Opposites Attract

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I like Britney, he likes Gaga.

I like movies, he likes video games.

I like walking, he likes running.

These are just a few examples of the everyday battles we face because of our completely opposite tastes! At times it can be quite frustrating, especially when I want to watch a film and he looks like he’d rather rub his face on a cheese grater. But in the long run, I think it’s good that we are so different. He may think I am stubborn and set in my ways (which I am), but the truth is I really value his opinion, and it often challenges me to re-evaluate my stand on things, even if it doesn’t always come across.

And I like to think that the same goes for him. I’ve seen a big difference in him since we’ve been together. for example, I’m a neat freak and hate a messy house, whereas he used to have a very ‘relaxed’ approach to housekeeping. But nowadays he probably does more housework than me. He’s always washing dishes and clothes! And I’ve also developed a more lenient approach to what I consider messy.

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I remember an episode of Modern Family that was about whether people can change or not. When asked how much people could change, Mitchell replied “People are who they are, give or take 15 percent. That’s how much people can change if they really want to. Whether it is for themselves or for the people they love.” This always stuck with me. 15%. Is it a lot? Is it not enough? Is it realistic? I don’t know what your opinion is on the subject, but for me, I came to the conclusion that I would be happy to be 15% adaptable. It’s a good percentage to aim for! It’s high enough to see a difference, but not so much that you lose yourself in the process. And for the one I love, I will more than willingly try to get up to that 15% in order to make him happy, because I know he is willing to do the same for me. Sometimes I may fall short, but I really try. 

And this mentality has worked out well for us when it comes to the tricky parts. But it’s funny because even though we have our differences, in other ways we are so in-sync. We have the same dark sense of humour. We often finish each others sentences. We have the same fashion sense and are always stealing each others clothes. And I can almost always tell what he’s thinking and he knows me really well too. These natural similarities are the reason we were so attracted to one another in the first place, and the differences only help to make these connections that much more special.

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We may still argue about what takeout to get, and we are always on opposite sides during a celebrity argument, but in the end it doesn’t really matter. I love him because he is so different to me. It keeps me on my toes. And making up after a heated argument can be quite thrilling too!

Welcome to the Neighbourhood

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I’ve taken a little bit of a break from WordPress over the last couple of weeks. I was very busy with work and honestly wasn’t feeling very inspired.

This week I’ve started following some new blogs, and have just been quietly absorbing this lovely community, regaining my focus and admiring some wonderfully written works.

It’s made me evaluate what I want my blog to be about, and what I want to say. I think I’m going in the right direction, but I just need a little bit more discipline!

One of the things that I’ve enjoyed a lot and I think has been well received has been the Man Crush Monday. So this is something I’m going to continue to do frequently, and hopefully consistently!

Also, I like sharing personal experiences and advice. As one half of a gay couple I am always fascinated when I discover blogs with similar lifestyles and stories. Finding people who can share my aspirations, obstacles and milestones is always fun, and I hope to be more of a voice in that sense.

When I started, I had it in my mind that Pink Suburbia was going to be about my gay life in suburbia, and while it is still an ongoing theme, here I’m able to share my passions for film, television, entertainment, and most importantly, my husband.

With Pink Suburbia I’ve created a little online home for myself, on a gay-friendly street with the most fascinating neighbours. So if you’re reading this, it means I have another chance to welcome you to the neighbourhood! On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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5 Pillars of Happiness: How many do you have?

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As I’ve mentioned before, I had a bit of a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I’m 25. I know it’s not old by any means, I just wished that I had my life a bit more together. After almost two months of it though, I’ve come to accept it, even embrace where I am right now.

Of course things could probably be better. Let’s just agree that life, in general, could always be better! But overall, I know things could be much worse too. I remember an episode of Will & Grace where they take a quiz called ‘The Five Pillars of Happiness’ to determine just how content and fulfilled their lives are. Even though it is difficult to summarize our existent into 5 categories, it’s a good place to start!

Health

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Oh dear… Just going right into it aren’t we? In all honesty, I think health is one of the pillars that needs some reinforcement. I’m not obese, and I don’t suffer from any conditions that I’m aware of, but I know this is an area for improvement. I recently found out my blood pressure is higher than I expected, and I think I’m a little bit overweight at the moment, but it all comes down to my sedentary lifestyle. I work in an office, drive everywhere and partake in very little physical exercise. This is something I’ve started working on, so I’m not going to stress too much about it. That’ll just make my blood pressure worse!

Family

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Phew, an easy one! Luckily for me, I have been blessed with a wonderful family. We’ve always been very close, but with my father passing away six years ago, we’ve really come together and learnt to appreciate one another and not take anyone for granted. It’s little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.

Love

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Another one that I feel content with. Love and marriage has definitely changed me! As important as it is to take care of yourself and your own heart, it means a lot when someone trusts you to take care of theirs.

Friendships

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Another area that I could probably dedicate a bit more time to. I have one or two very close friends, and I hang out a lot with my husband and my sister, but in general I could probably make more of an effort to see my friends and spend time with them. With most of my friends we can just pick up where we left off, which makes it easier. Also, I am still relatively new to the blogging world, so I’m still getting to know everyone, although I’ve already met some lovely people.

Work 

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This was always the one that I had the hardest time with. Not because I’ve had terrible jobs or anything, just because I’ve always felt like I should be on some kind of career ladder. Going from promotion to promotion, pay rise to pay rise. However, it’s simply not been the case. Now that I’ve accepted this, I feel much better about my career path. I’m working hard, pushing myself and getting recognized for it. And this is already opening doors of opportunity for me, more so than before when I was worried about the money or the title.

Result?

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3/4 out of 5 pillars. Not bad… If they are only metaphorical pillars that are not necessary to hold anything up!

The point is, we are always going to have something to work towards. It’s hard to build up all of these aspects of life at the same time without the occasional crack. The important thing for me is to have a strong foundation if it starts to crumble. Whereas before I wanted to see how high my pillars could reach, now I’m more focused on how much they can withstand.

Lazy Sunday…

After the week I’ve had, I want nothing more than to continue to lay in bed, watching time go by. At least for a little bit longer.

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This week, I’ve been on a training course for work, which was both fantastic and exhausting. Living in suburbia and having to trek to south east London has been like Frodo taking the ring to Mordor! But it was all for a good cause and actually made me look at my job as more of a career than just a place where I get paid every month.

I work for a fantastic company and I just feel like I could benefit from being in a different sector. I don’t know if I’m quite ready for it or if my bosses will think I’m ready right now, but it’s definitely a possibility and a challenge, which makes me optimistic.

However exciting that may be, I don’t want to think about it now though. I am very content next to my sleeping husband on this cold Sunday morning, and don’t want my mind to be anywhere else!

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I find that when it gets started its a one-stop train to crazy town, imagining all the best and worst possible outcomes and overthinking every little action. It’s hard to get a grip at times, so the best thing is not to wind it up.

I suppose all of us are a little bit like that. When we achieve one thing we are looking for the next. Which is good, overall. But we should just take the time to enjoy what we have, and appreciate the little moments too. Or even the non-moments, like the one I’m experiencing right now. I know tomorrow will come eventually, but I’m in no rush for it to arrive.

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Dear 16 Year Old Me: A letter about friendships

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As I lay in bed this morning, ignoring my alarm and browsing Facebook to avoid the inevitable, I found myself feeling a little melancholic (not only because I had to get up for work!). I was looking through my news feed and saw a lot of people who I used to go to school with. Some who were my close friends, some who were acquaintances, and some who I barely spoke to in the 6-7 years that I studied at the same school.

I had my group of close friends and I’m sure we all thought the world revolved around us. But now, more than 7 years after finishing secondary/high school, I hardly have any contact with my school friends. Nothing bad happened, we just drifted apart. We moved on from school, got jobs, went to uni, moved away, and eventually made new friendships. It’s sad but it’s a part of life.

What I feel a little melancholic about is the fact that there were a lot of people I never made an effort to get to know. Somehow I’ve ended up Facebook friends with some of them, and I will see them post something funny, or comment on a subject that I like, or even share a life event that I can relate to, and I think to myself ‘Why were we never close?’.

If I could go back in time and do it all again, I think that’s one of the things I would try to do. Be a little more outgoing and talk to different people. I can be a little bit shy in the beginning, but I think I’m quite outgoing nowadays! It’s been much easier since leaving school. I think because I was still trying to come to terms with my sexuality (everyone around me knew I was gay before I did!), I just wanted to blend in and be a part of the background. I didn’t want people questioning me about my sexuality when I didn’t even know the answer, so I just stuck with the people who I felt most comfortable with.

I don’t want to sit here and think about all the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s of my teenage life, otherwise I’m sure this would just be the tip of the iceberg, so I thought it would be better to write my 16 year old self a little letter instead:

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I wish I could explain to sixteen year old Matt just how important it is to be kind and true to who you are, but in all honesty I think that’s a lifelong lesson that has to be learnt the hard way…

Yes! 

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I have always been the kind of person to play it safe. Apart from a wild first year of university, I’ve always preferred a night in with a good box set to a night of going out out. Which is fine, it’s just the way I am, and for the most part I’m completely fine with that!

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However, I feel like if I try branching out and trying new things and taking people up on offers I would normally say no to, I may have more to say and more adventures to look back on. So, I’ve become a Yes Man! Just like the cringey Jim Carrey film, I’ve started saying yes when my first instinct is to say no. I won’t do anything illegal or too dangerous, but it’s good to get out of my comfort zone!

Last night my best friend Ollie invited me and Roni out to a bar where he knows the bartender. He guaranteed me a night of free drinks (which is very hard to resist!), but I was still a bit reluctant. I’d worked a full day and Roni has work early this morning, so I was very hesitant. But then I remembered that I’m a Yes Man now,  so we went for it!

lindsay yesWe ended up having a really good time! Drinks were indeed free all night (my glass was always full), the music was on point (they even played some Britney Spears!), and I was in great company with my husband and my best friend!

I know that for some people this may not seem like such a big achievement, but I can often find a million and one reasons to avoid leaving the house even if I know I’ll end up enjoying myself. I’m just really chilled out and like to be at home (my life goal is to be a househusband!). I’m glad that I reconsidered, and saying yes actually felt fantastic!

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Going out last night was my thing that I needed to say yes to. Yours may be different. Maybe it’s a new relationship, or a new job. Maybe it’s forgiveness that you need to embrace. Maybe you need to accept help if you are in a difficult situation. Whatever you are saying no to, perhaps you should reconsider! I know I won’t be like Jim Carrey, and there will be things I do say no to, but a few more yeses in life can be a good thing!

If It Doesn’t Challenge You, It Doesn’t Change You

I’ve been having a really busy week with work, and unfortunately my blog has suffered because of it. Although this is something that was started as a hobby, I am very devoted to it and like to set apart some time to write. I make a point of it, actually. Even though I am still very busy, today I sat down to write, and it’s been a bit of a struggle! I have a few blog post ideas but the creativity for piecing it together just isn’t there right now.

While searching for some motivation, I googled ‘Inspirational Quotes’. Just goes to show you how desperate I was because I’ve never used Google as a life guru! Somewhere in the middle of the sappy, cliché and overused quotes, this one popped out for me:

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It may not catch your attention, but today I think it’s what I needed to see. It’s so easy to give up on what we want when we are faced with our first hurdle. I’ve never really tried to pursue writing or put it out there for people to see because I was scared of a moment like this. A moment when I feel like I’ve used up all my creativity and I need to go back to my day job and forget about my passion.

When I started writing again after so many years of frustrated, creative build up, I broke a cycle. I challenged myself and I changed. I don’t want to give up on something that I enjoy doing and is actually a huge accomplishment for me. It’s changing me for the better!

Whatever your hurdle is, no matter how hard it may seem to overcome, the thing is to just power through and not lose steam! You might fall over on the first one, lose your balance on the second, or even flat out land on your face on the third, but who knows, maybe by the fourth you’ll have found your footing.

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