Choosing differently?

I have my hiding places around town.

They’re all over the place. In parks, on vistas, inside coffee shops, at dead ends, in cemeteries, at airports. They are on the West Side, the East Side and in neighboring little towns in Ohio and states that have reciprocal income tax agreements with Ohio.

Most I can drive to in less than hour. Some take a little more.

I love going to these places and thinking. I try to bring focus to my scattered ideas, dreams, aspirations, successes, choices made and opportunities lost. I think about my friends, family, my aging grandmother, relationships current and past. I wonder who I will meet tomorrow.

I think about my choices. The ones that have been great (finally finishing my bachelor’s degree – 17 years after I started it), and the bad ones. I think about the people that love me, why they love me and why I love them.

I think about people I haven’t seen in a long time and about that special connection we made at that moment when we met and those times shared afterward until we didn’t see each other anymore. Those times and instances ride high in my memory. I miss them.

I think about the people who don’t like me. Probably too much. I think how I hurt them and how that must have felt. I think how I have let people down. Especially the ones who care about me greatly. It pains me to think of the suffering they had at my hands or by my doing, even the tiny and everyday wounds and seemingly inconsequential.

I wonder if it is too late to fix these errors in judgment and miscalculations. Will they let me? Do they even care? Why do I?

I love my little nephew. I love my three nieces, three beautiful little girls. I think about what kind of uncle I am. I think about my little cousins and how much they mean to me. I love my parents who care so very much – even when they don’t understand. Will I ever be a father?

I think hard about the world, my beliefs, my town, my country, my wants and my desires. How do they fit into this world. What should I do next?

View of downtown Cincinnati from the Price Hill Incline park.

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

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