May 182014

Makin’ It on Your Own

Sometimes you just have to be completely on your own, out in the world, to make a significant growth step. I think that I jumped from marriage to marriage, in part, because I did not want to face truly being on my own. My homeless period provided an opportunity to operate completely on my own for a while.


There are a significant number of homeless folks who are in that situation, again in part, because they feel deep inside that they need that type of experience to make another significant growth step. Yes, it was frightening at times, but life can be scary whether you are with someone, in a relationship, or on your own.


Life is sometimes scary precisely because we are not in control of all that occurs. This should be obvious, but we fool ourselves into thinking that we are completely in control of our lives. No, there are many uncertainties in this place and time. America is in transition once again and no one knows how the story will evolve. Will the country become completely divided between left and right? Will the moderate political sector be completely wiped out? Will the poverty rate get completely out of control and will the middle class become a shadow of its former self? In other words, will the rich continue to get richer and the poor get poorer?


On a personal level, will I, and my loved ones, stay relatively healthy or will one or more of us fall prey to a serious disorder? Will I achieve my publishing goals or not? As a tenant, you never know for sure if your landlord is going to renew your lease or sell his/her house out from under you. As an employee, you never know for sure if you are going to experience a lay-off. Well, all of these uncertainties can be scary, but they also can serve as a facilitator of personal growth, inducing us to become more self-reliant and confident in our ability to survive under a variety of tough conditions. And homelessness, too, can lead to increased self-reliance, in the end.


Now, I am not recommending that folks become homeless just in order to experience a growth step. That would be unwise and would glut homeless resources. But if homelessness occurs in your life, it does not necessarily mean that your life is over or that you are consigned to an inexorable decline in your living standard. It could represent, viewed from a very broad perspective, a highly significant blip in the radar of your life. It could lead to significant personal growth.


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