How does one live a good life?

How does one live a good life?

Work life balance is hard for many people; I’ve still yet to master it.

Last week Ms. Coco talked about a mission statement. I’ve been thinking about the question she asked last week. I don’t have many answers yet, but I’m working figuring out the answers.

I recently attended a conference for work. But this conference was quite exceptional in that, you could bring your family, and made time each day for a group/family activity. The family time not only helped the attendees bond, but it also gave folks time to bond in a new way.

Ms. Coco had to work this week and could not attend with me. I missed our time together and wished she could have joined me. But I feel like this period apart was also valuable in that it made me appreciate our time together so much more!

The habit of taking a break a once a year to reevaluate work and family priorities is important to me.

How does one make sure they are a good husband, father, and person? This issue that was presented to me this week; by a colleague. I’ve found that asking better questions is a valuable skill.

So my plan this week is to take some time to try to answer some important inquiries. How am I going to do this? I don’t fully know. But I’m sure it will start with reading and research.

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Mission Statements…by Ms. Coco

Mission Statements…by Ms. Coco

This month of rituals and traditions have shaped our relationship in a different way than I imagined. I believe the Gentleman Farmer and I have always observed various rituals and traditions but have never talked about why we do what we do.  I think it is always important to know why we do what we do, whether that is personally or together. The Gentleman Farmer and I have discussed this for the past couple of weeks. For example, each night we give each other a kiss before saying goodnight. I think that is important and it lets me know we care about each other and are acknowledging each other before bed. If we miss a night my feelings are slightly hurt. (Don’t judge…we all have our things.)

For the last week or so the GF and I have discussed writing a mission statment for our relationship. I listen to many podcasts and at least three of them last week mentioned mission statements within their relationships. The couples who discussed them relayed how this mission statment was a tradition or ritual based on where they were in their lives. One couple just got married, another just had their third child, and another had been together for two years. I thought this concept of creating a mission statment was great! It directly impacts the work I do on a daily basis with families, but also it is a great thing to do with my honey. This exercise is ongoing and flexible and can be modified whenever we need.

So we started with a few questions. What is the purpose of our relationship? What type of life do we want to live? What does being right and wrong mean to us? What legacy do we want to leave together? Where do we want to raise our future kids? I asked the GF many questions that I found on the internet. I started with Cooperative Extension websites first because I wanted to see research based information. Then I looked at other samples and websites. I am always curious to see great examples of how others showcase their real realtionships. The GF and I both have our faults but I do believe, and hope, that we care about our relationship enough that we will foster intimacy in various ways other than just the physical.

We haven’t actually written the mission statement yet. And like the couples in the podcasts, this is a working “document” if you will. Maybe one day we will share it with the world. I wouldn’t mind.

We did go to the Juneteenth celebration this weekend in Lexington. It was pretty interesting. We didn’t stay long enough to hear or see the other informational acts that day but it was in a park after an African-American jockey from the late 19th century. I also signed up to volunteer with a coalition in the city. I believe community is important and I am trying to join communities in which we share similar interests. We’ll see how this goes!

Writing about Habits, Rituals, and Traditions

Writing about Habits, Rituals, and Traditions

Right now I’m planning for Sunday dinner. A new Tradition we are working on adopting. For some reason most of my new habits and traditions revolve around food.

I also have some new personal habits, like being active an hour a day, writing, and reading for at least 30 minutes a day. We also have our relationship goals, like celebrating accomplishments, new holidays, and planning out at least one meal a day for the whole week. 

I’ve been writing a lot this last week. I was attending a writers conference and trying to improve my ability to put pen to paper. I learned a lot from several very good writers, about their habits, and how they keep themselves productive. Haveing a routines like taking a walk befor and after working for several hours, making tea, or finding a inspiring place to work like your front poarch of writing cubby helps keep you motivated.

Makeing small adjustments has made it easy and seems more effortless to adopt these habits. I’ve also been careful about how I add or take way thing. I know I’m busy on Fridays and I kept out date night their so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking on Friday which is usually a busy day for us both. Sunday dinner is also good because it give me a chance to shop for the week ahead and make a little extra for Lunch on Monday and Tuesday. 

Ms. Coco want to celebrate more holidays, so I’m talking it upon my self to learn more about the holidays and traditions associated with them. My family was never big on celebrations but I do enjoy them and I know she does too. I’m going to be learning a lot this week about June-teenth, wish me luck and you can help me out by commenting about June-teenth traditions.

Our New And Old Thing…by Ms. Coco

Our New And Old Thing…by Ms. Coco

Well, the month of May has come to a close and the Gentleman Farmer and I have made it out alive! I never had a doubt whether our relationship would still be in tact after 31 days of cohabitation, I just wondered how our mental state would be…or more so, my own mental capability after this month’s challenge. I think it was much easier than I anticipated overall. The Gentleman Farmer would tell  you he is an excellent “roommate” and I would have to agree with him. He is courteous of others, he does his share of chores – even though we never verbally discussed chores this month – and he prepares breakfast more times than I do! I am not a huge fan of breakfast but I fully understand why we are more productive and healthier if we do. However, I am a pretty good “roommate” if I say so myself. I cook dinner most nights (that we are at my house), I have snacks that he prefers (and La Croix water), and he always has lunch for the next day! I realize all of this revolves around food…but hey, I know what I know! I think it was a tie for this challenge.

The month of June is when we discover, explore, and create traditions that will last a lifetime. We certainly already have a few rituals or traditions that we observe. The Gentleman Farmer prepares dinner on Sunday nights. We celebrate accomplishments! Not every family celebrate birthdays, holidays, graduations, or other milestones. However, we do this together and make a big deal of them, or at least I do and drag the GF along with me. June brings celebrations of African-American Music Month and the Juneteenth Celebration. I have grown up celebrating Juneteenth and would like to see how Lexington does so, if at all. We used to have community events at the park where I grew up. This included some type of learning program and lots of food. We usually celebrated other African-American holidays such as Black History Month and Kwanzaa. My mother was serious about her children learning the history of our people. She, and Nas (the rapper), always said “they” never teach you came from kings and queens. I am a Zimbabwean princess afterall…from the Shona tribe. 🙂

I look forward to starting and continuing traditions or rituals with the GF. He is my favorite person and I like being as spontaneous with him…or as predictable with him. All of these things set a strong foundation for how we choose to live our lives. And I like the way we are going. Every year I feel you should ask that person you like and love if you’re still going in the right direction. Since I asked him this a few months back I will have to ask another time…but for now we are both on the same page. I like that very much.

Buses, bikes…and no cars.

Buses, bikes…and no cars.

So it’s roommate month, so far, all is good. Actually it’s great, great knowing that I’ll get to see Ms. Coco everyday. My only concern now is, how am I going to deal when this month ends (I feel like I’m sounding really needy right now!)

Anyway, what I really don’t understand is why people feel the desire to never change, learn, or try different things?

I feel like I’m at my best when I’m learning, experiencing, and deep into something I don’t understand or fear. 

Even during the tuffest periods in my life, I have tried to find the lesson in my struggle. This seems to make life so much more enjoyable when things are going well.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this month together. Next week, I’m at Ms. Coco’s place. So that means I’ll be commuting everyday, like she did last week. I know it was hard on her and I’m very grateful that she is willing to do that for me. 

We are learning a lot about each other.  I have faith that we will be better off for all of these challenges; even if they are self imposed.

Also this week Ms. Coco has my car. She misplaced her keys and I volunteered my car since she is commuting almost 60 miles to work every day, at 6am.
I’ve decided to bike more around town and  got a bus pass! The buses having bike racks on the front, has opened up a possibility for me to ride my bike around the city.
I’m also getting lot of exercise and sun, luckily Ms Coco keeps reminding me to put on sunscreen so I don’t burn up.

On a different note. What do you say to yourself when you are having a challenging day? 

I’ve been embracing the idea of self talk and mantras recently. “Relax, breath, you got this” is what I have been using recently. Or at the gym it’s “one more” when lifting or doing exercises. Or ride my bike “just make it to the top of this hill” is very common!

Boundaries and Such…by Ms. Coco

Boundaries and Such…by Ms. Coco

The Gentleman Farmer asked me a couple of weeks ago about personal boundaries and if we give each other enough space. At that moment I thought we did a pretty good job. Then when we went to North Carolina he decided to be the best person and clean out my car. Ha! I had no clue where he was for a few hours during our annual family cookout for Mother’s Day. I happened to wonder aloud, “Did the GF get lost on his way to the grocery store?” My hometown is small and there is really no way to get lost, especially with the usage of technology and GPS on the phone. My sister said, “Oh, he took your car to the car wash.” No problem there. Until he came back and he put all of my items in a bag. I tried really hard to not be aggravated. We made it all the way back to Kentucky before I expressed my frustration.

Now…please do not misunderstand me. I love this man. He is the best man I know. Even in that task of being helpful I should be grateful, and I am. However, there is a thing about knowing where your boundaries lay. And one of mine is that if you must use/move/clean anything of mine the items should be placed back where you find them. I don’t know why that is my thing; I just know that it is. This has occurred enough times in my life to know that I would be upset about it no matter who did it. One time my sister came to my house and moved all of my furniture in the house. I was very upset about it. I waited until she left to rearrange my furniture the way I had it. At that moment I was a young 23 year old and I wanted to live my life the way I chose and she interrupted that by moving furniture! It WAS serious! Haha.

After the Gentleman Farmer and I discussed the feelings I had about him cleaning my car he brought up a concern. He wondered how this would affect us living together. Anyone would be wondering the same, I suppose. However, when the GF and I decide to move in together, I am going to assume that we will both agree on where to place items. Once we decide TOGETHER then I will have no problem when it comes to the movement of items. However, the problem I have always had is that when my items are kept in other places within my home, my classroom, my office, or my car, others feel that where I kept items were not good enough and took it upon themselves to rearrange to the point where I could not find my things. That is my issue. The GF usually finds his stuff in the same place I got it from…even if he finds additional things there too. Haha. That is what I need to work on myself. Not leaving additional things for him to find. 🙂 He loves me anyway. And I love him more and more each day.

Roommates … who’s turn is it to do the dishes?

Roommates … who’s turn is it to do the dishes?

“Maybe we could live together now, that we’re grown. But that was the worst year of my life, you were so dirty!” This was what Ms. Coco’s twin sister told me when I asked about what it was like to live with Ms. Coco.

This might have made me a little worried if I didn’t have so much faith in Ms. Coco. 

I’m quite experienced at having a roommate. My first roommate when I was young was my brother. I don’t always fully appreciate what a good little brother he was growing up. 

Summer Camp for three months every year was a experiment in how many kids you could cram into a small dirty cabin, for three months, while not bathing or washing  anything properly, and see who could survive.

Boarding school was another experiment in how many kids you can cram into a small room and keep them alive till college. 

By college I had decided I had enough roommates and I wanted my own apartment off campus. Let’s just say that did not last long!

My roommates in college mostly came about by a friend asking if the could crash for a couple of days at my place. Three months later I would end up charging them rent. 

After college the same thing happened over and over again. I can safe say Ms. Coco is the only roommate I’ve ever planned on having, she the first one I’ve ever asked to move in. I think that’s a very good sign!

I try to make every day fun for us and jump at the chance to try new things to break up the routine (the routine is also important). So when I saw the figget cube and figget spinners I knew, I have to get one for Ms. Coco. 

We are off to family for the weekend. Next week is my turn to live at Ms. Coco’s place. I’m hoping, I’m as good of a roommate for her, as she is for me!