Finding Beauty In A World of Gray

Whoa. It's been a while since I've written a blog post. This time of year is so bleak; I get swept up in it and spend too much time dreaming of warmer days rather than living in the moment. January and February are admittedly my least favorite months. It seems like the world has no color, the sun seldom shines, and days spent outside are some kind of faraway dream.

This part of winter just sucks.

But... there's also something about it that makes us think of bigger things. Fantasize about warmer days. There is this hope that comes in the spring, when the world starts to thaw and bloom and breathe.

I've been completely lost in my own thoughts lately, to the point that when I'm driving I've completely passed my destination, I've spent almost an hour wandering the grocery store only to leave with one thing (wine, usually), and today I accidentally maced myself. Yeah. That actually happened.

Life is so funny, how it unfolds itself to us. I remember being in 12th grade English class, with everyone talking excitedly about graduation and college. One week early in the year, the guidance counselor set up a desk outside the door and called us out one by one, to talk about college plans, what we wanted to major in, what we wanted to do with our future.

I had no clue. I knew I wanted to go to Ohio State. Major? Yeah right. Absolutely no idea. It seemed like everyone else knew... they wanted to be a teacher, or a physical therapist, or an attorney. I felt like some kind of freak, like I was the only one who didn't know.

But life unfolded for me the way it was supposed to, and after a wild few years of bartending after college, then a miserable few years of a desk job following that, I am where I'm supposed to be. I found my way. And we all do somehow. We just have to trust our instincts, keep moving forward, keep doing what feels right in the moment. In the end it will lead us where we are supposed to be.

Finding love seems to be unfolding the same way for me... an unknown journey that differs from everyone else's.

I thought a lot about that while wandering through Three Creeks Metropark today. After weeks of being buried in snow, temperatures warmed up this week, everything started to melt, and once again we could see the grass. Today the weather called for 55 and sunny. My cabin fever was seriously at fever-pitch. Time for one of the mini adventures that I live for in the warmer months.

three creeks metro park winter ohio

There's still snow and ice. There's mud everywhere. The landscape is a muted mix of brown and gray. But today the air smelled sweet and the sun felt magical. I started walking with no map, purposely getting lost, and felt like I could breathe again.


three creeks metro park winter ohio

I've never dangled my feet off of a dock over a frozen lake. Lately I have these dreams about sitting on the end of a dock with someone, a man. We are dipping our feet in icy water, and the sky above us is just exploding with stars. I have no idea who he is, but in the dream, I am head over heels in love with him.


three creeks metro park winter ohio


three creeks metro park winter ohio


three creeks metro park winter ohio

No one else was braving the muddy and often flooded unpaved trails but me (story of my life haha), and the complete solitude of being the only human being in the woods was energizing. Good thing I wore boots, because the mud was not messing around.


three creeks metro park winter ohio

At one point I crossed a bridge, and there was a couple standing on it together. Hugging so tight that you couldn't fit a piece of paper between them. Just looking out at the water, the muddy, gross brown water, and smiling. They matched my thoughts. I wanted that. I wanted to be doing the same thing with someone. I almost asked to take their picture, but felt shy about it and didn't want to seem like a creeper.


three creeks metro park winter ohio


three creeks metro park winter ohio

I probably stared at this frozen puddle for ten minutes. Good thing no one else was around to call the men in white coats. It just looked like a weird martian world or something. It was beautiful.


three creeks metro park winter ohio


three creeks metro park winter ohio

Little moments, frozen in time. Kind of like memories.


three creeks metro park winter ohio

Finding love has never been my forte. Pretty much any situation that even somewhat resembles a relationship that I get into results in disaster. After this happened a few too many times for my liking, I just gave up on it. I wanted to find myself, my purpose in this random world that we are all living in. No time for anyone else.

I always think back to high school. I swear half of my graduating class married each other. All the people who told the guidance counselor with such affirmation what they wanted to do with their lives, at age 18. They had jobs two months after graduating college, were married a year after that, and had kids a year later. At age 25, so many people were settled into a one-way track that was never going to deviate.

I never wanted that.

But it's funny... Now that I have figured out what I want to be doing, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's the right thing, I want someone to share it with.

I was seeing this guy for a while. I guess that's what it's called. Seeing. (Remember I'm not good at this.) From the very beginning, I felt hesitant to go all-in. Spending time with him was great and he was warming me up to all of these ideas that I had previously locked up and threw away the key. But there was something holding me back.

Turns out there was a very solid reason, a very solid something, causing those feelings... which I found out about months after we had been seeing each other. It was something that made me realize what I was, what I wasn't, and what I probably never would be to him. But after finding that out, and after three days of misery, a steady diet of nothing but wine, and blasting November Rain (it happened in November) on repeat, I sent a text. And we kept on seeing each other.

Sometimes you just have to do what feels good. Even if it doesn't make sense. If it feels good, just go with it. Just be sure to keep an open mind and pay attention.

And again, life has unfolded in the weird, mysterious way it always seems to for me. Because now I have realized that I want more. All of the things I have sworn off in the past: putting all of your faith into one person, opening up to someone unabashedly, letting someone pay for my dinner. I want that. I want a partner in crime. Someone to go on random adventures with, whether that be hikes in the mud or a random trip to Belize. I want someone who I will fight fiercely for, and he will do the same for me. Someone to talk about everything and nothing with. Someone to walk to the edge of the world for. Someone to travel with world with.

Am I jumping on in order to expedite this process immediately? No way. But the fact that my mind is now open to letting someone inside has already made the world even more exciting. Maybe I'll go to the store and find love in the frozen food section. Who knows. I think my mom is even more excited about this idea than I am. We are going on a cruise together in April and she said, "Maybe you will find him on the ship!" That would be awesome. Because I want a story. It's amazing to me that someone could be out there right now, and we are living not knowing that each other exists.

I keep seeing the ice and snow melting as this big metaphoric thing.

Also... the recent passing of Valentine's Day and seeing a romantic love story with my friend Lizzie (we have a Valentine's Day tradition - we spend it together) has only fueled the fire to these feelings. And now spring is coming?? I am completely swept up in the thoughts of a reckless summer love. Even if it ends in disaster. I just want to try. 

There's this song called San Francisco by a band called The Mowgli's, and it starts out like this:

I've been in love with love
And the idea of something
Binding us together
You know that love is strong enough
And I've seen time tell tales 
about that systematic drug
Yeah, that heart that beats as one
It's collectively, unconsciously composed.

That's exactly how I am feeling right now. 25 days until spring, and I could not be more excited about what lies ahead.


I don't know you Jen, but

I don't know you Jen, but never have I read a more well written blog post. It reads like a novel. I want to know the end! Your photographs are like magical illustrations (by the way, am I the only one who sees a deformed "hand" coming out of the water in your frozen puddle pic hoping you'll pull him or it up into spring)?! I truly hope you find the love you are now ready to receive. You clearly deserve it. Best wishes.

Thank you so, so much Marie.

Thank you so, so much Marie. Sometimes when I try to articulate my thoughts and feelings, it just seems like a hot mess that no one can understand, let alone relate to. I think that's why I have been so bad about blogging lately. Your words mean the world to me. And about the weird hand - YES!!! There is actually another photo that I didn't include because there is a shadow on a tree that looks like this weird scary gnome thing!! I love that you see things like that in photos too :) And thank you for your wishes. If I do find love, you can expect a terribly cheesy blog post about it :)

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faraway dream

I like to joke that since I live in the Pacific Northwest, the only seasons I feel are winter and August. It's true; it's gray 98% of the time where we live. It's no wonder that many people who live here suffer from depression or seasonal affective disorder throughout much of the year. Dubai Classifieds

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