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Mike Valletta

Storyteller. Photographer. Traveler.

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

I stumbled upon a book recently. It was a book I had purchased at a Starbucks exactly five years ago, and it had been kicking around the house ever since. The title? “Where do you see yourself in five years?”.

Well, perhaps it’s ironic that I would find it again five years later. As I stared at the cover, I was slightly afraid to open it. Would I be disappointed at what I did not accomplish? What happens if I’m living my life all wrong, and not the way I had hoped I would be living it?

It’s interesting how we instantly shift our minds to the thoughts of failure. Notice how in my questioning I never once mentioned anything positive. I never asked myself if I would be proud or overjoyed of accomplishments. Why is that? The human brain is wired for negativity. We get a high from negative reactions. The news? It’s mostly negative, and we tune to it frequently to see all the bad in the world. See what I did there? Negativity is attractive.

As I flipped through the pages of the five year plan I wrote out for myself five years ago, I began to notice something. Something positive. I shouldn’t have been afraid to open this book. Nearly everything I was reading was already manifested or is currently a work in progress. I had been practically living my five year plan without even knowing it! My career shift to sales from management? Took effect three years ago. Coming out as a gay man to the public? Two years ago. Working on becoming a real estate agent? Work in progress. Marriage? Well, I’ll eventually get there.

The point is, mostly everything I had dreamed and planned was already satisfying me. There was no need to sit and fear this book. My mind wanted me to fear it. It took a shift of thinking in a more positive light in order for me to even open it! Once I did, a smile and a sigh came upon me. I laughed fear in its face.

Five year plans are an essential part of anyone’s life. Think of it as a business plan. You can’t just keep hopping in the car and drive around aimlessly. You have to have a plan for everything you want to do in life. You have to craft a way of just how you’re going to accomplish your dreams. I wouldn’t want to be around anyone that was in business if they didn’t have a business plan. The business wouldn’t even last five years. Same goes for your life. You may live five years, though you won’t live as successfully as you possibly could.

Figure out where you see yourself. Take a moment. Mediate. Reflect. What do you see your future self doing? Be honest with yourself about the plan, and be a bit of a realist. You can’t instnstly dream about owning your own island. Okay, you could, but it’s most likely not the most realistic dream. Think about what your life will look like in five years. What job will you have? Where will you be living? Who surrounds you? Think with a clear mind.

As I write this, I’m currently working on the next five years. It was great to discover the past and see that I am doing well on my path. Where do I see myself over the next five years? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned.

Go create your own five year plan.

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Don’t Date Down!

You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with.

Have you ever been on a date and sit there wondering what you’re even doing on the date in the first place?

We’ve all been there. That one date that we saw so much potential in while chatting on an app and then suddenly when we make plans to meet, we walk past them in the restaurant because they look nothing like their pictures. Well, there’s red flag number one.

Then comes the conversations. They sounded so intellectual while chatting online, now that you are seated across from them having a conversation, you wonder if they hired a personal assistant to help manifest this date. 

No date is ever perfect, let’s face it. The best thing about a date is, you don’t ever have to connect with that person again if you don’t want to. You can simply create an exit strategy like something the secret service drafted up for you, and then quickly exit stage left, hop in your car and hit the pedal to the metal! Yes. I’m guilty.

When it comes to dating, you should never date down. I recently learned of this from conversations with one of my best friends. If you are a high functioning individual, you need to date someone who is at your level of functionality. Do not settle! If you are settling at what is in front of you because they have a pretty face but not a pretty brain, you are dating down. Don’t do it! 

I feel it is so important to surround yourself with people that will make you a better person. The way you think. The way you act. The way you plan out your future. You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. Your partner should be of the same caliber level. Dating down will just manifest toxicity, and who needs that in their life. 

Exit stage left and run.

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Kate Hudson is Making Us Pretty Happy. 


You don’t have to be perfect. Pretty happy is pretty great.

Kate Hudson has absolutely nailed it in her latest book approropriatey titled, Pretty Happy. A book geared towards healthy ways to love your body.

As someone who is always on the prowl for the latest self help books, my eyes lit up when I discovered the release on an episode of The View earlier this week. Though the book targets females, I truly believe it is great no matter what gender you are, or what walk of life you come from. 

Being happy with the skin you are in is something I had struggled with for years. Being a gay man in hiding for as long as I was, it was a crisis I didn’t know how to deal with. I turned to the Internet and spent hours researching just how others had come out, but ultimately it wasn’t something that helped. If this book had been out years ago, I would have come out  instantly. It is absolutely refreshing to read about someone who has become more confident of just who they are, and now has the ability to help others do the same. 

It is so important to develop and foster a healthy relationship with yourself. In the book, Kate Hudson talks of the importance of just that and even helps you develop a plan so you too could do the same. I’d like to call this book more of a workbook rather than just a normal chapter book. It is truly a workbook for your life! It helps guide you into being a better you both mentally and physically, with designated pages where you could fill in your answers to different questions that will truly have you reflecting. 

Will this book make you perpetually happy? Come on now. No one is ever always happy. You’ll have your off days as we all do. As the title suggests, you’ll be pretty happy. Being more content with your life is absolutely essential, and Kate Hudson brings you to just that level of content.

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Never Stop Reinventing You.

Practice makes perfect. At least, that’s what we are told in life.

As humans, we are bound to make mistakes over the course of our lifetime. It’s in our DNA. Each day, we aim for absolute perfection, but why? Perfection is boring. Perfection also causes us not to make mistakes, and if we are not making mistakes, we are not learning nor are we embracing everything that life has to offer.

There are many days I look at the people that I have surrounded myself with. Many are on successful paths in their lives, and they didn’t get there by perfection. No, they got there by many beautiful mistakes that ultimately disciplined them to have the high profile career choices that they dreamed of.

When I talk to people on how they have to constantly reinvent themselves, I get some head turners. It’s always that “What do you mean, you don’t think I’m perfect?” look. Again, no one should be perfect so please spare me.

Reinventing yourself simply means that you are training yourself to grow and do better things with your life. Wouldn’t everyone want that? Perhaps it’s time to change our way of thinking. Get crazy. Make mistakes. Practice does not make you perfect. Practice gives you the ability to grow successfully!

At the start of 2016, I promised myself I would work hard on reinventing just who I am and who I am becoming as a person as I enter the next phase of my life. I’m well positioned both mentally and financially to do just that, but I didn’t get to this level because I was perfect. No, I got to this point because I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes. Life is too short to be afraid to figure out what could or could not happen.

As I take on 2016, I do so by following a plan that set for myself. I outlined exactly what I want to accomplish and created different route ideas of just how I’m going to get there. Do I smile at where I’m at now in life? Of course I do! I’m reinventing myself for the sole purpose of growing, not because I’m not happy with where I am. Growing is essential. If we don’t grow, we become stagnant and we suddenly catch ourselves sitting back watching others become successful in life while we are in the background scratching our heads at where we suddenly went wrong. Lack of reinventing, that’s where! Do it, or stay in the past.

Smile at your mistakes.Reinvent yourself one mistake at a time, but please stay away from anyone who is a self proclaimed perfectionist. You don’t need anyone that boring ruining your mojo.

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The Gay Dating Game.

Grindr. Scruff. Tinder.

These three magical apps are perhaps the most active on my phone these days. I use the term magical loosely. As a single guy, looking for love requires more than just seeking a one time hook up at a local gay bar. Looking for love requires you to do your research. It has to be more than just a pretty face. Though that doesn’t hurt.

Since becoming single, I’ve been on numerous dates. So much so, I feel like I’m on ABCs “The Bachelor”, and I’m the one handing out roses. I must have gone through more than two dozen. Thank goodness for an over abundance of flowers in the world.

Some dates have been exceptionally well. I’ve seen just about every walk of life. A doctor, a lawyer, a television meteorologist, even the boy next door. (Litteraly. That was a mistake. We’ll just leave him next door.)

For the most part, there is a trend in my dating game; I am in search of a man. Not a boy. Not a college student. Not someone who can’t support themselves. A man. Someone that is established in life and has future goals and ambitions, and knows just how to reach them. While it’s nice to play around occasionally, as I approach my thirties, it is time to start thinking about settling down. My twenties were the years to experiment. I have done more than I would love to publicly admit! No regrets, however. Life is full of experimenting until you find your comfort zone.

The gay dating game is a little different than that of the straight dating game. Straight people don’t hook up nearly as much. Gays love sex. I mean, we’re guys. Wasn’t that obvious? When you’re searching for love, this gets a little harder. One simple log on to Grindr and your screen lights up with notifications with people asking if you’re “Looking?” or “Hey, what are you into?”. Good grief.

Some people that I have met actually have a fantastic head on their shoulders and aren’t always looking for just sex. As soon as I interact with these gentlemen, my heart instantly melts and there’s a sigh of sudden relief. Could it be someone actually wants something with substance?

It’s unheard of in the community these days, but once you find it, you don’t want to let it go. If you do, you are foolish. After spending so much time on the gay dating apps, I can’t express enough how people in our community need to think with their head, and not the one that is below the belt.

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A Singles Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is on its way. I would normally be jumping out of my skin at this point since I’m naturally a very generous person, especially around a holiday aimed around generosity and appreciation.

This year, not so much. As someone who is recently single, the focus has been primarily on me, and not so much on any partner that I have. It’s an odd feeling. One I am certainly getting aquatinted to all over again. It’s a process, and it’s one that is taken one day at a time. We’ve all been there.

I mainly rely on friends to occupy the time, not because I’m seeking attention, but because they are the foundation of my life and my support system. Where would we be in life without good friends and a good bottle of wine? We would be slaving our day away stomping grapes and drinking the fruits of our labor in self pity and sorrow, that’s where. It’s great to have people producing this stuff for you so you can enjoy a couple of bottles in good company. Yes, a couple.

So, what are my intentions this Valentine’s Day, you ask? Focusing on the self for starters. You cannot love others without putting yourself first and foremost. It is imperative that you take the time out to enjoy the skin you’re in. If you don’t have the ability to fall in love with yourself, then your love for others isn’t as significant. There has to be a balance. It’s the way of life.

I’ll also be spending time in good company. I’m looking forward to it. There’s people in your life that truly make you who you are, and it’s important to spend as much time as you can around the people that bring value to your life. What better day than Valentine’s Day to show a little appreciation.

If there’s anything being single has taught me, it is that I don’t constantly need a man to make me happy. I am happy. I am happy with the people that surround me. Life is grand, and it’s just getting started all over again.

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Get Massaged into a Better You.

Have you ever really been in need of a massage? I’m sure you have. After all, many of us live high demanding lives that causes an increased amount of stress on our bodies.

I booked a massage this past week at my local Massage Envy, noting that I have a monthly membership. After a solid week on the slopes up in Vermont, my body was yearning for a treatment!

I decided on a hot stone massage. My therapist assured me that this would release a great deal of tension in the body as well as help to unwind the mind. Fair enough. After a long vacation away from reality, it was nice to be soothed back into the real world again.

The stone massage was amazing. It was everything that I had thought it would be. Hot stones rubbed along the body, along with a series of hot stones on my back and in between my toes. The feeling was absolutely sensational and relaxing.

Next up, a facial. I was in dire need of that. The rough winter skin has been sneaking up on me and causing absolute dryness. Absolute yuck.

My facial therapist and I really connected well. Maybe that was because she told me she would help me look about ten years younger. Anyone that tells you that, you’re going to become best friends!

The facial went extremely well. We diagnosed just how dry my face was, and worked to restore it back to its original shine. After about an hour of treatment, I was impressed. I kept looking in the mirror and wanted to touch my face to see if it was real. Sadly, I got told hands off! The oils on your fingers cause break outs. Duly noted.

Massage Envy offers an incredible experience to each guest, and I could not be anymore pleased with how this past session went. Not only is a massage great to release built up pressure in your body, it’s also great for mental health. Focusing on you and your body can really make you a better, more focused of a person. 

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In a Dry New England Winter, Killington Shines.

It’s no secret that this winter has been a dud here in New England. The lack of snow has caused many local skiers and snowboarders to flock west thanks to this years El Niño. One resort, however, has found a way to make the best of a bad situation.

Killington Resort, in breathtaking Killington, VT is a gem. It’s my second home, and I couldn’t be any more proud of what they have been doing this winter. A struggle to start, they have found a way to produce enough snow to satisfy the cravings of many. With nearly 100 trails open, skiers and riders have been able to enjoy an array of almost limitless adventures.

Arriving up on Wednesday this week, I shrieked like a school girl at the sight of a glorious mountain covered in snow. I instantly got out of my car, latched onto my skis, and hit the trails. With a hint of snow falling from the sky, the day was perfect as I carved down nearly every trail I could in a span of five hours. Conditions? Couldn’t ask for better. Was it a little icy? Yes, but icy conditions are typical for New England resorts. Plus, it really adds to the speed factor. I like speed. It’s a bit of an adrenaline rush.

My adrenaline rush continued on day two as sunny skies softened up the snow a bit and even allowed for a little goggle tanning. Thursday was indeed a skiers paradise.

Indeed it has been a tough season, even Killington can admit to that. However, as New Englanders, we need to embrace what comes our way. No two seasons are ever the same here, and that is the true beauty of living here. Some of us just know how to make the best out of a bad situation, and Killigton Resort has been doing just that.

Sharpen up your skis and hit the hills. They need your support, and they would love to see you. After all, who couldn’t use a little fresh mountain air and some fine apres ski.

For more information about Killington, visit Killington.com or search #Beast365 on Instagram.



 

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The Brand Returns.

It’s been a while.

As I write this, I reflect back to the days I started writing. I was young. I was focused. My energy and passion for all things creative in life drove my writing business. So much so, it landed me several different gigs and multiple partnerships with media outlets. I was a proud young man.

Then, something happened along the way. Life. Life became more complex as I started to grow older and figure my own self out. While previously writing this blog, I was known as a young straight man. I concealed much of my own identity, and did not portray publicly of just who I am; a homosexual man.

During my time off from writing, I focused on my coming out. I’ve relished in new found connections, fell in love with the LGBT community and the endless parties, and even got a shot at love.

Today, I am proud to announce that I am back, and better than ever. Not only have I worked on finding out just who I truly am, I have also made leaps and bounds to move my personal life forward in the direction that I’ve always envisioned myself in, one of which starts with this website.

Mike Valletta. It’s more than just my name, it’s a brand. A brand I am proud to move forward into the future. I invite you all to join back in on the conversations with me as I continue to embark on an incredible journey of storytelling and photography along with future endeavors soon to be announced. (Hey, I can’t let all my secrets out.)

So, what is the brand today? The brand today is centered around the website, a direct link and staging ground. It’s where you’ll get your weekly digest of stories. Next up, we leap out to social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (TheMikeValletta). These sites are considered live streaming, and a direct connection with fans.

As you navigate the site, you’ll notice many of the older articles are still in tact. Some like to leave the past behind, we’ll take the past with us. After all, it’s part of the journey, and a history. New articles will be appear on the site every Friday.

I’m sure you all want to know what’s next for the brand, you’ll just have to be patient. There’s a reason I’m calling it a brand these days. Stay tuned.

I hope all have been well. Let’s get the party started.

Mike Valletta

 

Photo Credit: Pholton Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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