By Kenneth Stepp
Valentines Day. I’ve had five of them as a single man. Four have been about the same. The first one, five years ago, I was dating the first girl I met. The world seemed to make sense back then. Although she and I didn’t do much that day, everything seemed balanced. Flash forward five years later. This is the one holiday that reminds me I am single. Or alone. I know I’m not actually alone. But I do not have a partner. I would have ever thought I’d be alone after over five years, but here I am, unpartnered, unattached, and untaken. Like all the others, I date, I have friends, and I do things when I want, like travel, visit historic sights, and sightsee. But in the back of my mind, I know I’m alone. I have a wonderful life. A career I love, friends I love, and all my kids are healthy and doing great. That one part of my life that isn’t right is always in the back of my mind. When I lay my head on my pillow at night, no one is beside me.
“And the danger is that in this move toward new horizons and far directions, that I may lose what I have now, and not find anything except loneliness.”
― Sylvia Plath
Some of us have built our lives alone. For me, I am seldom alone. I share a house with what has become, my best friend in the world. My roommate and I have developed a life where we just have this flow. Life works for us. It surprises me more every day. I was speaking with a friend the other day and we were talking about how life would be partnered with our soulmate. I made a statement that I never thought would come out of my mouth. “I live in the best house for me ever, I have a friend and roommate I do life with well, I love the area where I live, the neighborhood, and how close it is to my business. It’s going to take an amazing girl to make me want to leave all that. I’ve created a life. My life. I vowed to never do that years ago because the life I lived was based entirely on finding my mate and being able to insert my life onto hers and only bring good things to the table. And now here I am… With something to lose. The risk of trying and failing again just became bigger than before.
“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone” – Robin Williams
So you see, being alone is no longer being alone for those of us who have adapted to being single and created a life and lives around us. It’s a phenomenon to me. It isn’t the life I want. But it is in fact a life. This may seem trivial to most people on this singles journey. But for me, it’s huge. I’m at a place I never expected to be. I have friends, I mean great friends. We check on one another often. We do things together, we dine, explore, and travel together. My heart still wants more. Maybe even needs more. But what I have is enough. At least enough for now. Will I find my forever one day? It’s my hope I will. Maybe after so many near misses, hurts, and so much confusion, I have evolved into what or who I am today. Perhaps the journey had to break me to make me. People will hurt us. What we do with that hurt will either be permanent pain or temporary lessons. I think it is up to us which way that works out.
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places”
- Ernest Hemingway
Today we are all facing giants. Like when David faced Goliath, we must chose to fight, learn, and go forward. Or buckle under the weight of all that comes at us. There’s a saying that I run into often. “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”. This is true, but handling what is given is key. To stand up to what comes, to build a life you can love, to make a decision to grab life by the shirt collar, pull it up to your face and tell it you have arrived. We were created to enjoy life, not endure it. Remember that. Be who you are…
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are” – Kurt Cobain