As my milestone birthday approached, several friends questioned me as to how I wanted to celebrate. A large party really isn’t my style, so I suggested a few small dinner parties with various groups of friends. That’s exactly what came to pass; with one very special party I gave myself as a gift- dinner with family and friends in Ohio.
It seemed like a good idea to celebrate a milestone where it all started. Having New York in my blood since 1990, one thing hasn’t changed- you can take the boy out of Ohio, but never the Ohio out of the boy.
Returning to Ohio is always a personal recharge for me, and this trip was no exception. Seeing friends from high school reminded me how fortunate I am to have the childhood and high school years I was blessed to experience. Seeing my parents in Ohio was a bonus because they were visiting the Buckeye State too. Celebrating my milestone with these people meant the world, as their presence in my daily life was pretty slim outside of Facebook and phone calls. It really was the best self-present ever.
But when it comes to a present-present, any self-respecting New Yorker from Ohio won’t leave the Buckeye State without buying some Ohio State gear. I already purchased some shirts and a great new cap, but there’s always room in the suitcase for one more Ohio State something, so I stopped at one last mall before driving East. As I walked out with my shopping bag, I spotted a local coffee shop that needed to be visited.
Little did I know that I was about to get more than a cup of coffee.
Seems that another man was also in the mood for a coffee, and we walked in together. We traded smiles, and I noticed that there was no wedding ring. I was totally smitten, and I could tell he was checking me out, too. He ordered his beverage, then nodded towards me and said to the clerk, “and whatever he’s having.”
Of course I was obligated to thank him for the coffee, and very much wanted to do so. He asked me to join him, which I was sort of obligated to and very, very much wanted to do.
About ninety minutes, several laughs, and the discovery of many things in common later, I was 100% hooked on this fellow caffeine addict. It was as if time stopped and dropped me in a place where I was supposed to be. The lucky part was that my unexpected coffee date felt the exact same way. We both were single, both were looking for a relationship, and both had a hankering for an afternoon dark roasted coffee treat.
The 91st minute brought me back to reality- I just met an incredible man that exceeds every expectation regarding a future partner. I just experienced what was one of the best dates ever, and it was one that I didn’t even plan. And the incredible man just happens to live in the Buckeye State. And you know what? I didn’t give a damn where this man lives; all that mattered was the moment and that I was sharing it with him.
As I got into my car and started driving East, I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. From start to finish, my birthday pilgrimage to the “motherland” was more incredible than I ever imagined. I wasn’t across the State Line when I received a call from my Buckeye just to check in and see how the drive was going. He reiterated how much fun he had with me, and that there would be a second date without doubt. Of course I would have been delighted at the prospect of a second date the next day, but that wasn’t in the cards. Disappointing yes, but it was impossible to be sad because of the unexpected card I was dealt today.
With one lucky deal from the deck, a Tasty Buckeye was officially in my world.
I have a lot of friends currently in the dating scene, and at times they get very frustrated over bad dates, good dates that don’t like them back, or no dates at all. I’m in the same boat, and I can tell you with 100% honesty that dating is work. Dating can also be disappointing and frustrating. The key to success in the world of dating is simply not to give up… and to keep your eyes on the prize regardless of the “now”.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in finding the perfect date that when one just happens to appear, we’re too preoccupied to see what’s in front of us.
When it came to celebrating my birthday, it was a grand slam of perfection. I was more than happy with seeing the people I got to see and I was even fortunate to get a couple amazing gifts too. But perhaps the standout gift was the one that had no price tag. It’s the gift that can’t be found at Williams-Sonoma or Bloomingdales.com.
I received the gift of chance.
Gifts of chance can happen anywhere, and as daters we need to remain open to all opportunities- even the unexpected ones. Especially the unexpected ones! Granted (like in my situation with the Buckeye) unexpected dating can be messy and perhaps problematic distance-wise, but can also provide you with a feeling like no other. Is it worth riding out to see were it goes? I believe so, and time will tell.
Keep those eyes open, and your heart as well. You never know when you’ll get an unexpected serving of something magical.