Lonely & Happy in NYC

This weekend I was in New York City for a short 48 hours after a conference nearby. I was traveling alone aka not my favorite way to travel. I woke up anxious. I left the Airbnb in search for breakfast and a {non-dairy} chai latte feeling lonely. I ate breakfast alone. I walked to the park alone. I felt alone regretting my choice to travel to NYC solo.

And then, I walked into the Brooklyn Botanic Garden & It. Was. Magical. The cherry blossoms at the entrance were blooming. I started the day lonely and anxious, but as soon as I saw the pink petals blowing in the wind and carpeting the ground, I had a smile on my face.

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The day continued that way…

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The One-Hour First Date

I’m about to embark on my 4th first date in as many days, thanks in part to the great social experiment of 2018 (version 2.0).

First dates are exhausting, especially when you are definitely NOT a match with someone and you know within the first 5 seconds of meeting him. Not only is it the prep time before the date, but the date itself can last hours if you’re not careful. Side bar: This also means I’m advocating for setting up the first date ASAP so you’re not wasting too much time in anticipation.

One time, I was on a date with someone I really didn’t want to be on a date with (and to answer the question you’re probably asking: I thought I wanted to be on the date with him before the date, but not after we actually met and started talking #nofire). We had our obligatory one drink, and as soon as I took my last gulp, he asked if I wanted another round. I turned to the window and it immediately started pouring down rain. Buckets, I tell you! “Sure, I’ll stay for another!” It certainly gave him the wrong impression since he texted me afterwards asking for another date, but I had walked there and was potentially without an umbrella.

So, what if instead of me relenting, a giant buzzer had sounded after 1 hour? Like an extended speed date.

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The Heart of the Heart

Recently, I met a boy. Huge shocker that I’m writing about it, yes, I know. This time, though, something different has happened. Our first date was pretty great; we met for drinks and stayed until the bar closed. Both of us knew – because we both said it out loud later – that the chemistry between us was unlike something we’d felt in a long time. And I don’t mean just physical chemistry. I mean the kind of chemistry that when he would talk, I would listen; he would get my full attention; we didn’t need phones or drinks or anything else to make the conversation work with ease.

I’ve written before about what I’m looking for in a mate, and after multiple years and multiple dating articles both read and written, I think my former list was rather shallow. Or maybe instead of shallow, it was incomplete. It didn’t get to the heart of the heart.

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4. Be prepared for the tests.

After brunching with some girlfriends recently, one of them sent me an article titled “How to Manifest Your Dream Relationship” in response to the topic we always find ourselves talking about: men. Mainly, the never-ending stream of weird men in my life because both of these lovely ladies have lovely men in their lives who don’t do or say weird shit.

As I read through the the list, #1 & #2 were easily checked off.

  1. Know your worth – check. My family, friends, and therapist help keep me grounded on this one.
  2. Know what you want – and also what you don’t – check. I’ve talked about it in a blog post about my Top 5 “Most Wanted List” and I’ve been on enough dates to know what’s right for me and what’s not, despite being admittedly bad at sticking by that wisdom.
  3. Think small. This is hard for me because I always write a story in my head (and sometimes on my computer) about the guys I meet. But, I will confess, I am working on this. My big project is no longer “getting married”, but a bite-sized chew of “move to Oak Park and find a man who’s okay with that”.

The real epiphany happened when I read #4: Be prepared for the tests.

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Adulting: Buying a Condo, Part III: …in the SUBURBS

I love Chicago. It took me a few years, a bunch of new friends, and multiple jobs I enjoy for me to like it, but I have learned to love this city. With its cultural sites, multitude of parks, plethora of exciting restaurants, and never-ending new bar scene, Chicago is pretty great. Yet, when I decided it was time to buy a condo, Oak Park was my #1 choice. There are multiple reasons why OP seems to be the place for me at this time in my life, and the biggest one is I wanted a community (i.e. a place I could call home, a vibing yoga scene, good schools for my future children, friends nearby, and so on).

At the same time that I’m excited to move to Oak Park, I’m also sad as can be to leave Chicago. I know it’s not far – technically 10 minutes by train! I admit I have stated on many occasions how much I disdain the suburbs. But, OP is cool, I promise! Sure, there are a few chain restaurants that end in an ‘s, but not very many! And there’s a booming downtown with nary a strip mall in sight. There’s a restaurant scene, and a bar scene, and (hopefully!) a singles’ scene. So while I loathe the suburbs, I don’t think of Oak Park as a suburb – it’s more like an extension of Chicago. A sparkly, expensive, pretty extension of Chicago.

And while it’s not far from the city (it even touches Chicago!!), it’ll be a little trickier to go to all of the places I really like here on a regular basis. So, I’ve made a Chicago bucket list! I leave Chicago in just over a month, so let me know if you want to join me in saying “See you soon! It’s not forever! I promise I’ll be back real soon!” at one of these places.

Continue reading Adulting: Buying a Condo, Part III: …in the SUBURBS

Taking Chicago by storm…one date, one yoga class, one salsa lesson, one blog post, one trip, one drink, one meal, one new friendship at a time.