Straight from NY to Paradise Turns 5! -Happy Bloganniversary

Happy 5th Birthday! If my blog was a child I would be getting ready for it to start kindergarten. Awww blog you have grew up so fast (insert mommy tears).

Life happens quick, sometimes too quick for me. I constantly think about writing daily, however everyday I find an excuse not to write. Time goes by and life continues to happen, and still I feel like nothing gets done. I finally sat down and decided to write today, finally I am writing!

After months of procrastinating and sitting in that endless pile of overwhelm, I decided to turn to what I know and write. It comes with great irony that I picked this month to return to writing. Word Press has been so kind as to acknowledge that I have reached my 5 year blogging anniversary! It is really hard to believe that it has been a whole 5 years since I have started blogging.

In the last 5 years my life has taken more twists and turns than I could ever imagine, emotionally I feel that I have been through it all. But yes you are correct Word Press, I have reached my 5 year blogging milestone. 5 years ago Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day was given life, and my own personal life was given a voice. I had a story to tell, I wanted to tell it. I wanted to inspire others not to be afraid of change, not to be afraid of living, just live. Life happens and life changes so go with it.0171.jpg

I really want to laugh and cry as I write this. I think back on the girl I was 5 years ago, I was single and fierce! Fresh out of a roller coaster of a relationship, still in love with the man who was my past, but ready to start a new phase of life as a free spirit and face the future.  I was ready to take on the world, unstoppable in a sense, but I quickly learned that I could be stopped. The world does not exist for you to live in it alone, it is out there for you to share, to embrace with others, to help others, and sometimes even get help from others. In August of 2009 I had been living in Honolulu for 6 months. And to tell you the truth, I was very much alone. I was still confused about my impulsive decision to move to the other side of the world, and even though I had met a few people, I had a very real fear that if I died no one would notice. The feeling that I would go unnoticed was scary, adding that to a sense of uncertainty about my job, my life, and what to do next, I was really mess of emotions, with anxiety and self-doubt leading the pack.

Yes I was single and fierce, but really I was alone.  Lucky for me I quickly discovered that I was not the only mainland escapee that have flown themselves over to an island in the middle of the pacific to get away from….well everything. I found a love of activity and a love of new friendships. Over the last 5 years, my biggest accomplishment was basically proving to myself that I can live. No matter how depressed I am, how lonely I am, and how much I just want to disappear, I know that I can live, and life always gets better. I think I may have forgotten that lately with the chaos of everyday life back on the mainland. I experienced life in Hawaii for a reason. I experienced being completely on my own for a reason. My next lesson to myself is always to remember those reasons, life is meant to live on purpose, and everyday is a new opportunity to fulfill that purpose.

 

In 2009 I was 27, single, impulsive, and extremely naive. In 2014, I am 31, in a relationship (no not married, sorry), less impulsive, more aware, and slightly more responsible. At 27 I just wanted to run away. At 31, I’ll admit I still want to run sometimes, but I will try a bit harder to stay, to work through it, and always keep in mind that with each day life will keep getting better.

So 5 years later, what did I really learn? In Honolulu I found a love of nature. A hike, a run, or  the view of the mountains as the sun wakes you up is the epitome of everything calm, and the most powerful way to ensure that you will have a good day. I learned to love to push myself. No matter if it was at work, in the gym, or running a race, I knew I could always go harder, do better, and motivate myself to never give up. I learned to appreciate yoga, I really miss the easy access to the yoga studios that are located on every corner. I learned that I am a survivor, life is lived with challenges, now I know that I can overcome every one that comes my way. I learned that I hate dating. I would never want to date in Honolulu again! I learned that I really do miss people when they leave, goodbyes are hard, I hate them almost as much as dating.

Finally, I learned to appreciate the kindness of strangers. When I moved to Honolulu, I knew only myself, and had three suitcases. Strangers helped to me find a home, helped me to find food, and ensured that I was able to keep my job. Those strangers became my friends, who eventually became my family. Never take the kindness of others for granted, that lesson made the difference between me having a home in paradise and just being homeless in paradise.

5 years later, I am living in Virginia, working in D.C. and I am no longer a girl on a rock in the middle of the pacific. I am a 31 year old woman in the DMV!  I am surrounded by friends, family, and strangers. Life continues to be full of twists and turns, so keep reading to see where I end up over the the next 5 years. I can’t wait to see what happens, all I know is I just have to be ready for the changes.

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences!

 

maui 2

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Say hello to another Hawaiian winter

Cover of "Winter is"
Cover of Winter is

Today was the first day of winter. Well, it doesn’t really feel like winter in Hawaii, but it is a bit chilly. Yes chilly, to tell you the truth I am just cold.  There is daily fall like breezes (tradewinds), daily rain,  and for some reason it is cold and flu season. Really, I have had a cold (or the flu) for the past week. Apparently there is something going around, I wonder where it came from. To have a cold in Hawaii anytime of year is like getting a cold in New York during the middle of July. It is a bit unnatural.  I know colds come from germs, not from the weather itself, but it does suck to have a cold while the sun is shining, you are dressed in summer attire, and the ocean is calling for you to jump in.

I have tried to explain the concept of winter in Hawaii to my mainland friends. They don’t seem to understand. But I think I finally have an understanding of seasons in Hawaii. The season change is just a little less subtle than the mainland. No the weather does not get down to 30 degrees, but when it gets down to 70 degrees that is cold. I have “Hawaiian blood” now. I get yelled at by my friends on the east coast when I tell them that I drive at night with the heat on in my car. Unfortunately my apartment does not have heat, so to stay warm at home I put on a sweater.

Fortunately, I am not the only one who feels the effect of an Hawaiian winter, last week one of my co workers had on a turtleneck. I did not realize that locals owned turtlenecks in Hawaii.  I am disappointed that I left my winter wardrobe in New York, I could wear my turtlenecks and winter boots (ok maybe I wouldn’t go that far). However, it is nice to know that other people are cold, and I am not just a weird east coast girl who does not understand tropical weather.

My Hawaiian winter is rather interesting. I can still go to the beach in the winter. Hopefully I feel better soon so I can go into the ocean.  The sun goes down early, and the mornings are rather chilly. So even though there is beach time, it gets cut down in the winter.

There is no snow on Oahu. I miss snow. I want to wear a nice puffy coat, with  a sweater dress. Well, not really, but it was a cute outfit. I like that I don’t have to run to my car because it is freezing outside. I love that I don’t have to heat up my car before I drive it. It is so nice that my care is ready to drive all winter. No icy windows,  no sliding on the roads. Actually I think I am starting to like my Hawaiian winter more and more. Forget snow. Snow is cold, and messy, pretty to look at though.

I miss Rockefeller center. I miss the coldness of central park in the winter. It is something about the smell of winter in New York that truly makes it feel like winter. Nothing like watching your cold breath come out of your mouth, and shivering as you walk down the street.  Ice Skating in Hawaii is not the same. Who comes to Hawaii to ice skate? I guess I need to make a quick trip to New York to get my winter fix, then return to the island. I was never a fan of freezing cold weather, and now I

hate it even more. The beauty of winter is nice from afar, but to have daily sunshine and 70 degree weather makes Hawaii a nice place to actually spend winter.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Self Reflection: A letter to my 7th grade self

I hated Junior High School. It sucked. Even in times where the drama of current life appears to look like  Junior High extended drama, I am so happy that I will never have to return to Junior High.

I am very appreciative that I was able to endure the Intermediate school experience long before the days  Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and You Tube.  What happened in school, had to stay in school, and the past was stuck in the past.  Far before the days of cell phones and text messages, if you didn’t have my home phone number, then there was  no reaching me.  In essence, maybe I did go to Junior High School at the right time. Because,  if I went today I know for sure it would really suck.

I say all that to focus on my present day self-reflection. I reflect on my Intermediate school days because it was a period that encompassed the height of childhood confusion. Particularly 7th Grade.  Why 7th grade? As with most kids who are in Intermediate school you are stuck in between two worlds. In 7th grade I was 11 turning 12. Too old to be considered a true kid, like in elementary school, and too young to be a real teenager. I had responsibility, but not the responsibility I wanted. In my current job I have clients who are 12. At 12 life is rough. Adults don’t understand why it is so hard, and kids wonder if it will ever get easier.  At 12, developmentally you go through a stage where you want to fit in, you want to be liked,  your body is starting to change, life is starting to change, and then you realize you have no idea how to just be 12.

In exactly 3 months from today I will be 30. So as I reflect back on what I have learned from life thus far, I have some very profound advice that I would tell my 12-year-old self. Here is my opportunity in a letter to my 7th grade self:

Dear Jennifer,

Right now seventh grade seems like it is one of the toughest school years of your life. Yeah, up to this point it is. It’s different from the other school years, everyone is growing up and you find yourself struggling to keep up. It was easy when you could just play with dolls and your mom would drive you to school. But now you have to take the city bus, and hanging out watching with friends while watching music videos has become the cool thing to do. It may seem hard now however,  life gets harder after the seventh grade. But, don’t worry you will be just fine you will be prepared for it.

You know that shyness that you have, that makes it difficult for you to speak up in class or talk to new people. Though you will always secretly be shy, you will enjoy talking to new people. Along the way you will discover that you just have an introverted personality, and sometimes shyness is not so bad.  You will be able to express yourself just fine, and you will learn to love that you have an introverted personality with extroverted tendencies.

Although you hate the way you way you look right now, and think you look like a child compared to the other girls in your class, you actually look just fine. You look like a normal 12-year-old. It is not so bad that your parents keep you sheltered and they won’t spend money for you to keep up with clothes that are in fashion. Well, your parents want to protect you from the city streets, and everything else dangerous. Don’t be angry with her mom because she won’t let you take the bus to Jamaica Avenue with your friends, or ride the subway into the city. When you are able to do that you will realize that it is not that fun. Your days of wanting to wear baggy jeans, and stealing your brother’s clothes will be short lived once the style changes. Though it seems impossible now, you will eventually love to wear tight jeans (even if they do stop you from breathing).

Eventually your mother will allow you to relax your hair, you actually may want to keep your hair natural for a while. You don’t realize it now, but your hair is perfect the way it is. It is strong and healthy without chemicals, no need to rush on getting a relaxer. You will also be able to eventually do your own hair without your mother’s help, you will learn it’s not that hard to blow dry and curl.

You hate wearing glasses, and hate being refered to as “the girl with the glasses”. You don’t understand why your mother won’t let you just wear contacts. Well eventually she will let you wear contacts, and despite what she says you wont get an infection in your eyes and you wont go blind just from wearing contacts. However, soon enough you will also appreciate wearing your glasses more too. Glasses will become a fashion statement.  So no matter if you are wearing glasses or contacts it won’t matter,  you will still look like you.

I know some days you can’t stand your own body type, and wish you looked different. You wish your skin was lighter, your hair was straighter, and that you could be a few pounds thinner. Well you look the way you do for a good reason. You look just fine the way you are. You are beautiful, and in a few years you will actually believe that. You feel overdeveloped thinking your breast are too big, and you wish your hips would shrink down over night. In a few years these will be your favorite assets. You will love your body because to have curves is to  be beautiful. Your body will adjust itself, and you will love the result. One day you will feel sexy, so just be you for today.  You walk with your head down now, but you will learn to hold it high.

Currently you have an English teacher who you consider to be a major bitch. You assume that she hates you. You don’t understand why she is always so evil, and why every assignment you turn in you get a C. You constantly wonder what you have to do for this lady to get just one A!  Well let me tell you, she gives you a C because that is the grade you deserve. Your won’t understand her purpose in your life for another 8-10 years but she is teaching you to do better. You need her in your life. This teacher sees the potential in your writing that you can no way possibly see in yourself. She doesn’t let you get by easy because she knows your true ability.  The result of all those C papers you earned; well, you are able to excel at AP English during your senior year of highschool because she secretly taught you how to write with a voice. You breeze through college English with no problem and, you finally earn that A that you didn’t deserve in 7th grade.  When you publish your first novel you should probably send her a personalized thank you note, because she saw ability in you that you were years away from seeing for yourself.  Just think, if she gives you that A, she will set you up to struggle with writing  for the rest of your life.

You’re a smart girl kiddo. Even though some kids may consider you a nerd right now, in adulthood it is actually cool to be a nerd. See when the country goes into a recession, the nerds will be the people who have jobs contacting them to work, while many other people are out looking for work.  Keep studying, you have plenty of time to do everything else. One day you will be able to laugh at your own quirks, and your flaws are what make you different from everyone else. Your sarcastic and witty, keep that. A good sense of humor comes in handy when life gets rough.

Your friendships come and go. Lucky for you, you meet one of your best friends in seventh grade. You have other  friends, but you are not always sure if you should trust them.  The friends that you have now will not be your friends for the rest of your life. However, you will gain some pretty awesome friends along the way. Through high school and college you will meet friends who will change your life. Don’t be afraid to trust them, they are good people, I promise. You will gain friends who care about you more than you sometimes care about yourself. They will be there to catch you when you fall and, when you cry they know exactly how to make you smile. Though some experiences will be crazy to  say the least, it will be well worth it.

Although it seems that boys don’t like you now, and you wonder if you will ever have a boyfriend, don’t worry about that. You are 12! The boys who make fun of you now, will be the same boys who want to date you in 10 years. You have plenty of time to have boyfriends and date. You will even get to date the cute boys! You will go out on more dates than you ever really wanted to in your entire life. Then suddenly you will realize dating is not that fun. There will be plenty of  boys who like you, so you  can be picky about who you date. Never settle, you’re better than that. You will fall in love, fall out of love, and do it all over again. And even though the relationships don’t end in happily ever after, you will be Ok.  There is a reason for that. You will learn that you love being in love. You are emotional, so naturally you love hard. That can be a gift and a curse.  When you do love, you will fall in love with a man who will also be your best friend for the time that he is in your life. You will teach him how to love, he will teach you what it is really like to be in love. When that relationship dies, you will learn to grow into the woman you were meant to be. With maturity and time, you learn more about yourself,   more about life, and so much more about love, than you can ever imagine. When your close to 30, you will suddenly realize that your story is really just beginning.

Finally, Listen to your mother when she talks. Listen hard even when her conversations are long and drawn out. Her fears are only there to protect you. Don’t let her fears become your fears. During the times when you think she is not supportive of you, she is still proud of you. She realizes more than anyone that you march to the beat of your own drum.  When you grow up she will be a friend to you, you will have fun with her, and amazingly be able to laugh and talk with her. She is smart, she has lived,  she only wants to help you avoid making mistakes. You dream of being a doctor, but then you realize you hate college math classes, and those science classes do nothing more than put you to sleep. You will find a career path where you feel you are a true natural . Once you find it, you can’t see yourself doing anything else. You will eventually love your job, and realize that you are an important vessel in changing the lives of others.

You will make mistakes, actually you will make a lot of mistakes. Do not have regrets about anything you do, every mistake comes with a valuable lesson learned, and a new opportunity to grow. Live your best life, leave the past in the past, the future will take care of itself, just  focus on the present.

By the way, you may want to tell your parents to start saving for college, because you are going to go to college. My best advice: Avoid student loans!

At the age of 12 life seems boring, and it is. You can’t do much. One day it will get a whole lot better. You have an imagination that extends far beyond living in Queens for the rest of your life. You have a desire to see more, to do more, and eventually you will find a way. You will walk a path that is personalized just for you. Keep that imagination, use it wisely, it will take you to paces you currently only dream about. One day you will truly be a free spirit, you can go anywhere, anytime you want. The world is your sandbox, go play.

Love,

Jennifer (age 29 going on 30)
What advice would you give to the 7th grade version of you?

My Happy Soundtrack- I’m gonna smile cause I deserve too

Honolulu from Diamond Head.
Image via Wikipedia

Back in Honolulu!

I wake up and  it is another beautiful day in Honolulu. The sun is shining, I look over my balcony at the mountains going towards the Pali, and my day starts off with a smile. How could it not? I already know that I am alive, I feel healthy (well most of the time), and I have a lot to look forward to. So each day I tell myself, “I’m gonna smile cause I deserve too”, as sung by Leona Lewis.

Flashback to a few years ago. I remember a time when I didn’t smile as much. I would wake up in New York sad. Unhappy with my job, my personal life, nothing seemed to be where I needed it to be in life. Life for me was out of place. I would wonder, where did my happy go? During that time I had a sad soundtrack. You know that soundtrack we have for moments of self pity. Those times when we want to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves and just cry (or maybe I am the only one who has one of those). My sad soundtrack was a running playlist of songs on my ipod that I would play over and over again. I would go into a deeper feeling of self-pity each time I listened to these songs. The problem? The only person who knew I was sad was me! I would be sad to myself. So obviously the only person able to get me off the sad train to nowhere was me.

In case you need a soundtrack for moments of brief sadness (keep them brief!), I can help you out. I know a great list of songs that really fit the mood. As much as I listened to them, I could say in some strange way they did catapult me out of those moments of sadness. My advice to you: don’t stay on your pity pot too long, it us fine to sit on it sometimes. But, try not to do it too often, and bounce off of it as fast as you can. If you sit too long you may get stuck.  Being happy is a whole lot easier than loathing in self-pity.

Better in Time
Image via Wikipedia

My sad soundtrack was most used for those post breakup moments (of course, I’m a girl!) Those moments when love was lost, and I felt my world was about to come to a crashing halt, with no plan how I will get out of it. The more I listened to each song, I thought maybe it will put a stitch back in my heart one by one, but no it didn’t. Eventually only time did that. But my sad playlist did offer me some comfort while riding on the NY city subway!

In case you were wondering, here are some of my favorites for my past of sadness:

  1. Usher-Burn
  2. Chris Brown- Say Goodbye
  3. Leona Lewis- Better in Time
  4. India Arie- This too shall pass- *Favorite*
  5. Mariah Carey- I stay in love
  6. Boyz II Men- Doing just fine, or Seasons of Loneliness
  7. Alicia Keys- Sleeping with a broken heart
Wow those songs are sad,
My Happy soundtrack is much better, it’s motivating, inspirational, and keeps me on my daily vote of confidence that, I am That Chick! It keeps me smiling, keeps me positive, and reminds me through moments of sadness, life always get’s so much better.
These are my favorites from my Happy Soundtrack:
  1. Brandy- Camouflage
  2. Just Stand up!- Various female artist including, Mariah Carey,  Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna
  3. Beyonce- Ego
  4. Bruno Mars- Just the way you are
  5. Fabolous- You be killin em
  6. Ace Hood, Rick Ross, Jasmine Sullivan- Champion- *Favorite*
  7. Flo Rida- Who Dat Girl
  8. Pink- F**kin’ Perfect
  9. Keri Hilson- Pretty Girl Rock
  10. Natasha Bedingfield- Unwritten
  11. Kelly Rowland- Heaven and Earth

What’s included on your Happy Soundtrack?
*Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences!

NY memories: A permanent mark in time

Still in New York: Day 4

Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Isl...
Image via Wikipedia

I’m feeling a little bit reminiscent today. At my core I am a sentimental girl (even when I don’t act like it). I am that girl who keeps everything ever given to me by a past love. I keep old pictures, and random items for years, Deep down I can’t bring myself to just throw them away. What am I holding on to? If only I can figure it out, I might actually dispose of these items. But if I throw away pictures it would be as if those memories never happened. As if a once happy moment in my life was never there. Although, the end result was the personal torment of ending a relationship, the story of a time when things were good in that relationship are in those objects.

Why do I bring this up? Well when I come back home, I stay in my old room. My room that is filled with pictures, objects, and a plethora of memories of a time period when I was with an ex boyfriend. Twice I have loved, and twice it hasn’t worked out. Life changes and self reflection has brought me to a point where I do realize that it just wasn’t meant to be. Everything really does happen for a reason, and those relationships are not what I needed for my life.  However, the memories are still there. Trapped in my room. In my dressers are pictures, on the desk and in the closet are stuffed animals. I left my memories trapped in that room. Better than taking them with me to Hawaii. I needed a fresh start, for my own mental sake I needed the past to stay in the past. A past that always seems to come back into the present each time I enter the state of New York.

The memories are not only trapped in my room, they are actually in small areas all over the city. With each of my past relationships, I have a memory that virtually takes over Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. Wow, it’s a good thing I never dated anyone who lived in Staten Island. The city has memories of romantic dates at wonderful restaurants, times of relaxation in central park, long subway rides to our next destination, and since I love to walk;  times of just strolling up and down the blocks of Manhattan. The Village is a New York favorite area of mine since I attended NYU. But with the thought of stepping foot into the village comes the memories of waiting for an ex by NYU, eating pizza after class, or just wanting to use a building to go inside of to escape the winter cold. Yup New York, my city of memories. Memories that I can’t just throw away. Buildings, landmarks, and food, all come with a separate memory that will always be there.

Greenwich Village Photo NYC

It’s funny because when I get a new boyfriend, I try not to do the same things or go to the same places that I did with my old boyfriend. Crazy, yeah maybe a little. But, each place for me has a special memory, so I feel it is more fair to create a new special memory, than to attempt to recreate a new memory in the same place. Is that always possible? No of course not! The city is big, but not that big. There are things that I will always love. For anyone I am dating, if we happen to be in New York, we will probably repeat an event that I shared with someone else. Hopefully I can stay in the moment, feel that it is special, and not think about the last time I was in that same place.

I wish I could say that Hawaii is completely free from any tainted memories of an ex boyfriend. Unfortunately that is not exactly true since shortly after I moved there one of my ex boyfriends did come to visit. I guess it was just that type of love that I couldn’t get away from, even though I knew that I really needed to be away from it. So some parts of Honolulu do have memories of him. That I can handle a lot better than New York. Since there is so much more of Hawaii that I can see with other dates, the memories of my ex in Hawaii are close to non-existent. I don’t feel as if they are written in permanent marker like my infamous New York memories. They are written in pencil and will eventually fade.

New York and I will always have a love-hate relationship. At one time I was in love with the city, now I feel I love it for a brief period and will tolerate it the rest of the time. This is also what the relationship with each of the past men in my life has become. Once we were in love so deeply, now, well I don’t even know what it would be considered now. Toleration? Friendship? Love-hate? Sure why not all of the above.  As they say, I guess one day the memories will fade. Through it all my city will always be the same. I will be open to falling in love with it over and over again during every visit. Soon I will have new experiences, and even better memories.

'Downtown is where it's at' United States, New...
Image by WanderingtheWorld (www.LostManProject.com) via Flickr

Now if only I knew what to do with my collection of old cards, pictures, and gifts???

As always: Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences!

Online Dating: The Good, The Bad, and The Unfortunate Ugly

THE GOOD

New age dating: Online Dating.  I love the concept. It is my lazy girl’s guide to meeting new men. I can meet a ton of potential male suitors at one time. All without putting on my cutest outfit, spending a countless amount of time on my hair and make up, and minus the worry about how long my feet will last before my gorgeous heels absolutely start to make my feet scream in agony. My single girl Saturday night guilty pleasure is sitting at my computer (probably looking like an absolute bum), and searching for men online who may have the attributes of a potential love interest.

Pick a site any site. Really there are a ton of online dating sites, and you don’t have to use just one. If you have the time and desire your profile can be on as many sites as you like at one time. From the free dating websites, to those that will cost you some money, there will always be someone who you can meet and, someone who wants to meet you. Between myself, and my friends, I think we have covered most of the main sites for meeting a special someone.  Most popular are Match, eHarmony, and Chemistry.com, but those will cost you. If you don’t mind paying a little to possibly find love, then go for it.

Now if you want to save your money because you figure “why do I have to pay to meet someone when I can meet them for free?”, then try Plenty of fish, or OK Cupid. Just remember those sites are free, and the people may not be as serious about finding someone special. They could have signed up just to browse or find a quick free hook up. So as always with any online dating experience, please be smart and use extreme caution.

The island of Oahu has an extremely small population when you compare it to a city like New York. So online dating may not be an absolute necessity on the island. Honestly if you are a social butterfly, and travel around to different parts of the island you just might meet everyone at least once. So the same person that you sent a wink to on match, just might be the same hottie that was standing next to you at the bar last Friday night.

I like meeting guys online because the sense of rejection is not so apparent. No one likes the feeling of rejection (and truthfully girls hate it more than guys do). In online dating terms if I send a wink, a heart, a smile, or whatever you can send, and if I actually write a message to someone and he doesn’t respond, then I don’t take it to heart or feel defeated because I probably sent 10 other messages that night and I received a response from one or more of them. I must admit I am somewhat of a passive online dater. I usually let men find me and make the first contact. I would do the same if I in any other social situation. However, if I am really impressed by his picture (that counts!), or his profile, then I will send the first message, maybe he just hasn’t had the chance to notice me yet! If he responds great, if not; oh well then its on to the next one.

I have been doing this online dating thing for a while now. I hope to meet “Mr. Right” so I can have my own personal eHarmony commercial expressing how happy in love we are with each other. I will admit I met my ex online. That was at the time when Black Voices was free on AOL and not paired with Match, (I was a broke college student at the time). And although we didn’t have a whirlwind romance, with the commercialized “happily ever after”, it was a real relationship that lasted nearly three years. I can’t blame meeting him on my computer as the detriment of our relationship. He would have had the same emotional immature, true to form jerk personality whether I met him at school, in a club, or while sitting in front of my computer screen.

So if you have fears about online dating, don’t. Be smart, trust your instincts, and use your best judgment. Remember to make your first meeting at a very public place. If you can, try to have at least one actual phone conversation before going out to meet in real life. Texting and emails are nice, but you can save yourself time and trouble if you notice immediately that you have nothing to talk about due to long, uncomfortable periods of dead silence while you are on the phone.

The Bad

On the internet anyone can be whoever and whatever they want. Be careful about trusting people because you are so amused by the countless emails, and mesmerized by the nightly phone conversations. I say have a face to face meeting as soon as possible so you can check out body language, affect, and get somewhat complete sense of who the actual person is. You may fall quickly in love with the idea of who you think a person is and not the actual person.

If you have a first and last name, don’t be afraid to do a google search. At least if anything comes up you have information that may ease your mind, or make you run for the hills fast.

Internet dating can also be a frustrating experience. You will get a large amount of messages and request from people who you have no possible interest in. You can check the profile, if you don’t like what you see, move on. If this person continues to send you unwanted messages, I recommended blocking them to avoid contact.

If you are paying for these a site and not meeting anyone who is relationship worthy, then you might start to feel like you are wasting your money. Make a decision about how much money you are willing to spend to meet a potential mate, and how long you are willing to try it out for. I say give it a few months, that way you can get a clear sense of if this site is for you or not.

You need to be an active participant, even when dating online. You have a better chance of meeting someone if you respond quickly to messages, and write an engaging profile statement. This is your chance to make a first impression, put your best foot forward.

The Unfortunate Ugly

Not everyone you meet online will be who you originally thought they were. People are going to be people. Some people lie and deceive others for fun. So if physical attraction is what sparked your interest, then be aware that person may or may not look like that in real life. The picture could be ten years old, or someone could have had major physical changes since the date of that profile picture. So just be ready for anything when meeting someone.

Make your first encounter at someplace safe. I like Starbucks, Chilli’s, or Dave and Busters, during mid day. That way it is not a romantic date like atmosphere, and if I need to bolt I can make up a good middle of the afternoon excuse.

Remember, the terms slim, athletic build, average, curvy, and a few extra pounds are all relative. You are what you want to be. Again, be prepared for any and everything!

You could be stood up at times. Maybe the person you were to meet got cold feet or was a complete flake. Don’t get yourself down about it. You really didn’t know that person anyway, and it is probably better that they are not in your life. Just move on. Call your friends, and let yourself enjoy the rest of the day.

Online dating is a good experience some days, and a crazy out of this world experience on other days. I defiantly have amazingly bad comedic stories that I will write about in future blogs, so stay tuned. However, it does give me an active social life, and great conversations when I am out with my friends. So if you haven’t tried it, give it a try. Surprisingly you just might meet “the one” at home on a Saturday night, while you are in your pajamas sitting in front of your computer screen.