By Kenneth Stepp
Today was a beautiful day. It was 73 degrees and simply a pleasure to be out in. I went to a state park, I sat on the patio of my favorite Mexican restaurant, then came home and sat on my back deck and relaxed. It was a day I’ll remember as, not productive, but awesome anyway. As I sat in my large wooded back yard, I enjoyed the squirrels running and playing. What a happy life they must have, was my only thought. The reality is, they toil daily to survive. Then it hit me, am I a squirrel?
Ok, I know I’m a human, I speak metaphorically, of course. But as I watched the squirrel’s I asked myself, don’t they have any fear of heights? It’s true, I said that in my head. Then I watched them climb up and down trees like they were glued to them. What really caught my eye though, was the way they jumped from branch to branch with such ease. Eventually they find a tree and branch that’s just right, and make their home there. It hit me that we do the same thing. Now I’m speaking to the singles that have been single a few years. How many branches have you explored so far?
It can be said of me that I do not often write about metaphors. They seldom hit me enough to inspire me to write about one. But as I watched them visit branch after branch, I knew that was the way my life has played out so far. The leaves haven’t filled the trees in much, so I can see the Winter homes my furry friends made a few months back. Something was very special about those branches that eventually became home to one special squirrel. So special…
I’ve climbed a lot of trees, visited many wonderful branches, a few, I thought had potential, potential to be great friends, lovers, and a couple, forevers. Yet here I am, standing on yet another tree branch, looking where my feet will stand next. It’s maddening really. I remember a time when things made sense. I met a girl, we dated, her parents liked me, my parents liked her, we exchanged I love yous, and boom! We were married, we’d be together forever. There was never a thought that it would be any other way. Then life happened.
One day I was happily married, the next day I was swimming in an ocean of singles. In my previous life, I was a good swimmer, in my new life, none of that mattered. I was in a strange new world where nothing, and I mean nothing, made sense anymore. I’ve been single now for over 6 years, I have written 2 books about dating and write a column about dating for a local paper. One thing I have discovered is that I’m no expert, but for some reason, I’m expected to be. The truth is, I can’t even explain what dating is or how to date at all. I write because of my confusion, not because of any expertise I am supposed to have.
What I have discovered is that there are no rules, no guide book, and no experts. The closest thing to any experts I have seen are a few serial daters I’ve come to know. I honestly wouldn’t call them experts though, I have a theory that they are more lost than the rest of us. I’m glad I wandered to my backyard today. Watching my squirrel friends go through life gave me hope. You see, although they were jumping from branch to branch, I could not only see them, but I could see their homes as well. Knowing that my journey will include branch after branch, my heart knows that one day, my feet will land on one of them and my heart will sigh with relief. Home… My home forever.