Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Forward Thinking

I have been thinking about getting a new dining room table.  The one I have is round, made of brushed metal with a glass top.  I bought it when I moved into my house in 2002.  There is nothing wrong with the table.  I was just wondering if it might be time for a change.

When I mentioned to my parents that I wanted to replace the table, they immediately asked why I would want to get rid of such a nice table.  After all, the chairs were so comfortable.  Then they asked what I was going to do with the table and chairs when I got a new one.  My mom suggested that maybe we should put the table in my brother's house since he has extra space.

Instead of enjoying the thought of getting a new table, all of a sudden I found myself deep into a discussion about whether we would rent a truck to get my old table up to my brother's house and whether or not he would even let my Mom bring it there.

How often do we start with a simple thought in the present and immediately take a mental leap ten steps into the future?  I know there are times when it is important to plan ahead, but sometimes I wonder if we put ourselves under too much pressure to plan every aspect of our life.

A few weeks ago I met a guy on Match.com.  After our first date, I immediately felt a connection with him.  It was a cold Sunday afternoon in March and we really wanted to go somewhere to walk around.  We met halfway in a Kmart parking lot and he drove the rest of the way into town.  He asked if I wanted to know where he was taking me, but I told him to surprise me.

We arrived at our first destination.  It was a botanical garden just outside of Ann Arbor.  From the moment we took our coats off and felt the warm air on our faces, I felt like there was something magical between us.  We spent two hours strolling through the garden holding hands and looking at all of the various flowers and plants.  The conversation flowed so easily.  The entire date was effortless.

What I had planned to be a few hours in the afternoon turned into dinner and then a cup of tea.  We got back to the Kmart parking lot in the evening.  As I sat in his car patiently waiting to see if he was going to kiss me, I noticed the moon rising.  We stopped for a moment and watched as the glowing yellow ball emerged from behind the trees and took its rightful place in the sky.

And then he kissed me.  It was everything I hoped it would be and more than I imagined it could be.  As I drove home that night, I called my sister and told her I just met someone very special.

Over the past few weeks our relationship has progressed quickly.  During the first week, we saw each other four out of five nights in a row.  It is different than any other relationship I have had in my adult life, especially in the last ten years.  There is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for having met one another and a sense of optimism for our future.

I often find myself daydreaming about him and planning our life together. And it is more than just thinking about where we will go to dinner on Saturday night or where we will take our first vacation.  I have had thoughts of him proposing to me at the botanical garden where we had our first date and wondering whether that location could accommodate a small wedding party.

For anyone who has read my blog for the last four years, you know these thoughts are completely foreign to me.  And yet, here I am.

It reminds me of when I bought my house, the only other major commitment I have made in my life.  I had this mental checklist of everything I wanted.  As I walked through the house for the first time, I looked in each room and thought to myself "Check. Check. Check..."

On one of our recent dates, he and I were talking about our relationship. He looked at me and said "With you, everything that should be, is."

I think he and I have been waiting a long time to meet someone who could potentially be the One. We are both so excited that we want to write our entire story from beginning to end.

At the same time, it is kind of scary.  When you invest in something so wholeheartedly, there is always a risk that it could go away.  Sometimes I am not sure what is more scary.  The idea that this relationship won't turn out to be as amazing as we think it could be, or the idea that it will!

While it is certainly easy for me to picture a life with this man, I don't want to rush through each of the little moments to get to the big moment at the end, whether it is a proposal, a wedding or maybe even a baby.  I want to let the future unfold, just like the priest said in church on Christmas Eve.

This relationship will be whatever it is meant to be.  If we are not destined to be together, then we can't force it.  And if we are destined to be together, then nothing can stop it.

For now, I am happy living in the moment.  The future will have to wait.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Change of Scenery

I have been on Match.com since the fall and I honestly believe I have looked at every profile within a 50 mile radius of my house.  Even though I have only been on one date with a live person in the past four months, it feels like I have burned through the entire population of single males in my area.  Or at least the ones who are out searching for love on Match.com.

My sister and I are convinced that Detroit is the problem.  We keep telling ourselves that if we lived in another city, it would be easier to meet someone.  So I decided to test that theory.  This month I changed my zip code on Match.com to see if it would be any different.

While I could have "moved" anywhere, I decided to start with something close to home.  Since my other sister lives in Ohio, I changed my location to Akron.  Every time I visit down there it seems like a much happier place.  Plus, I figured that if I did meet someone, there would be a possibility that we could actually start dating.

The first thing I noticed about Ohio is that the guys are really active on Match.  Almost everyone I viewed or winked at immediately viewed my profile.  A few of them even wrote back.  In Michigan, I would view and e-mail tons of guys and never hear anything back.  It was exciting to get such a positive response out in the virtual dating world.

There seems to be an overall sense of politeness that exists in Ohio and does not translate to Michigan, or at least the Detroit area.  The other thing I noticed in reading the profiles and the e-mail messages is that the guys in Ohio seemed to be more sincere in their desire to meet someone.

In Michigan, there is a sense of negativity and/or entitlement in a lot of the profiles. The guys talk about what they don't want in a relationship or what they want for themselves, but they do not seem to focus on things that a girl might want to see in a potential mate.  On the other hand, the guys in Ohio wrote about finding true love and walking hand in hand through life.  There was even one guy who crafted this really amazing short story as part of his profile.

I noticed that changing my zip code also impacted my approach to online dating.  For some reason I was more inclined to take a chance on the guys in Ohio.  Maybe in part because of the really nice things they said in their profiles.  In Michigan, whenever I would see a profile I liked, I would just file it away in my "favorites" and think about whether I wanted to send a note to the guy.  But the Ohio version of me would see a guy I liked and immediately send him a wink to let him know I was interested.

And I was also less judgmental of the guys that wrote to me.  If I got a message from someone who seemed sincere, I would take a minute to write him back even if he was not the exact physical type I was looking for.  Maybe some of that Ohio politeness rubbed off on me.  Although I did not find a love connection in my two weeks on the Ohio dating scene, I did have some really nice conversations with some great guys.

That open minded attitude has trickled down into other areas of my life.  As I have mentioned before, I am in the midst of a mid-life crisis.  Phase 1 seemed to revolve around focusing on all of the choices I have made in life (i.e. not getting married or having a baby) and trying to decide if I should have done things differently.

It seems that I have entered into Phase 2 of my mid-life crisis.  Instead of pressuring myself about all of the choices I didn't make, I have a very strong urge to go out and try as many new things as I can before its too late.  Let's just say that I am now starting to understand why men go out and buy that brand new red sports car.

So I guess the question is how to translate my new found curiosity into my everyday life.  One thing that jumps out at me is to stop telling myself why I cannot or should not do things.  Whether it is writing a script for a new Hallmark movie or writing to that cute guy on Match.com.

I have spent way too much time listening to my logical self.  In fact, she has gotten to make most of the decisions since I was about 21 years old.  I would like to spend some time getting to know my emotional self.  I think she and I are going to have a lot of fun this spring.

Today, the Match.com version of me moved back to Michigan.  It is good to be home.  I feel like I am more willing to take chances and hopefully that will bring me one step closer to finding my true love, wherever he may be.