It's not always sunshine and rainbows in relationships. This weekend, however, it was.
So I've lived in Cincinnati for 21 years. It's one of those places that a lot of people like to bitch and complain about because it's a little bit conservative and for the most part, poorly ran. "This city sucks!" "I hate this city." "Why can't Cincinnati be more like (insert any larger metropolitan city here)?""There's nothing to do here!" "Cincinnati has no diversity." These are comments that are heard on the regular if you live here. In my younger years, this was a bandwagon that I not only rode, but I championed from time to time. In my defense, I am from New Orleans and grew up spending summers visiting family in California and New York. Cincinnati is a little bit different. Today, I say
I Love Cincinnati!
See, the problem with me when I was younger, and the problem with people who jump in on the "Cincinnati sucks" party, is that we didn't know where to find the good stuff here. Either we've lived here all of our lives and think we know every nook and cranny here, or we're too lazy to explore the city that we live in and expect to find a customized itinerary full of entertainment waiting outside of our front doors every time we get the urge to get off the couch. There is tons to do in Cincinnati, you just have to make the effort to find it and then, you have to go do it.
So our weekend started off with a walk in Eden Park, which is a park that all Cincinnatians are aware of and have been to multiple times. It's one of the parks everyone takes for granted, but there is so much to do there. We made the effort, got up before work, and had a great morning.
|Ian. All smiles.|
|My feet and an amazing view of Kentucky from the Cincinnati side of the river.|
|Me enjoying yet another view of the city. This time it's Cincinnati from the Kentucky side.|
|We found this random piece of artwork in the park, being displayed by one of the art museums. Yes, Cincinnati has art museums- GASP! They have art AND culture there!!|
That was day one. We spent $0, got in a little bit of exercise, did some exploring, and made fun of each other. (that's how we show each that we like each other) I went to work that day with a smile on my face feeling full on life and being excited to live in a city like Cincinnati, that has several beautiful parks, all within five to ten minutes of our house.
The next day, Ian, Gianni (my 14 year old), and I, got up and headed downtown. We took a three mile walk along the river. Again, all free. Again, learned new things about the city. And again, had lots of laughs. (Mainly because Ian and Gianni have decided that I am a hipster since I blog and want a bicycle. I prefer to be label free, thank-you-very-much.)
|Ian and Gianni playing a game at Sawyer Point.|
|The only thing we bought was lunch. Next time...|
Which made me start to think about cities and effort and relationships... (ah, here is where it all comes together).
So you can choose to live in a city or town and cry and whine everyday about how much you hate it and trick yourself into believing that if you lived in a hipper city, all of your lives problems will be solved. Or you can make the effort (ugh.), to get out and dig a little. Find the things that make you happy and leave you feeling full. Of course you will hate where you live if you only seek out all of the bad and messed up things (every city has them, even New York, Miami, and L.A.)
Relationships can work the same way. If I were to get up everyday and complain about Ian's teeny tiny beard hairs all over the sink, his lack of attention to where he leaves his shoes, and the fact that he ALWAYS turns the TV to a sports program as soon as he gets a hold of any remote control, I would be miserable. And I'd probably start to resent him. And I'd want to move to a new relationship that looks all sparkly and magical. But since I choose to be in a relationship with him, I instead seek out the good. There is way more good than bad in Ian. He is smart, kind hearted and is always trying to find new ways to surprise me. I also make the effort (ugh.) to learn new things about him. Some are a little disconcerting to say the least; most are pleasant surprises. Relationships take work and daily effort (ugh.) to keep them alive. I'm not saying it should constantly be strenuous and tired some (it's a relationship, not litigation) and when they hurt more than they make you feel happy, maybe it is time to move on. Just know that no relationship is perfect. We are humans after all, and being flawed is a trait that we all share. And sometimes, you have to dig a little to get to the good part. Just like when you get a burrito from Chipotle and all of the good stuff is crammed together and hidden. You have to work a little to get to it, but it is so worth the work!
And to the people that insist that Cincinnati is the devil's crotch, and refuse to take part in the culture that is here (yes, it really is), here is a bit of advice for you:
Yes, it's that simple. Go be miserable in some other city where I'm sure, once again, you'll be the only intelligent good looking person with any fashion sense that knows what "real" music is. Best of luck to you.
As for me, I'll stay here in Cincinnati. Home of the Red's. Home of my heart.