By Kenneth Stepp
Now, here is a topic I have felt like talking about for a while. The reason I haven’t tackled it is the complex way I try to wrap my brain around this subject. I process everything. I overthink everything. This takes me down some interesting paths. In my opinion, many people never really find their way home from these paths. Being single when you are over 40, or even 50, is a much tougher journey, I believe, than anyone believes it will be when they embark on it. So, let’s discuss it a little.
First there is the financial dynamic. I have felt it, and from the conversations I have had with the girls I have met, they all feel it too. Many never really recover, others struggle daily. When two are pulling the cart, life is just easier.
Next, the stability of having the same partner. I believe we all want this, or, at least, most of us do. To wake up and lay down with the same partner is a worthy goal.
Then, it’s the game of dating. I can’t think of a better word for it: game. Sadly, some learn to play the game better than others. A few aren’t playing at all. Some don’t get that it’s a game. They will be the ones damaged by the people who play it better than they do. It is a brutal game and none of us begin our journey realizing that it’s a game. The longer you are in the arena, the more like a game it becomes. I’ve discovered how to not play the game at all: Truth . . . . Being radically honest stops the game completely. It doesn’t stop others from playing you, but if morepeople are honest, less damage happens.
This mysterious phenomenon is the way some people choose to travel this journey. I deleted my online account after just three days. Why? Because it began feeling like a job for one thing. Plus, I started getting sucked into the game. I stopped liking who I was becoming. Yes, after only three days. The desperate, thedamaged, the hopeful, and the players, all coming together for a fight to the finish. I just couldn’t participate any longer. You see,I am one of the damaged. The one thing I know is that. So, knowing my role, or position, I chose to get out of that sea of insanity. Protecting my heart is a priority. Pain, hurt, and confusion have been my travel buddies for too long. It was time to just like me again, and figure me out.
I have been fortunate to have interviewed well over two hundred girls that are on this journey, of all age groups, economic status, and lifestyles. There are many differences between them, but far more similarities. The issues I mentioned before plague all of them on some level. I can attest to them in my life as well. So, what can we do? Give up? Run away from life because it’s hard? Continue running people off that actually care about us because we are afraid? None of these are a very good idea at all.
Myself, I have decided to find something I love to do and do it. When I feel the pressures of life I go exploring. I visit small towns in Georgia. I meet new people. I learn the history of the area, take pictures, and ask questions. I become a tourist. I love this. It takes me away from the journey of finding my forever; from financial struggles; from the difficulties knocking at my door. Or, I meet friends and explore with them, usually in town. Atlanta is rich with interesting things.
Everyone has something they can do. Some golf. Some just ride around. Find your thing and dive in. Enjoy YOU for a while, even just a few hours. Everyone needs this. No one is immune from the pain and hurt of the journey. I’m not. My forever is alive and well, looking just as hard for me as I am for her. I hope we meet. Honestly, I hope we have already met. I guess this is why I call it a journey. Hide your hearts behind logic, my friends, this dance floor is full of landmines…
“Between the empty spaces is a place called forever”
― Jacqueline Simon Gunn