Felt Like Fall

The past two days it was cool, grey, and breezy out.

You’d think the leaves were changing, but everything was bright green.

The whole world felt like Fall, but it’s only just Spring.

Other than the weather, there was nothing special about my happenings.

Let’s start with Britt – she had just left for Ethiopia and we had barely gotten her the airport on time Monday afternoon after getting caught in rush hour traffic.  She damn near had a panic attack driving back to her apartment when she realized she had forgotten the business cards her department had made her specifically for the trip and we only had an hour and a half before take off.  I’d already driven us halfway there, but something in my gut told me I could get her home and back again by 6:30pm.  We made it 6:33pm, after coming from her place in 22 minutes flat.  It was a new record even for me, and she could not thank me enough – even when I went in to help her check in so she could go pee.

I stayed up late that night watching TV, much as I usually do when the girl I love leaves.  When I finally turned Friday Night Lights off my PS3 Netflix, it was about 5:30 in the morning and the only reason I stopped was because I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  This seems to happen anytime I feel my heart tugged at with some great distance amounting.  When I got comfortable, I slept like the happiest kid in the world other than two nights prior when Britt had returned from Vegas and we had the most amazing night together.

Tuesday morning I slept in until about 10am before making sure Michelle still wanted to go for a bike ride at Gallup Park.  The clouds were heavy, the wind was up, and I had pulled the blankets tight in the cold that came overnight.  After some back & forth deliberation, we decided to stick to our plans with only a slight delay other than my own tardiness.  She actually thought I might not be coming when I was already halfway there, at which point I sent her a very disgruntled selfie from my bike.  The best part came fifteen minutes later when I had to hop the tall Amtrak fence in order to get into the park for a quick shortcut.

We biked downriver to the Dixboro Dam which I had never visited, as far as memory goes.  It was the perfect amount of biking for us, only a couple miles, especially Michelle who is still somewhat learning ever since she taught herself to bike ride at the age of fifteen.  And I thought Britt’s inability to swim was bad… looks like I have some volunteer service to do!

On the way back to her SUV, we stopped at a bench overlooking the river and rested a bit.  She placed her head, helmet and all, resting against my left leg as we talked about life and relationships.  I explained to her, much like I had to Devin & Alex at lunch a week prior, that the main reason I was staying with Britt had to do with being happy at the end of the day despite all that we’ve been through.  She’s potentially hurt me way more, but I’m also way more forgiving – one of my newly discovered flaws as close friends ask me what I’m still doing attached to Britt.  All of them have expressed they’d given up on her long ago.

The truth is we all have our issues and shortcomings.  Mine happen to be very fixable, but I think it will be a long time before Britt gets over thinking she was ready to settle down… then having the ground pulled out from under her.  Talk about a devastating drop and a long way to fall from even if it was well over a year ago now.  My selfish move in Chicago didn’t help her healing although it gave her perspective on what she’d done to me in D.C.

Tuesday night included an extensively emotional talk with Nic, possessing some very high highs and low lows.  He got so upset with me over the possibility of me cuddling Michelle that he compared it to the guy that got Chelsea to cheat on him.  Then he went on to say he didn’t like me right now and he wasn’t talking to me anymore.  You could have cut this sort of judgment and tension with a crummy plastic knife.  However, after he threw me a bone about how he probably doesn’t understand Ann Arbor folk, I explained that indeed many of my friends & I had very affectionate or intimate interactions that were strictly platonic.

We finally got our $1 burgers after getting about three drinks deep, embellishing in the happy hour specials and soon sharing some inappropriately loud laughs again.  You could tell we were those guys having more fun than everyone, or as Nic likes to say, “Cheers!”  Matter of fact, he will tell you himself that he calls that place his very own Cheers, and I can attest he knows the bartenders as well as the cast of the show knew each other.  I’m a lucky guy to call Nic my dear friend that has yet to ever grow sick of me, unlike others, lol

After asking Nic if he had plans that night, and explaining it had been my intention to kidnap him, he told me his buddy & him had gaming plans that would be hard to change.  And also, he said that he didn’t want to get driven out into the woods and die tonight.  Where else can you find someone with a sense of humor like that??  I totally love this guy.  So after some spontaneous rethinking, I suggested that he let me take him to the surprise I had in mind for just an hour and then I’d drive his broken-foot-ass home by 9pm.

While on the way, him hobbling along, he guessed that we were going to Live, which he has very openly hated patronizing in the past.  However, on this particular night, it was the 2nd ever Open Stage event they were throwing and we both have a love for music.  Of course the drink on special was 16oz Johhny Appleseed (hard cider) which we both indulged more in the special price of $3 each.  Soon I would learn that Nic’s new “girlfriend” would be very insecure about his outing to Live with the misgiving that it was like any other grinding night – which evidently fueled her jealousy issues & insecurities, thus starting a passive fight between them.

Before we even got to my car, Nic was venting full steam ahead on the text conversation they were having and sharing his frustration.  At first it didn’t make sense to me, but then I found out the whole context & story which made it very clear she was over-analyzing… and all of the sudden I was taken back to dating Kaitlin and the exact same shit she did.  Once I started telling Nic about my previous experience in this department, a sensation of satisfied relief built up in me.  Especially as we sat outside his apartment for a further half hour hashing out his text conversation and other ones that had been.  There was a moment I realized how lucky I am now, and how far I have come from the drama I once endured.

Once I got back to Live, I ran into some new friends and chatted it up with them for a bit.  It’s amazing how many people I’ve met these past few months, and it really has become important to embrace and nourish the ones that mean the most to me, including the old.  Yet at the same time I’m trying to open up existing ones, and so later I suddenly asked Olivia how you know whether someone is cheating on your or not and the discussion that followed totally opened my eyes.

“Why does it matter if she’s sleeping with someone else?” she asked, given that Britt & I still aren’t official (although all actions would speak otherwise, haha).  Chris chimed in on this approach as well, affirming that it shouldn’t matter.  What was funny is that this made sense to me without them properly explaining it.  They kept saying, “Well it should either be all or nothing – none of this non-committal bullshit.”  However if we are exclusive and promise to tell each other as soon as we’re not, and it doesn’t look like that’s coming up anytime soon after what has happened in the past, then maybe it’s ok to have feels and not normalize it like everyone else.  Perhaps it works for us and that is all that really matters.

Sometimes you just gotta do what makes sense to you, and not worry about everyone else.

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Down Heartbroken Lane Again

Here’s how it is: Hannah is one of the greatest friends I could ever ask for and this must never be forgotten no matter how much space or time separates us.  Like tonight, when she was my saving grace for not losing my mind over yet another break up that broke my heart into pieces again.  And it was too late to call anyone else except Kris who was on the line with Britt before I decided to call her and sounded ready for bed anyway, unwilling or unsure of what to say to make me feel better.  But Hannah, holy cow, is simply amazing.

Here’s basically what Britt said: “I just feel in my gut like this isn’t going to work out… like we aren’t meant to be together.”  Congratulations Lettie, the karmic universe decided to play on your team after what I put you through.  I guess I deserve it, right?  This is what happens when you think that life is totally in your control and the cards are countable.  Well guess what, they’re not.  You can’t cheat – literally, figuratively, metaphorically…

I’m in a boat where if I ever do wrong by someone, whether incidental or not, the universe comes around to slap me in the face.  Have I finally learned this lesson yet?  Probably not…

And that’s life.  You make mistakes and then do the best you can to make up for them but sometimes you get put through the shit someone else went through so you can fully appreciate just how much it hurt them.  In this case I traded shoes with Lettie and right off the bat got “cheated” on, felt worthless, then not good enough, and finally was told that I’m not over my ex-girlfriend because there’s no way that is possible this soon.  Well thanks Britt for truly opening up my eyes to fully understanding the shit I put Lettie through.

There’s a silver lining though – if Australia failed because of Britt then I’d resent her later.  Perhaps she realizes this better than I and is doing me a favor after my confession last week about being tired of not being good enough for certain girls – namely my exes but we already know all about that… well at least me and my closest friends do if it’s not written…

And to be honest, part of me is relieved since now I can guiltlessly pursue my dream.
Maybe Britt knows that she isn’t right for me now, despite her own feelings of not being ready to date after what she’s been through the past year.  I was the only exception, and she gave it a fighting chance from the get-go after caving on, “we’re just gonna be friends.”  The flame was undeniable and everything came scarily easy for us to the point we would both openly admit how it weirded us out from time to time.  Whether subconsciously saying things in unison, having the same thought at the same moment, or liking literally just about everything exactly the same, we were a match made for the books.  True love.

This break up makes sense though – we got started on the wrong foot, had a huge trust fall out in less than a month of hooking up, began to heatedly argue in the past week, and to be honest there were times I looked at her and wondered, “Is this really what I want forever?”  When you make it through 28 years of my life, half of which have experienced heart break, you begin to see things through what I like to call “forever binoculars” especially when it’s concerning a woman you start to think maybe you could spend the rest of your life with…

Which leads to the last thing she will have said to me for what will be a while: “I know, Nick. I agree. I just don’t think it was right, at least right now. I’m sorry, I really truly am.”

The funny thing though?  The first thing her Dad said when she told him we were officially dating was, “Well don’t break his heart Britt.”  And he was by far one of the coolest fucking Dads I have ever met in all my years of dating and meeting the parents.  He even did a near perfect Yoda impersonation like me, and I was there to experience it and do one back.  That was before we even officially dated, when she still called me her “best friend” who was the first guy she’d brought home since her 3 year long ex-boyfriend.  Funny how she & I only lasted 3 weeks, not even, before shit hit the fan and left us both feeling like shit.

Seriously this will all be for the best though – Kris said it; Hannah eluded to it after hearing all the red flags I told her with my crash course on Nick&Britt; and honestly I do believe it even now, a mere few hours after the fact.  Things happen for a reason, and Britt is doing me a service by throwing in the towel decisively now rather than breaking our hearts later.  That’s how it is: things happen for a reason.  I was meant to meet her and go through this.  It just sucks to fall in love so hopelessly only to have the one you love take it away from under your feet because they didn’t tell you their gut was saying otherwise.

Still, I’m in a better place now.  I can focus on Australia again, an adventure coursing through my veins that I swear is begging me to come.  Call it intuition, call it fate, call it what you will but it just seems so universally right for me to go down under and take flight.  So here we go back to achieving one last dream and desperately trying to make it happen.

Australia or bust ~

Yukon Ho!

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When I fall like this it is always fast and hard,
whether we’re talking science or just my heart,
either way I lose control once it begins,
and try as I might my head never wins,

Some wear their heart on their sleeve,
others guard it under strict lock & key,
yet when it comes to you I can’t believe,
just how much your soul overtakes me,

Any other guy would be running for dear life,
afraid of your deep dark secrets or past strife,
my eyebrows furrow not from what you’ve done,
but because in the end I can’t fight the force,

This force seldom reckoned with for the fear,
the fear of losing even when we keep winning,
how do you explain an emotion you can’t see?
No tears to cry or smiles to pin this feeling,

No this feeling and force defies all logic & reason,
a free fall that was never really even a decision,
once it takes hold with roots so vast and scary,
I cannot stop this heart falling into your gravity.

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Someday I’ll Fly

You know those moments of inspiration that move you to aggressively pursue your dreams?

Well to no surprise, for those of you who know me, I just had one with John Mayer.  Yep, that guy.

See I’ve always thought of Australia as this faraway land that was full of mystery and legends… a place that few have travelled but many have marveled.  A land down under that goes down to the very roots of human origins, perhaps.  That theory is still being debated with Africa, if you know what I mean.  And I’m always having a debate with people about how John Mayer is one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever seen live despite his often despised reputation.  Players gonna play, ain’t that right Taylor Swift?  Naw I’m just playing… seewhatididthere

Swift is onto something though – just shake it off.  People are always going to doubt your crazy adventure ideas and you know what?  I’m just gonna let it all shake off my shoulders and roll off my back for now.  In life we have choices.  I’m making the choice to pursue my dream.  Is it somewhat open-ended?  Sure.  Do I know exactly what I’m going to do when I get there?  Not really, but it’s always been a dream to go.  Should you chase yours dreams down and make them happen no matter what?  Absolutely.

Here’s why – you’ve got this one life to live to its fullest and do everything you’ve ever wanted to do.

So don’t waste it.

It’s just that simple.
Be ambitious.
Be courageous.
Be daring & intrepid and all those wonderful synonyms for adventurous.

Be the person you were meant to be – you are the master of your fate; you are the captain of your soul.  So what’s stopping you from pursuing those dreams?
Well let’s be honest, it all comes back to you and your decisions.

Choose to do what you want with your life and choose it decisively.  It can’t always be wisely, because frankly we all make mistakes no matter how old we get (and sometimes the same ones), but it can always be with conviction.

This is your lifeand it’s your time to take the reins.

Back to my bromantic moment with John Mayer – Someday I’ll Fly

What I realized is that back in high school, one of my first CDs I ever bought was this Room For Squares.  It totally blew my frickin’ mind at the time – the melodies, lyrics, vocals; it all connected to me and was relatable to all.  I’ll never forget the first time I excitedly brought it over to my brother’s college apartment and played it for him and his girlfriend – she loved it instantly.  Everything about it was catchy, and by that point I knew how to explain what made it so fan-frickin-tabulous.  Best of all was that it played like different chapters of a book you could read over and over and over again.  Hell, that’s the first CD I played so many times that it began to skip without scratches.

So the story continues throughout high school, where my senior year his next album came out in what felt like record time to me and it was even better than the first.  That’s when I really started to proclaim my love for JM, and to this day my high school friends still make fun of me for it.  Rightfully so, I suppose, being a guy and all, but what I’d sensed was a guy who took something he loved and made the most interesting music that I’d ever listened to in not just one hit wonders but incredible story-like albums.  When I heard Bigger Than My Body for the first time I was just floored; and that was immediately proceeding this admiration and fascination for Clarity.

These songs speak volumes to me though, and he is the only artist to have that effect with so many of his songs.  It has reminded me of my younger self, an iPod full of his music I’d seem to have forgotten.  My very own roots and dreams all right there.

It’s been a long time since then, or since twenty two, so I’ll leave you off with this personal favorite: Who Says

Note to future self: tonight was a defining moment for you and totally worth staying up until 3:30am

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The Spectacular Now

There are few movies that capture much of what I thought high school was like and what I wished it was like.  See, there was so much of me that wanted a serious girlfriend in high school for the longest time.  My friends grew sick of me whining about wanting a long-term relationship to the point that they didn’t want to hang out for a while.  Can’t say I blame them, but then again they never seemed to understand me longing for more.  Everyone else was just focused on sex – but I had a girl in Tecumseh I was waiting on so there was no rush to figure out my match.  What’s this got to do with the movie you say?  Well not much actually, other than here was another film that took me back to my late teenage youth and all the crap I was dealing with when all I wanted was a girl like Aimee (played by Shailene Woodley).  Like holy cow, I dreamed of finding a nerdy but nice and absolutely beautiful girl like her.

And for the record, any high schooler who puts lawn chairs in a kitty pool with tiny squirt guns to cool each other off is a genius.  That’s freakin’ genius, I wish I had thought of that back then.  You really should see this movie to see what I’m talking about.

Oh and for the record Shailene, if you’re out there and ever read this, I actually do think you are stunning and find myself blown away by your performances in everything you do.  Please come out to chill in Ann Arbor anytime, I think you’d like it here.

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Too Old For This Sh*t

I’m officially 26 and at a friend’s house hoping for the same surprise I wish for every year. Y’know… that thing you get on your birthday that rocks your world. Blame it on the sappy romantic inside of me – or trashy novel if you will – but I’ve always wished that I’d have a girl by my side on this night of all nights. Not even to mess around per se, just to keep me company and wrap her arms around me affectionately.

See the couch I’m crashing on right now is probably just as comfortable as the bed of my female friend, but she refuses to share her space tonight. And I respect that, especially with the talk we had about her “boyfriend” of six months who would surely get upset if he heard about us cuddling. Moreover, there’s a specific caliber of friend you can pull off platonic snuggling with and frankly I compromised that when I started dating Lettie. Now I have no one again, and my feelings grow for my other best friend whose a girl I dated.

Perhaps part of me has always felt the need to be completed by a girl because my friends had such an easy time dating while I always quickly got dumped. It seemed like I was never attractive or witty enough to capture the attention of girls I had these huge crushes on, like Kristina Thompson, Ariel Grossuesch, Karen Carmichael, and pretty much every Katie I’ve ever met. There truly is something about girls with “K” names that mystifies me and everybody else who attempts to keep track of the girls I date. Even now, with Kristine, it seems I can’t be satisfied…

What’s hard is that I’m trying to get my shit together before I put myself out there again. I’ve spent countless nights partying this past year and making new friend’s while meeting new girls. Yet in the end I always want every girl to have a crush on me too, and see what could happen. But this sort of thing doesn’t exist in the real world, despite how much I read about it or romanticize the idea. Besides, with marriage and kids on the horizon, I really am getting too old for this shit.

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Return To The Windy City

Here I am again catching myself doing the exact same thing I did the last time I was in Chicago. For some reason I’m convinced I’ll run into her randomly on the street. I’m sure the odds are astronomically high but nonetheless my eyes wander from face to face. Hell I even look across the street sometimes when I think I see that “special” brunette hair.

See I’m not hung up or heartbroken on her – although she was the leading reason I’ve felt “lost” the past three years – but my guess is I want some sort of positive closure. Even if I have this delusion of such a thing, especially because I broke up with her, I hate feeling like the bad guy. It’s hard to know there is a girl out there who I gave so much to and now she probably just says bad things about me much as I have told friends all this crap about her.

What bothers me most though is that I can’t seem to enjoy Chicago to its fullest anymore, afraid we might have a run-in. She’ll tell me she’s married and successful and blah blah blah so that once the spotlight is on me all I will want to say is, “I’m happy, which matters most to me. Nice seeing ya.”. Frankly the only interest I’d have reconnecting with her would be to make her want me back. Or that I was right.

So here I am in a little bit of a funk since I can’t seem to just relax and let it all go. Who cares if I’m still trying to sort out my life and get it on track? Sure I’d love to have been in Chi-town by now, living it up in Wrigleyville, but destiny has a way of working things out the way they were meant to be – and I’m in no position to argue with how happy I still am with my twentysomethings spent in Ann Arbor thus far.

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