Archive for the ‘unexpected moments’ Tag
Just when we think we’ve figured things out, the universe throws us a curve ball. So we have to improvise, we find happiness in unexpected places, we find our way back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way, sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong.
Instead of referring to him as “Cleveland”, I should start calling him “Curve Ball”. I’m beginning to think that it’s how I need to see him to make sense of the situation I’ve found myself in these last few weeks. He’s a curve ball that came into my life; one that was not only unexpected but also unpredictable. Perhaps he was one that was meant to be thrown into my life; or maybe it was a fluke occurrence. Whatever the case may be, his arrival threw a loop into my world and forced me to learn a lesson- one that I didn’t foresee myself needing to learn.
I cannot deny the impact that he’s had on me nor the feelings that formed despite the strong fight I instilled upon them. I’ve struggled with this much more than I’d like to admit- mostly because I’m disappointed with myself. From the beginning, as the tears of disappointment and frustration formed in my eyes, I said, “I know I have to walk away. I’ll walk away when I feel strong enough to do so.”
With things calming down these last two weeks, I’ve been alloted some quiet moments (somewhere in between work and school) to think about, well, everything I’ve been getting myself into lately. I’ve had time to reflect and recognize that I’ve been straying away from who I am and what I really want out of my life. I’ve let myself get caught up in the excitement of the newness instead of holding onto what I’ve always stood for. And in a way, I let the idea of him steer me off the course of I’ve always believed in: True Love.
The truth is we don’t always know why certain curve balls (people) come into our life. Maybe he/she was meant to be a stop along your journey, or in some cases perhaps you’re a stop along his/hers. Whatever the case be, whatever situation you may find ourselves in, what matters the most is that you never lose sight of who you are. And in the moments when you do, as we all will, make sure you seek out those quiet moments when you can connect with yourself and get back on track.
With no intentions to write about last night’s dream, I’m now finding it impossible not to since it’s been on my mind All. Day. Long. Yes, one of those that really stings the heart and cannot be forgotten with a little coffee therapy. In fact, if I remember correctly, I woke up startled last night after experiencing a kiss and goodbye that felt so real. (Gosh, I’m getting chills just thinking about them.)
Other than pure shock over this unexpected dream, I’m fine. However, since I haven’t been able to shake it I’ve decided that it’s in my best interest to do what always helps in situations like this: Write It Out and Channel Carrie Bradshaw. What Would Carrie Bradshaw Do? Fortunately, Carrie Bradshaw has been in a similar situation before and so I find myself remembering one of those moments to help me move past these rumblings going around in my mind today as a result of last night’s dream.
On my way to work today, with the dream still clear as day in my mind, I recalled the moment in Sex and the City 2 when Carrie sees Aidan in Abu Dhabi. It’s the moment when the past re-enters your life and Time Stands Still. You think no thoughts. You feel no pain. All you can do is stare straight into his eyes as he stares into yours. I know this situation so well. I lived this moment dozens of times during my college years. Over and over again. I could write a book about those moment… and one day I may.
I haven’t seen my Aidan Shaw for five years now, but I can tell you that I still remember those moments and name each emotion that visited me (when feelings returned, that is) as a result of those lovely little run-ins- usually unexpected and therefore, unprepared for. As I said, I haven’t seen him in a long time nor have I given him much of a thought lately. But as he’s been known to do, last night he did appear in my dream.
I didn’t expect to see him last night. I haven’t dreamt about him in a while; and I must stress again that I really haven’t thought about him either. But there’s a reason last night’s dream is still stinging with me today. (And there’s a reason why I just may have looked for him on Facebook too.) In a dream that perfectly combined the past and the present, it all ended with a kiss and a simple, “Goodbye.” Even though I woke up startled immediately after that, I understand the message loud and clear. I thought I’ve moved on, but that was the moment I actually did. It was the “Goodbye” that was never spoken. It was the “Goodbye” we always needed to say.
Most of you don’t know our story, but I will tell you that this guy was never my boyfriend. And I never told him how I felt about him. I also never kissed him goodbye the last time I saw him over 5 years ago; and to be honest, I never even said “Goodbye”. Actually, I wouldn’t let myself watch him walk away that night because I knew I couldn’t let that be my last memory of him. I never wouldn’t have gotten over him if that was my last memory. I would have always regretted letting him walk away.
Even despite last night’s dream, I’m okay. And even though it’s been on my mind all day, I’m fine. I truly believe that there’s a reason I dreamt about him last night: A good reason. In my opinion, based on my own experiences, I think the past revisits us to show us how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown. Past loves sneak up on us so that they can catch us moving on, letting go, and learning to love again. They appear to reconfirm to us that we’ve accepted them as part of our past- something we learned from and allowed us to be where we are today.
Maybe I saw him last night so that I could finally have that long anticipated ‘goodbye’ and move on once and for all?
Song of the Moment: Starts with Goodbye by Carrie Underwood
“There are no rules when it comes to love. I just try to let love surprise me because you never know who you’re going to fall in love with. You never know who’s going to come into your life – and for me, when I picture the person I want to end up with, I don’t think about what their career is, or what they look like. I picture the feeling I get when I’m with them.” (Taylor Swift)
After watching their adorable son for the day, my dear friends, Michelle & Bayard, delighted me in some good conversation over a late night dinner of Chipotle. Somehow, unbeknownst to me, I became the third wheel on a trip down memory lane. While Michelle has shared the details of their love story with me a few months ago, I was up for hearing Bayard’s version of the tale. Although I enjoy being part of a couple’s reminiscing, I must admit that hearing it from two friends is probably the ideal situation (for me); and call me bias, but it’s even more favorable because I know that their Falling in Love in New York City led to their son, Max. Having not known them years ago, it’s great to learn about their history and discover how it all began. And not only that, I cannot begin explaining how adorable they were sharing even the tiny details on their first few meetings and how they finally knew that their Central Park outings were more than just a fling.
Now instead of sharing the intimate details of this love affair, I will just extend this point that they made clear to me: You Never Know Who You’re Going to Fall in Love With. You Never Know Who’s Going to Come into Your Life.
While waiting for the bus on Michigan Avenue, I caught eyes with another patient passenger. No, sparks didn’t fly between us but this thought did go home with me: How do you know that you didn’t just see or walk past the (future) Love of Your Life?
I, for one, am so ignorant when it comes to all things that can be categorized under Love. For instance, if a David Beckham ringer walked past me, or even a group of DB-ringers, then most likely I wouldn’t have noticed…unless he was carrying a baby or walking a puppy. In fact, I can assure you that there are dozens of times when friends have asked, “Did you just see that guy?!!”, and my response is always either, “Nope.” or “What guy?”. I can still see the disappointment on Michelle’s face when I missed this one guy at CVS one morning, might I add, when I was holding her adorable son.
Why am I going off on a tangent here- besides the obvious fact that it’s something I do best? To be honest, I’m not quite sure myself. I know that I had this epiphany a few months ago that may ring even truer (for me) today: I love being single, but I hate caring about someone. My reasoning behind the ‘love being single’ part of this statement should be self-explanatory (and I don’t mean it in a hoochie way). I mean who doesn’t love Answering to No One and Living Spontaneously with The Girls . Not to mention the Unexpected Slumber Party on a Saturday Night is always nice too.
However, I will admit to cursing the single lifestyle a few times before (and maybe a bit now) because it’s not so enjoyable when you find yourself caring for someone who may not be caring for you in return. But I can say that I’ve grown up a bit and no longer lose sleep stressing over this guy stuff (knock on wood) and instead I vent my emotions out over emails to friends and blog posts for any willing eyes to see.
Seriously though, I think that the best part about being single is Knowing that You’re Going to Fall Head-Over-Heels in Love with Someone Spectacular One Day. That fact in itself is why I continue to love livin’ the single life, never knowing who’s going to come into my life.
Lexie: I know that I am supposed to toughen up. I know that I am supposed to not care. But how, how do you not care?
Mark: It’s the hardest part of the job. The very hardest part.
Lexie: How did you do it? How did you learn?
Mark: I’m still learning.
Stranded in my apartment without Internet these last few days, I’ve been reliant on my Grey’s Anatomy DVD collection to provide me with McDreamy therapy since I couldn’t blog out the uneasiness of these last few days. Last night, during a Season 6 episode, I found Lexie saying the words that I’ve been trying to spit out: How do you not care?
Chicago has made me a lot colder and much more harder than I ever thought I could be. Trust me, it’s a must to survive in this city. For the past few months I’ve found myself silently mumbling under my breath, I don’t care. I really don’t care. I don’t care when 15 people, including men my age, push in front of me to get on the train. I don’t care if my outfit isn’t as trendy, short or tight as the other girls in the bar. And I really don’t care if I make a fool out of myself to get a photo with my friends and a celebrity who I admire.
You can tell yourself I don’t care, but the truth is sometimes you do care. When it comes to some things, some people, you fight yourself to prove that you don’t care. But as you feared, you do care and you’re emotionally-drained self is proof. You have always cared, and no matter how much you try to fight it, you will always care.
I sit here, with frost-bitten fingers and goosebumps-covered limbs, staring out the huge front window at my Starbucks onto the snow-piled street. A surplus of thoughts & emotions are preventing me from working successfully today, well, that and a very slow Internet connection. Too many thoughts are distracting me. Too many feelings are numbing my body. All of these proving (to myself) that I am guilty of caring- perhaps, caring too much.
I guess it was Monday when the unexpected happened. Was it really Monday? Must have been since it’s called Moan-day for goodness sake; however, this week I’d like to change it to Moan-OMG-day…or something like that. So on Moan-OMG-day I stumbled upon something that made me say, “I don’t care” a thousand times in an attempt to fight all of the I (still) care too much– feelings.
So I care, and because I care, I’m finding myself emotionally-drained right now. I would love to write everything down that I’m feeling right not, though, to be honest, I’m still not sure what I’m feeling. The only feeling that I do know is that I care. A lot. And that it’s okay to care. After all this was something (someone) that was (is) really important to me so how can I not care? Did I expect myself to stop caring? If there’s one thing people know about me it’s that I care. I care too much about many things, and this is just one of them. So here I am, with even more frozen fingers than earlier, admitting that I’m okay with caring about this, about him. I’m just going to live with it. And sure this unexpected occurence threw me for a loop… but what’s life without a few bumps in the road? So another lesson learned here: Let yourself care. Always care.
And on that note, lunch break is over. That and I need to get away from Starbucks before the girls next to be get even more open about the ‘sex friend’ that they desire to have. Here’s another lesson for us all: Don’t think that you’re invisible at a coffee shop. People, many people, can hear what you’re saying. Think before you speak. And maybe, for some, it’s best to not speak at all.
P.S. To my friends who read this little blog of mine, I promise you I’m okay. And I’ll feel even better tomorrow. I’ve been through much worse and this is just a little unexpected curve in the road. Even if you neither know nor understand where my head is right now, I know that you’re sending me your love and support. Keep them coming because it’s still really cold over here in Chicagoland.
Before I knew it my cell phone alarm was yelling at me (to get up). 8:00 am never felt so early in my life, but I guess that’s what happens when you (attempt to) sleep on a bus the night before and go to bed around 3:30 am the night before. Knowing that a morning workout would come in handy before the all-day drinking festivities began, I changed into my workout clothes (forgetting deodorant) and headed to the hotel’s workout room. A twenty-five minute run is all I was able to commit to as I discovered that my brother, Nicky, and his friends were only a 30 minutes away and my unshowered-self was far from ready to greet them. Somehow, thirty minutes later I was at least somewhat presentable and hugging my brother in the hotel lobby.
I took the boys to breakfast while the girls got ready, and immediately upon finishing Ashley & Jay were pulling into the parking lot. Yep, I knew this was going to be a go-go-go day for yours truly…but in the best possible. With a little switch-a-roo, I found myself taking Jay & Ashley for a much-run Starbucks run and breakfast at North Market. Then it was back to the hotel room to gather the rest of the troops and finish getting ready to head down to OSU campus for tailgating.
Now thank goodness my friends love me so much 🙂 because they did not like me when I mistakenly told them that it was “only a 25-minute walk to campus”. Technically it was…for me once. But unfortunately since moving to Chicago, my barrings for Columbus have been a little skewed. Sure, it was a 25-minute walk for me one time (I swear) but I guess I wasn’t sober and didn’t realize where I was walking from and to at that time. Note: Both points were closer than our departure and arrival location. Again, Oops! Luckily they were good sports and didn’t ridicule me too much – nor all day long. Right guys? O-H well.
We eventually made it to Little Bar to meet up with the others- Kristin, Jim, Carrie, and Tony (for starters)- and a load of OSU fans. Let the shenanigans officially begin! There’s just something so magical about Columbus- and Ohio in general- during the Buckeyes’ season and being on campus for the game is unfathomable to anyone who has never participated themself. It’s days like this that make me realize why I love Ohio so much! I was so happy. Sure, I was drinking my Red Bull and vodka, but that wasn’t the reason. It was truly because of the people who I was surrounded by: Friends & family (Nicky) from Hampton, Friends from OU, Friends from Columbus, Friend from Chicago. All of these different parts of my life were gathered in one place…FINALLY. One of my friends said to me, “Don’t you love when your friends like one another?” My (obvious) response, “Yes! Absolutely!” That may have been the first time ever that I had so many parts of my life together in one place. It’s actually something I’ve always hoped would happen.
We headed down to River Jam, close to the stadium, with Jim, Kristin, Carrie, and Charlie before these season ticket holders had to head in. We took in some people watching and more drinking. I have to say that I love a tailgate that serves Bloody Marys! After kick-off, I received a text from my third cousin, Ryan, that he was in the vicinity. So I immediately made my way through the crowd of OSU fans and found him. How adorable is he?
We made our way back to Little Bar to meet back up with Ashley and Tony, and my friend, Jacquie- who is a Child Life Specialist and introduced me to the career in the first place. Thanks so much, Jac!! Although the bar was now ridiculously crowded (with the game underway), we found ourselves having a good time. New friendships were forming before my very eyes and therefore, I was in my Ohio Happy Place…and it was just about to get much happier.
Brandon!!! Now this is my happy place. Being with one of my best friends in the entire world, Brandon, makes me the happiest girl ever. I mean, seriously, how cute are we together?!! This is definitely one of the loves of my life. The only thing wrong with this picture is that Libby is not in it with us. This was the first time I saw B in 1.5 years!! That’s horrible. And even worse, I haven’t seen Libby in 2.5 years! That needs to change ASAP and hopefully it will in the next few weeks. Note: Brandon, Libby, and me (BLK) were a little three-some (like that, B?) in college.
Seeing Brandon was definitely the cherry on top and seeing his fiancée, Steph, was a bonus indeed. Everything was great. Maybe a tidbit overwhelming, especially with the drunken crowd, but definitely for myself enamored with so many of my friends by my side. I’m a very lucky girl. 🙂 And with my friends-now-friends, well everything was pretty A.MAY.ZING. and the most amazing thing is that the night was far from over.
We were hungry. Hungry and exhausted. But the show must go on. This was the weekend where us 26 & 27– year olds gave it all that we have to give to suffer through the lifestyle of a college kid again. Tough, but somebody has to do and who better than a bunch of OUers and our adopted-OUer, Stef, to do it? Afterall, this is what our OU degrees were for, right?
Getting back to the hotel, I encountered my brother and his friends. I’ll skip the details but a little drunken entertainment certainly went on with one of my childhood neighbors. (Poor Joey. Poor Us!) But this did allow me to spend some (more) time with my brother and gave Ashley the chance to harass him with the camera. At least we got this lovely family shot in. Then to make it more of a family gather, my wine-induced father decided to drunk dial me (at 8:30 pm). Yep, I love my family!
We were all beat at that point, but it was my friend Charlie’s birthday and therefore it was time to rise and (attempt to) go again. Off to Park Street Patio, which is definitely was always a favorite bar of mine when living in Columbus. Unfortunately it’s changed a bit, but that most certainly does not mean that we didn’t have a good time. After all, it was Charlie’s birthday and that definitely calls for some celebrating. With Jim taking charge for one of his best friend’s birthday, we knew it was going to be a good time. But this little (cougar) blogger of yours had no idea just how good- and interesting- it was about to get.
Let me first say that I was not drunk. I really wasn’t. Drinking? Yes. Tired? Absolutely. High on life by spending two full days with my friends in Columbus? You betcha! I’m saying this because I honestly have no idea how the events that occurred on Saturday night at Park St. Patio unfolded. One minute I was dancing and singing at our table and the next walking around the bar trying to find Jacquie. Then I was scouting out boys with Kristin until I had to go outside to take a call from my friend, Elise. And that, my friends, is the last moment before Little Stella Cougar Got Her Groove Back.
So I’m still a little unclear of what actually happened, but I’m beginning to put some of the pieces together. Apparently, Jim found out who the cute guy near the bar was and maneuvered his own plan (with the assistance of our server) to get him (Nick) to talk to me (?)… meet me (?)…honestly, I don’t know what he was trying to do. But it worked and that’s all that matters. And what was Jim’s grand plan? Based on what I gathered and experienced, Mr. “Matchmaker” Comyns ordered me another Screwdriver, had the server get Nick to come over to Jim, and then Jim asked him to take this drink over to a “really nice girl who was talking to his wife” (me). And he did- which honestly still shocks me. I mean what would you do in that situation? The funny thing is that I probably would do it, but I’m not sure how many others would. I think that says a lot about the person Nick is. To be quite honest, little picky me has to admit that he’s pretty A.MAY.ZING. Just a good, genuine guy. In a way that could be detected by the way he handled the situation. I think it’s fair to ration that I had a good time with him. Am I crushing? It appears that I am. So yes. Interesting enough we discovered that we have a (random) mutual contact, Nila, who thinks the world of him. If anything he’s reminded me that there are good guys out there…even at the bars.
So yeah, that pretty much concludes my weekend- without too many details on the latter part of Saturday night. (We’ll see what happens.) Sunday morning brought about the end of our roadtrip to Columbus, as Stef and I boarded the Megabus (minus Starbucks) back to Chicago. We had a decent ride home, which is always appreciated- especially on a Sunday night (aka the day before a Moan-day). It’s been pretty much a continuation of the go-go-go weekend these past few days (minus the Columbus, friends, and boy parts) and not much sleep has happened for this girl. Case in point, it’s 11:22 pm CT and I’m nowhere near asleep. Maybe I should hit “Publish” and get at least one step closer to that occurrence.
So again, thank you to Columbus and all of my friends- old and new- for leaving with many memories from this weekend. I’ll see you all again soon!
To sum up this past weekend best, I’ll say that, Chicago is a big city but it’s such a small world. The whirlwind that was this past weekend- and really week- reminded me of both of these concepts. Take today (Sunday night is when I’m writing this) for instance. Within an hour of waking up I found myself on a bus around the city, only to trek all the way back to discover just what a small world it really is. In my own neighborhood Starbucks, I ran into the younger brother, Brad, of my dear college friend, Jenni. (aka “BaFaFa). Brad was in town visiting friends for the weekend and our run-in was completely unexpected and A.MAY.ZING. Isn’t that the best?!!!
With Laura in town this weekend for the second interview, my weekend was devoted to showing her around. It was better than that sounds but also the culprit of my exhaustion…and the reason for my 3-hour nap this afternoon. I woke up groggy, maybe a little refreshed, thinking where I was and, more importantly, who I was with this weekend.
Over the course of the past 2 days, I have been with or spoken to all sorts of friends: old friends, new friends, friends-of-friends (now my friends), friends from high school, friends from college, friends from Columbus, and family.
Here I am, in the 3rd largest city in the US, having come here 2 years ago knowing less than a handful of people, and I run into a familiar smiling face from my past at my Starbucks four blocks from my apartment. Most of you are probably thinking, what’s so special about that? It happens to me all the time? Well, it used to happen to me all the time too, but not anymore. To say I miss that is truly an understatement.
Being in this city, surrounded by unfamiliar faces- that are not always friendly- makes me feel foolish for going out of my way to avoid people at our community venues (back in Hampton) all those times. Some day I’d give anything to just casually run into a former teacher at Target, a former teammate while running at the park or even arrange a coffee date with a former friend/classmate. I guess it’s true that you long for the things you once had when they’re no longer available to you.
Gosh, if my friend, Matt (MT), read this I would never hear the end of it. Actually I spoke with him last night and some of this stuff came up, and his teasing definitely did as well. Although I’m at the point now where I can fire back and it doesn’t bother me as much. As I’ve shared in past posts, there was a time in my life- during college- when I decided that I wanted to break-up with my past life. I didn’t want anything to do with Hampton. I wanted a change. I wanted to change. I regret that time in my life and now realize that it was foolish of me; however, it is once again proof that you live & learn.
It’s funny how things change. I’m not sure if I’m laughing about it, but I think the way my life has gone, thus far, I definitely see the irony. For instance, as a teenager I used to daydream of living in NYC…but realistically never thought I’d end up there. At that time I figured I’d be in Pittsburgh, dating my latest crush, and being friends with the same friends- that are now no longer my friends. In college I knew I’d never go back to Pittsburgh and was destined to live in (Columbus,) Ohio for the rest of my life. Then Chicago came and the struggle has finally somewhat seized, and while I miss my family (in Pgh) and friends (mostly back in Ohio), I’m actually realizing how great it is to be in Chicago and have visiting guests and random run-ins with my Ohio folk in Starbucks.
Is staying here in Chicago actually my solution for having the balance of my past and the future I desire?
I do still think about moving back to Columbus, Ohio, wondering what it would be like. I know that after living here that it would be very, very different, but would I like it? Would I fit in? I could ask these questions again and again, leading myself down the never-ending road of frustration, but why bother?
I’m finally understanding that life isn’t about the minute-by-minute plans nor the timelines. There’s no rule book on how to do things, and no penalty if you don’t accomplish those societal standard checklist items by a certain age or at all. Life is about the little things; the precious moments; the unexpected joys. It’s about follow your passions and acting spontaneously in the moment. It’s about choosing to go on a weekend roadtrip to your college town with friends. Or deciding to enroll in grad school to pursue the job that you know you’re meant to do. It’s about falling in love at first sight with a guy you never thought was ‘your type’ and enjoying those butterflies that you get when he’s around. It’s about running into an old friend in a big city and having a smile on your face the next day, realizing just how wonderful that unexpected moment truly was.
It may be a small world (after all), but it’s a life full of many opportunities.