Single Again… Peace

By Kenneth Stepp

My mood today is philosophical. I just drove for two hours straight, driving is my time for me, to think about life in focused or broad terms. What do I want in life? Sounds simple but it has so many layers. I want my forever love, I want my home paid off, I want my truck out of the shop. When I shuck it down to the cob, I want what all of these things help bring to my table. I want peace…

Being an entrepreneur my entire life, I have, along with my friends, chased success. I remember when money was a score card, the amount didn’t matter as much as the amount… Do you get that? It was the win, not the money. And winning was gauged by money. It was math in the purest sense.

Chasing the dream, heck, living the dream. Most of my marriage and the years we raised our kids, were carpeted in money. We vacationed monthly and typically spent $700 to $1000 per night for our accommodations. It didn’t matter back then. I worked hard and we played hard. Money was simply the measure of the win, and I was good at winning.

11 years ago that was all stripped away, we lost everything. Eventually, we lost us. The past 6 years as a single person has made me think about life on a much deeper level. I reduced my need for money by 2 ½’s. My life is amazing, but small. It gives me the freedom to pursue my passions, not wasting my life fighting each day to survive.

Here’s what I have learned about success, well, success in the world’s eyes. You start a business, grow, work hard, and you make a big splash. Everyone in your orbit admires your splash, the way you affect your pool when cannonballing into it. As impressive as that makes you feel. One day, there will be someone owning your pool. Life works that way. We rent stuff, then when we’re gone, another person who thinks they own them, takes the helm.

I have a friend who, by all metrixes, is very successful. He’s 53, never married, no kids, and owns his own business. He makes between $60k and $90k each month and has for years. He lives in a luxury condo in a trendy area, drives nice cars, and spoils himself to a degree that should, almost embarrassing.  

We talk almost daily. He knows something is missing. I’m the only real friend he has, but I look like some of the fake friends in his life. I had them and at some point, I believed them to be real. But when I lost everything, they drifted away like a vapor. It took me years to unwrap that and deal with it. I invested in a lot of lives back then. Foolishly I suppose.

Today, my philosophical mood takes me to peace. Real peace. As I focus in on what that means, I think of an old bible verse I was once asked to commit to memory.

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 New International Version.

Not to get preachy, but that sounds very wise to this simple man. The peace the world gave me was the security of winning gave me. That looks different for everyone. The peace of not having need is so much better. I want peace. With peace comes another definition of success. Happiness…