Written by: Eric Shanteau
Welcome to Marriageville; Population: Everyone.
This isn’t a woe-is-me story. No complaints and please, absolutely no sympathy. In life, at one moment or another; happy or not, I believe everyone peers at the other side of the fence. Let me tell you, grass looks green from afar, but it can often be brown when you’re standing upon it.
I want to tell you what it’s like on my side of the fence. (All opinionated) Winter is pure agony. What does a single person who works 9-5 M-F do as he leaves work and the sun is already down? Imagine it. Yep, solitary confinement. I realized years ago that the combination of darkness and bitter cold really limit my options. Let me set the record straight, I’m not opposed to one or the other but together they make my life a bit more challenging.
Dinner, movies, bar, zoo? -alone? I’ve done it. Well, because if I had not, how could I ever know? It’s not fun. Winter can essentially be strictly for company but let’s face it, I’m not 23 anymore. It doesn’t come easy.
I had once convinced myself that fate surrounded everyone on a daily basis. That merely turning left, instead of right was already an unforeseeable conclusion. Leading to my long acceptance of sitting at a table of three, or one. What has happened? How did this belief in fate seem to turn a blind eye to my ambitious hope to find someone to eventually share my life with? To endure the cold Toledo months indoors with, outside of my own home confinement.
It seems like just yesterday that I was in the same boat as all my friends. I looked down for one second and they all jumped out and instantaneously arose married with three kids. Where suddenly I was not only alone but now the definition of minority. I was once in a place that being single and not having any children yet seemed appropriate and responsible to “there must be something wrong with him”, in a blink of an eye. Life does move pretty fast and I can’t lean on the notion of fate any longer. especially the concept of calling a friend (at this age), at 10pm on a Tuesday. Responsibilities have called.
I’ve continued to “paddle” through life in Toledo. Refusing to think less of my purpose and what it has become, because it has seemed to often diminish instead of expand. Companionship is tremendous and when you mix that with friendship, passion, devotion and love – it’s something that should be cherished and never assumed. (I’m talking to you, half off Tuesday couple movie goers)
You have to believe in something. When you no longer believe in yourself, another, a purpose or passion and any faith of sorts- you stop living. I believe in chance. It’s taken over my interpretation of fate. Every day, every morning and every moment, we are awarded decisions. Thousands of them. No matter how minor or how big, they lead us towards opportunity. In return, that gives us options that are limitless. Have you given yourself a chance? A chance to allow someone the opportunity to love you in a matter that no one else can. Everyone deserves that. Everyone has someone out there to fulfill every notion of opportunity they wish to accomplish in life.
In this exact moment, here and now, I want that opportunity. That is why I took the chance by being here. Staying in Toledo, the place I’ve grown to love. I want to allow myself the option I deserve, we all deserve. In reality, we are mostly all here for the same reasons- and no matter how different we all are, we all want the ability to be in the company of another. Our purpose in life to run a country, to teach children, build a home, patrol our streets, or clean our waste is all a notion that when everything is said and done and your life flashes before your eyes, you can’t just be interpreted as materialistic. To touch or change a life for the better is anything but. A stranger, friend, or co-worker can allow you that opportunity for enlightenment but someone you wake up to in the morning can enrich your life to unmeasurable proportions that can’t ever be replaced. Your job, money, home, looks; all superficial. Finding someone that cares about your well being day in and day out is the greenest of all grass. Don’t take for granted where you stand in life because no matter what it looks like on the other side of that fence, think about why you are where you are. How you allowed yourself to be where you physically stand in life. Who around you allows you to love them. Because being loved can never overcome the ability to love. That’s who you need to admire. Those are people who should be recognized on a daily basis and what ultimately allows us to succeed in life; during all times of the year.
While I paddle alone, sit in odd numbers, and rewrite the theory of fate, I shall try to create my opportunity that I know exists; in the warm daylight of Toledo, Ohio. The glimpse of light that now exceeds into the eight o’ clock hour. Walking, metroparks, running, anything outdoors that I can do post work hours makes me feel alive and beyond tolerable as a single person. It’s truly amazing here sans winter.
So, as the grass literally begins to turn green, mine does as well. And once again, I know my side of the fence will be just fine. Thank you spring forward. I’ll marry you any day. You’ve once again made my life easier as your beauty grows by the day. You’ve freed me from the option less cold and opened your doors to a city full of single man opportunities.
Speaking of- “Wow, it’s still light out!” Well, off to Oak Openings. Have a great dinner with your girlfriend’s parents at their house, suckers. Don’t tread through their brown grass as you ring the doorbell. (All kidding aside) and long story, long- I’m grateful. Everyone is. We love it here and endure winters like this one, to once again be able to enjoy our city from outside. As much as I hope I can find a balance throughout the year, I know that this is my time of the year to shine.
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