned even a little bit about looking inside my heart and knowing the difference for me between feeling alone and feeling lonely.  However you are feeling, take the steps to get out there.  Say YES! to Life.  Do things that make you happy like yoga or meditation or taking yourself to brunch.  Watch Whitney Houston videos, like me.  Go watch a great film.  Go sit at a bar, grab a drink and chat with the bartender or chat with other people sitting there.  You are not alone.  You are never alone, but you might have to take a risk once and a while to put yourself out there.  Put your energy out in the Universe and I promise you this, it will come back in return.  That I know for sure!

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You might also like my blog post, “Single? You Don’t Have to Be Alone”:

https://sayyestolifeblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/single-you-dont-have-to-be-alone/

Wrapped In Love

“The strength of a man isn’t seen in the power of his arms.  It’s seen in the love with which he embraces you.”

This past weekend I ran my fourth marathon(3rd Chicago)in three years.  Each and every marathon I have completed has been a different experience.  This past weekend I felt very much wrapped in love.  The marathon route can be so fast and so looooong at times, but it is never a place I feel alone.  The strength of a “man” as in “mankind” is shown with love and the embrace of people you know, people you love and who love you, training partners, and total strangers.

A post about love and embracing cannot go on without acknowledging those who could not necessarily come out to cheer me on, rather they supported me by donating to the Team to End AIDS/T2/AIDS Foundation of Chicago.  WOW!  At last count, I raised $2522.41.  All of those people showed love and support by digging into their pockets and making a donation.  I promise while I was running knowing that I had support all over the country did mean the world to me.

Look what your donations help do:

It’s not too late to make a donation either.  Reach into your pocket and help support.  Help change the story!

http://events.aidschicago.org/site/TR/T2/T2?px=1132260&pg=personal&fr_id=1132

“You’re lookin’ strong Matty and the hair still looks great too.”

Chicago Marathon 2014

I had a moment with a total stranger.  It was a five second friendship, but he totally understood me.  He got me and my hair!!  Seriously, the fan support for the Chicago Marathon is next to none.  Of course there are 1.7 million spectators out there, most of whom are looking for their loved one, their friend, their co-worker, but there are also people who are just out to cheer and support.  It is incredible the love and support for humankind that I feel while running the marathon.  I always put my name on my shirt and it never fails that hundreds of people will shout it out, “Good work Matty!”  “Way to go Matty.” “Looking good Matty.”  People ask, “What do you do/think about for almost four hours?  I watch the joy on spectator’s faces when they see their loved one.  I get chills when I see runners turn around to give a hug to his friends.  I listen for shrieks of elation as kids see their mom running strong.  I look for the love that is shared for 26.2 miles.  There are very few times in life that love is just shared without expectation.  Running the marathon time and time again proves to me that it is possible.  It is possible that humans will come out and support other humans, just because.  Just because running 26.2 miles is f***ing amazing and hard and deserves to be cheered on.  But also just because it feels good to support other humans doing something they love or running in honor of someone or something, or just supporting people who get this crazy idea that they are going to beat Oprah’s time(4:29:15).

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I continue to run because it is the single thing in life that has brought me to a place of understanding what it feels like to be part of the team.  Growing up I wasn’t an athlete.  I wasn’t part of a team.  Sure, I marched in band and sang in musicals, but nothing ever felt like a team until I started running.  After my first marathon I began to get that feeling.  Running on the Lake Shore path in Chicago I’d get a head nod here or a smile there from other runners.  They understood what I was doing and I understood them, especially on those super hot days or cold days or rainy days when only us crazy runners go out.  But not until last year did I truly understand what it is like to be part of a team.  I joined the Team to Ends AIDS purely for two reasons:  1.  To get a BIB for the New York City marathon and 2. To focus my energies on something good in midst of a break-up.  Saturday after Saturday I would get up at 5 a.m. and head to the lake for a run.  I’d meet my teammates, chitchat, and get to running.  Week after week I would run with about the same crew as we were the same pace. Week after week we would chat about work, weekend plans, pains of running, fundraising, etc.  Then, one Saturday as we got ready to run, one of my pace group leaders stood to give a talk.  He raised his hand high with a green wristband acknowledging (+) his positive status.  Then a few more guys came up and got wristbands.  As I looked around, five of my 9 pace group running mates were HIV positive.  No longer did I just join T2 to get into the NYC marathon, I was part of something much bigger.  I was raising money and raising awareness for the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  From that moment on, when I would go out running with my T2 shirt on and I’d hear other people on the path, “Go T2”, “Looking good T2,” I finally felt what it is like to be part of a team.  I finally had that feeling that I so longed to have, that camaraderie that teammates share.  I was part of a team that was raising money to help some of the very men I was running with week after week.

I run because it reminds me that I’m alive and that we don’t always know what the person next to us is going through on a daily basis, but they keep going, and I keep going because it brings me to life.

This past Sunday marked my second best time in a marathon, 3 hours, 50 minutes, 38 seconds.  It’s an incredible time for me, not my best, but substantial nonetheless.  When I tell people I was disappointed in my time, their mouths drop.  Fine, fine, it is sub four hours and I will take it.  What is more powerful than anything else is that I finished the race and kept that time.  Everything was set-up to be perfect.  The weather was in the low 50s, I trained since May, I took in fluids like I normally do and nutrition like normal too.  At 13.1 miles I was at an 8:01 pace.  At mile 15 I was at and 8:11 pace.  For the first 17 miles I was well under my goal pace of 8:22/mile.  After 18 miles, my legs started to get tired.  Mile 19, my least favorite, I was sore.  At mile 22 I saw the Team to End AIDS cheer bus.  That gave me umph to keep going.  Coach Chris caught up to me at mile 23.  This is when my legs started to feel really tired and crampy, though nothing significant.  With Coach Chris’s encouragement I kept running.  When I’d try to stop and walk, he’d give encouragement.  I made it to 40K where I saw all of my cheer crew together screaming, waving signs.  I blew them a kiss.

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There is no way I could move to the side of the road at that point.  I had to keep moving forward.  What seemed like an hour was really just a few minutes.  I just wanted to be done.  I crossed the finish line.  DONE!

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I didn’t meet my goal of under 3 hour 40 minutes, but it was still my second best race.  Just a minute after finishing my legs seized up at the same time.  The worst charlie horses I have ever experience hit my calves.  My legs went into rigamortis.  I screamed for Coach Chris.  He finally heard me and came back.  He dumped salt into my hand.  I downed that and a banana.  Along with a medic, he helped me hobble a little.  Five minutes later the cramps subsided.  Five minutes after that the right leg seized again.  Three minutes after that the left leg seized.  Finally after limping for 30 minutes I was at a bench surrounded by Gatorade, water, bananas and Coach Chris.  He stuck with me when I know he wanted to greet others who had finished.  He walked with me for another 20 minutes until we found my boyfriend.  Coach Chris is my hero!  I certainly would have finished the race, but not under four hours if he had not stuck with me.  I choked back tears as he helped me, not because of the severe pain, but because he was there helping me and caring about me as a fellow runner and human.

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Who wouldn’t keep running to see what signs would be pulled out next?  I honestly had the best cheer crew ever.  They chased me on bike and in car.  Sarah and Patrick made the funniest signs and hustled to three different locations on the marathon route.  Two of my favorites:

“If marathons were easy they’d be called your mother.”

“It may be long and hard but Matty can take it!”

My friend Dave drove Kurt, Matt, and Artur around to two different locations.  When I woke up marathon morning, I saw this sign on the table, Love and Whitney.

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It takes a special boyfriend who cares to spend hours making a sign with Whitney Houston lyrics on it.   I feel loved.  I feel wrapped in love by my boyfriend, my cheer crew, my coaches, my family, and all of the people who have donated to the Team to End AIDS/AIDS Foundation of Chicago.  On the marathon path it can get long out there but my cheer crew gave me such strength and energy, especially at 40K when I was tiiiiiirrrrrrrrrreeedd and just wanted to be done.  Their love of me gave the extra gusto I needed to make it to the end.  The cheering crowds up Michigan Ave. and rounding the corner at Roosevelt gave me the push I needed to step foot across the line.  26.2 miles, yes that is an accomplishment and with dedication I have trained my body to complete it.  But I feel most accomplished in life because I am able to surround myself with some of the most amazing and loving people.  Some I know from high school and some I’ve more recently met.  What made me feel better than anything else on Sunday was that I felt wrapped in love by people I know and by total strangers.  When you find love, whether of a friend or lover, cherish it.  It keeps us going.

“‘Cause once you know what love is, you’ll never let it end.”

Back in 2011 I set out to run a marathon for one of my milestone birthdays and to check that off my bucket list.  Little did I know, I would be up to four marathons (3 under 4 hours) and more than anything, that I would inspire others to run.

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Back in high school I hated running.  Hated it!  I could barely run a mile, or more so, had little desire.  After my first marathon in 2011, I wanted to do it again and again and again.  Last year I ran Chicago and two weeks later New York City.  Since all of this running, several people from my past have messaged me to let me know that I inspired them to start running.  Some have kept to the 5 K race while another, Leah, reached out to me and I encouraged her to train and run one.  Just as it got me through a rough spot in my life, it did her too.  Now she is set to run TWO marathons within 2 or 3 weeks this fall. I commend her and honor her here.  She is inspirational.  And she’s a running rockstar mom.  Go get that course and run your heart out Leah!!  I am with you in spirit.  If you want a few signs, I have some great ones you can borrow!!

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So what is this long blog post all about?  Running?  No.  The marathon?  Not really.  Signs of encouragement?  So awesome, but no. It’s about l-o-v-e.  It’s about humans supporting humans; strangers supporting strangers.  This blog post is about getting out there in life and keeping going even when it’s hard.  It’s about putting one foot in front of the other and why you do that is because of love.  You do it because people love you and YOU LOVE YOURSELF.  You are important to a lover, or a friend, or a niece or nephew or family member.  If you’re really lucky you have all of the above and even if you don’t, just know that somewhere out there, whether it’s on a marathon course or just walking the streets of your town, someone you don’t know, a total stranger, supports you.  And, if you are very lucky in life, you are surrounded by love always.  Look around, it is there.  Wrap yourself in love.

“All Dressed In Love” Sex and the City: The Movie

“I’m Gay”

“I’m Gay” …

the two hardest words that have ever left my lips, but what was even more difficult was getting to the point of saying those words.  People often ask, “Did you know you were gay?”  My response often, “Did you know you were straight?”  Growing up in a straight world; a society that celebrates being straight, “normal” and all that goes with being how your parents envision your life to be.  My parents have always been accepting of my gayness(I don’t like “lifestyle”, “homosexuality” sounds so scientific, and I hope we can put to rest the idea of “choice”.)  But, what they said to me when I told them, “I’m gay” is that it was never a life they envisioned for their child because of the difficulty.  I also believe that parents have hopes and dreams for their children based on the straight society in which we are raised.  Kids are born, they play, they learn, they grow, they leave home, they marry, they have kids…..that is what our society celebrates.  That, I believe, is what parents hope for their children.  My journey has been different.  What I know for sure is that my family may not totally understand my journey, but they have always been supportive and most of all, proud of who I have become.  I’ve lived 38 years, but I’ve lived my truth the past 12 years.

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So back to that age old question gay men are asked, “Did you know you were gay?”  No.  I grew up in a time that there were not gay role models.  Gays were not very present, if at all, on television.  The gays in the media were Liberace or Elton John, certainly two men I never identified with.  So though I knew I felt different, I never really knew why.  I played with the boys in the neighborhood, rode bikes in the woods, went swimming, played with WWF wrestling figures, but around 6th grade, when they were playing football in the backyard, I started to find that I would rather lay in front of my stereo at home and listen to Wilson Phillips and Tiffany.  Hahaha.  Honestly, I laugh now.  I loved Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters when I was five and would put on weekly shows while watching their Saturday night variety show on NBC.  I loved and will always love, Whitney Houston.  I laid in front of my stereo every Sunday morning for four hours and listened to Rick Dee’s and the Weekly Top 40.  I watched Star Search on Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. and then watched the same repeat episode on Sunday at 4 p.m.  Did I know I was gay?  No.  Did I know I had very different interests than the fellas on the street?  Yes.  That was basically how I lived my life from age 12 to 18.  I did not necessarily shy away from being me, but I was aware that I needed to hide some of my interests as not to be made fun of and always in my head hoping, “this is just a phase.  I’ll grow out of it.”

Funny, I never “grew out of it.”  I went to college and still repressed any feelings I had toward boys.  What was wonderful in college is that I met my friends Herb and Cary.  Though none of us were out at that time, we connected on a level that was better for me.  Cary had Entertainment Weekly too and openly loved Mariah just as much as I loved Whitney.  Herb loved Celine Dion and wanted to watch “Deep End of the Ocean” with Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford.  Glory Glory Hallelujah, finally people like me.  Again, all of us were struggling with the same acceptance of ourselves, but at least I felt more comfortable knowing that I wasn’t the only guy with interests other than the “norm.”

It wasn’t until eight years later, when I was 26, that I finally, FINALLY, was able to say, “I’m Gay!”  I told my friend Dennis after his “coming out” party.  He’d recently moved in with a new roommate.  It was the first party I ever went to with all gay men.  The party blew my mind.  I met so many people and sat with a guy named Paul and talked about General Hospital for about two hours.  Haha, Heaven!  What is this easy NOT uneasy feeling in my stomach?  Why does this feel so “right?”  Dennis walked me out to grab a cab and my life changed forever, “I’m gay Dennis.”

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For the past 12 years I have been living my life “through.”  It has not always been easy.  Telling my mom and dad was excruciatingly painful.  Feeling I had to keep my gayness a secret from work was increasingly more difficult as I wanted to involve my friends in my entire life, but I lived a double, smoke and mirrors life for several years.  What I know now that I didn’t know then, is that everyone has been accepting and loving of me and my gayness.  The fear of being rejected never came true.  The fear of work friends caring never came true.  I never felt that people did not “know” rather, I just had not “told” them.  A funny story is the time I was at recess with a few of my 5th grade students.  The conversation between four girls happened right in front of me, yet I was not part of the conversation, I simply heard it.  “My parents say that if Mr. T is gay that is fine because he’s a great teacher.”  “Yeah, I asked my mom if he is gay and she said probably but that it didn’t matter because he’s a really nice guy.”  Hilarious!  What that moment taught me is that errrrrrrrbody “knows” I’m gay, I just haven’t “told” everybody.  So now, 12 years later, my life just IS.  I’m gay.  It’s not a big dramatic thing.  I don’t hide my life from anyone.  I used to feel it had to be this big announcement; a planned event.  Telling my family and my friends at first was such a big deal.  I had to keep it a secret from this person but not that person.  If I was dating I could only tell this person or that person.  When I would go to gay bars I would only tell this person but not that person.  I distinctly remember the first or second night I ever went out to Boystown bars.  I was sitting in the chair at my computer on Magnolia Ave.  I was on the computer checking email before I left.  My body was convulsing.  I was shaking so bad with nerves that my muscles seized up and I couldn’t move.  Somehow I calmed myself down and got out of the house.  That night I walked into Sidetrack and said to myself, with a sigh of relief, “Oh, this is what it is supposed to feel like to go to a bar.  This is what is normal for me.”  I walked into the bar with ALL men.  It was amazing and wonderful.  I was finally living my truth.

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

So here I am, 12 years later, at the Gay Games getting ready to run the 10K today.  For many reasons this is an incredible experience.  In high school I never had the confidence to join the swimming team, even when I was asked to do so by the coach.  “I’m not an athlete” I would think.  Now I’m an athlete participating in one of the biggest sporting events of 2014.  12 years ago I wasn’t comfortable just being myself, now I’m a confident man, dancing in the streets last night with other men from around the world.  I’m posting to social media telling my story because I can.  It’s my truth and it is who I am and who I was born to be.  “To thine own self be true.”  August 5th is when I celebrate my birth.  August 10th is when I celebrate my life.  Say YES to Life!

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Investing In Me

Remember what you deserve

I have a love/hate relationship with this quote.  ALL I have to do is FORGET what I feel?  Really?  I wish it was that easy.  For some people, perhaps it is, but for me being the emotionally invested and aware guy that I am, it isn’t that easy.  However, the sentiment behind the quote has merit.  It makes sense and is the basis of this idea of “Investing In Me.”

I recently read an article on Facebook about why gay men suck at dating.  http://www.gayguys.com/2014/04/reason-gay-men-suck-dating/

What resonated with me is the idea that my generation of gay men are now “nomadic.”  There isn’t anything necessarily tying us down, like kids, and most people change jobs as often as every few years.  So, why not move to a different city?  Absolutely, go do that, but I’ve worked 14 years here in Chicago and my life is here.  I’m not necessarily looking to move.  According to the article by Jerry Plaza, “We want to move away, travel and achieve big dreams. Not that there’s anything wrong with the idea, but it sure does put a damper on anyone who might see a future with you.”  Right, you want a future with me?  Stay in Chicago or make millions so I don’t have to work!  Boom!  But in all honesty, if you want to be in a committed relationship, you need to be congruent with each other and for me that means you probably need to stay here, with me.

Natalie Lue from http://www.baggagereclaim.com would call this establishing dating boundaries.  My dating boundary is that I live in Chicago and don’t plan to move anytime soon.  As I worked through the heartbreak of my ex moving to NYC for a job, over looking for one in Chicago and choosing to stay with me, I realized I needed to listen to him.  In March of last year he told me, “I can’t give you what you want.”  For so many reasons I just wanted it to work.  At the time, I would have done anything to stay with him.

“I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.”

 -Carrie Bradshaw

I’m looking for a guy who will choose to stay with me because he values me and loves me.  My ex could not love me like this.  His friends, I think, probably convinced him that he should stay with me.  Why not, right?  I do know that I have my shit together and the guy who I end up with will be lucky.  So we worked things out and two months later he was gone. I should have “listened” to him.  In Natalie Lue’s Handy List of  Commitment and Availability Issues List of Phrases, the FIRST phrase is “I can’t give you what you want.”  Listen to him!  If you learn one thing only from this post, please, LISTEN TO HIM!  It doesn’t matter if you beg him to reconsider, beg him to stay, or if his friends think you are fabulous and tell him he’s a fool to leave you, LISTEN TO HIM!

And just when you think listening is enough, now listen and set your boundary.  Take your head with your heart-Invest In Yourself.

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As I began dating again I made a commitment to myself to be authentic to my life and my life goals.  I was not going to shy away from speaking MY truth and MY desire to find love and commitment here in Chicago.  The first guy I dated I met running.  I loved that about him.  We had a ton of fun and he was super cute and energetic.  The first mention of not liking his job and “maybe I’ll move”, see ya buddy!  “My ex did that and I’m not doing that again.”  We’re friends and he is great, but “maybe” I took seriously and that is not congruent with my life.  Then a few months later I met THE next ONE.  He’d recently moved back to Chicago to be close to family.  Not having a job, he was seeking.  On our second date he mentioned the dreaded three words in my world, New York City.  I told him my ex moved there for a job over me and that if he wanted to look for jobs there he should, but that this would be our last date.  “Oh the draw of New York.  Everyone wants to live in New York.  I lived there in my 20’s.  It was great but I moved back here to be close to my family.”  My response was very direct and clear, “That’s great, but if you do seek jobs there, don’t date me.”  It could have been the cold and snow of this past January and February in Chicago, and loving a warm body next to me, but I fell head over heals for this guy.  We dated for 7 weeks filled with laughter, hours of YouTube watching Whitney clips(he loved her too!), flowers at the door and ice cream in bed and rainbows and glitter(ok, no rainbows and glitter), and just an amazing time.  After 7 weeks, he moved to New York City, for a job.

So here I am, now in June, after taking a few months away from dating, Saying YES to Life!, I’m back dating again.  I’ve met some really great guys, however, I continue to find these nomadic gay men.  Why do the guys I date think “I might live in NYC one day.”  I’ve pondered this for the past week or so since I met a really handsome, fun guy.  Is it that I’m attracted to younger thirty year olds?  Perhaps.  Or is it that my generation of gay men aren’t settled and don’t plan on settling down?  Has the instant-ness of hook-up/dating apps changed the type of guys we are meeting?  Or are we changing?  Are jobs so fluid now that staying put in a city and working at a job for more than a few years a thing of the past?  Perhaps.  With these changes, can men dating now find love?  A quote from the Broadway play and recent HBO movie, The Normal Heart, struck me.  “Men do not naturally not love. They learn not to.”  Are we learning not to love in order to keep our hearts at a distance and not settle down into commitment?

For me, however, I have to choose to “Invest In Me” and not only be upfront with these guys and my intention to stay, but say goodbye when they mention the idea of “one day” living somewhere else.  Short of sounding bitter, because I’m not, I hesitate to believe that “Love Conquers All.”  No matter how great I am, if a guy wants to live in say, New York City, he’s going to do it.  All I have control over is my life and my desires and running the other way, fast, when the mention of living elsewhere is brought up.  So I’m working on it.  I’m not perfect, and this very handsome guy who’ve I’ve recently met is worth getting to know.  But, I’m going to listen to him and I’m going to take my head along with my heart.

It is just about summer break around here.  Last summer sucked the life out of me, but this summer I’m Saying YES to Life! and “Investing In Me.”