Single Again… Yesterday

By Kenneth Stepp

I was never a fan of the Beatles song, Yesterday. It always made me feel so sad when it came on. Never in a million years did I think that this song I disliked would become a theme song for my life. Yesterday makes me sad and it isn’t a song at all. My past grabs me at times and won’t let go until it reminds me of what I no longer have.

I guess I should try to make sense of all this. I have all these “USE TO BE” labels I can’t seem to shake. I use to be a husband, a successful businessman, a father with purpose, and many other labels I no longer wear I can’t wear them because they aren’t true of me anymore. There are days when the memories of these are more like haunting ghosts. 

I’ve been single for 6 years and 9 months. And in that time I have made more memories and wore new labels that no longer describe who I am today. Yesterday is a cruel slave master. Yesterday is unforgiving and is always in front of me, reminding me of past choices I made, and  making sure no memory fades. He arrives with a bag full of regrets and another full of decisions I wish I could change.

I meet people along my journey who often say things that amaze me. “Move on, forget it, that’s the past, it doesn’t matter”. Maybe it doesn’t to them, perhaps they for a way to compartmentalize people they loved, I have not mastered that and I’m not sure that should be my goal or even possible for me. Love is a life sentence. Forgetting a person I loved would be like forgetting my last name. It’s etched deep inside me. 

I spent 24 years with my wife, 19 of that with my wife and kids. I mattered back then, I was a part of something bigger than myself. I’ve tried to maximize my life in other ways. I founded a nonprofit that helps the homeless, I got involved in politics, founded Georgia Ethics Inc, became a writer, authored several books, and made wonderful friends. When Yesterday appears, I am so empty inside. Am I the only one? 

Memories are important. I try to make great memories all the time. Will they be ghosts one day? I think being single at an age when we were sure we would be the other half of a whole is confusing. I use to reach my hand over to touch my wife in the middle of the night to check on her. The wonderful opportunities I’ve had since becoming single, I find that I still do that. I’m a protector by nature. A protector with no one to protect…

Are there people who were destined to be alone? I don’t believe that I am one of them. I live with a roommate, I have since becoming single, but most of the time I am alone. Alone with my thoughts, memories, and of course, Yesterday shows up when they do. I’ve had a few near misses while searching for my soulmate, even thought I found her a couple of times. This journey keeps me confused. Depressed at times too.

I have friends and hear stories of how they, “found the one”. Most of them unfind them later and we continue treading water in this sea of singles together, hoping we find someone who isn’t so damaged that they can no longer love, no longer lower their walls, and can no longer trust. My greatest fear in life is that I will become one of them.

In the end, just be nice. Kindness is so important. You may be the only kind person they see for a while. This sea can be rough on the strongest of us. Show the love to others that you would like for yourself. Maybe we should try to help one another when Yesterday walks in, instead of beating us over the head for acknowledging we are hurting. 

And to my forever love, find me. You are my Tomorrow, my yesterday will rest when we meet. I know so much about you already. Tomorrow is stronger than Yesterday with you here. I can’t imagine life without you. I don’t ever want to imagine that.