What Stormchasing Taught Me About Looking For Love

Lightning is always striking somewhere.

As a child, I was both fascinated and terrified of storms.

I watched videos of tornadoes for entertainment from the safety of my home on America’s east coast, where storms rarely got so severe. But when I moved to America’s western plains as a young adult, I soon learned that awe-inspiring storms would be a regular part of my new life and I could either hide from them or hunt them for sport. Those years also happened to coincide with my earliest years of dating, and after several rocky years of trial and error, I became more successful at both.

Here’s what years of stormchasing taught me about looking for love…

Be ready at a moment’s notice

You need to be in the right place at the right time to spot a funnel, but the chances of that happening are greatly diminished if you’re sitting at home bingeing on old TV shows and eating peanut butter right from the jar with a spoon. There’s plenty of time to do that after a hunt.

You need to be ready to head out the minute the radar indicates things are heating up. Storms move fast, and if you don’t jump up and go, you’ll miss them. It’s the same thing with love. If a friend calls and says you should join her at a party, throw on your heels and GO.

You have to love the chase

Believe me when I tell you that even the most successful tornado chase comes down to 95 per cent driving and five per cent jaw-dropping amazement and terror. The payoff is always worth it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tedious at times.

You need to be so excited by the thought of a successful outcome that the journey is as much fun as the destination. If you don’t have that kind of optimism and enthusiasm when you’re looking for love, you’ll quickly become bitter.

Keep some healthy distance until you know what’s going on

The unwritten first rule of stormchasing is don’t die, which means you never want to get too close to storm that hasn’t given a clear indication of where it’s headed or you could end up a tragic victim. And you can’t tell where a thing is going without the perspective you can only get from a little distance.

Love isn’t nearly as dangerous, of course, but heartbreak hurts nonetheless. We all want to lose ourselves in the tumult of lust and romance, but that’s also where tragedy happens. Many storms die out as quickly as they start, or pivot on a dime and leave you vulnerable. When you’re able to take a step back and see the bigger picture, you may see that the romance was never as promising as it looked from up close. The urge to jump in is strong, but you have to know it comes with inherent risk. Don’t be afraid to be afraid, but know that the closer you get to your goal, the less control you may have over the situation.

Learn to give up before you go too far

I can’t tell you how many lackluster storm systems I followed in my early days of chasing just because I was desperate to see something that an experienced chaser could have told me was never going to happen. That desire caused me to drive to the middle of nowhere on too many occasions, hoping beyond hope that a particular cell would become tornadic.

I drove to other states. I drove until I could barely keep my eyes open, thinking all that work would pay off eventually. And when it didn’t, I had to drive all. the. way. home. Don’t do that. Establish the amount of time you’re willing to spend on a relationship without seeing results and stick to it. Enlist the help of friends to give you honest advice about where they see things going.

Expect the unexpected

You can have years of weather experience under your belt and still misread the skies. I once skipped out on a chase and went shopping instead because the radar didn’t look all that promising; only to later find out a twister had touched down a mile from my house while I was out.

Like clouds, love can be unpredictable. Sometimes it sneaks up on you when you’ve all but given up. Sometimes everything seems just right and things fizzle out anyway. It’s the unpredictability that keeps you on your toes and adds excitement, but also leads to frustration. You need to embrace the chaos in order to fully appreciate it and live your best life.

There’s always another storm

You can know it’s true and still not believe it in the moment, so you have to keep repeating it until you see it for yourself.

Love and weather are constants, affecting people all over the world at random and since the beginning of time, whether they’re looking for it or not. Right now, lightning is striking somewhere, even if the skies above you are calm and fair. It’s only a matter of time. If you want it bad enough, you can chase it full-time and have an increased chance of getting want, but sometimes it’s as easy as paying close attention to the skies right above you.

The best way to find what you’re after is to keep looking up.

Images via tumblr.com and giphy.com.

Comment: What have you learnt about love, in your own life?