By Kenneth Stepp
Normal… What on earth does that even mean these days? I tend to be a starry eyed dreamer that believes love can heal or fix anything. A romantic in the most dangerous way. So my normal isn’t what most people’s normal is. Mine is always in motion because my emotions, which are always up and down, control what my normal is. To most of my fellow travelers, my way is nuts, to me, I know no other way to be. The term, hopeless romantic, applies to people like me. To us we are investing our efforts into finding that one true love, to the others, we are simply hopeless. So, hopeless romantics. Thus single again meant a new normal was coming. Something happened that day and everything changed…
“We sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the earth, a new experience of being human.”
― Charles Eisenstein
Being single, or alone, has taught me many things. It took years for me to realise that what was will never be again. One day I was in an intact family. Admired, belonged, and was a part of something bigger than just me. Then, it was just me. The pain that causes is daunting to face every day. The shear aloneness that I feel some days is palpable. There are moments of, “what have I done”, that creep in at the most hurtful moments. Normal to me just doesn’t feel normal anymore. It’s like the world changed in an instant. One day my wife of 24 years no longer cared and I walked away. Two things I never saw coming at all. Regrets flood in like ocean tides. Normal, I hope not. I’m an alpha male, masculine and brave most times. But this journey can be scary at times.
“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal” – Robin S. Sharma
Have you ever looked into the future only to see nothing has changed? Six years ago I was in a twenty four year marriage, two kids at home, and all our trains ran on time. If anyone had told me I’d ever be single again back then, I would have laughed in their face with confidence that it was an absurd thought. Five years ago, after being single about six months, had anyone said I’d still be single in five years. It would have seemed just as absurd. Yet here I am, single, alone, and lonely. Although I have a roommate I am very close to, I still feel alone. Partnerless I guess is a better term. The future looks great at first glance. Then I filter it through these two things I once felt were absurd, crazy, nuts. Then I see with eyes that was once beaming with hope, now despair.
“When you finally accept that it’s OK not to have answers and it’s OK not to be perfect, you realize that feeling confused is a normal part of what it is to be a human being”
– Winona Ryder
So where is my happiness? It’s right here beside me. I am a very happy human being. I have wonderful friends, a nice house, I love my truck, I write, work, and play when I want. I am in fact, happy. The problem is we lose understanding of our situation when we think being happy is the same as being content. It’s happiness with something missing. Or should I say someone missing? We are all incomplete. There is always something or someone missing. Do you know what the missing ingredient in your life is? Is it me? Are you my missing ingredient?
“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well” – Alfred Adler