The Surest Way.

Taylor J. Bottles
3 min readFeb 17

I feel completely alone.

I wonder sometimes, if It’s just me that feels this way.

Is there anyone else out there floating like I am?

Here I am, thirty-three years old, with no partner, no kids, and what feels like no compass. That for the past five years I have had no idea what my purpose on this planet is. I don’t know what I’m living for, but I also don’t want to die.

Perpetual limbo.

At times I try. At times I feel like I’m making progress. Waking up from the dream. Fresh and ready to make some changes. Then a day or two passes and I am back to square one.

I spend my nights steeped in mediocrity. Watching movies, drinking, the occasional bath to make myself feel like I’m relaxing. Mostly, I go out by myself, not brave enough to ask my friends with kids or spouses to join me. Why would they want to spend time with me when they have their families? I see all my past partners moving on. Dating Men that seem more in every way. All of the ways, it seems, I was not.

I’m trapped in a prison of comparison, sitting here holding the key. Knowing full well I could unlock the cell if I wanted to.

But, do I want to?

Do I want to step outside into a world of pain again? What If I fall in love, again, and it doesn’t work out? What if she asks me to leave and never come back? What if I have to move, leave my home, my rhythm, my faith, my structure.

What if I lose, again?

The surest way to avoid failure is to never try.

That’s where I’ve been living. The surest way.

No risk. No reward. Just the comfort of knowing if something doesn’t work out, it’s because I never tried hard enough.

The surest way breeds loneliness. It breeds endless nights of silence, and staring at the wall, and walking outside just to feel something different. It perpetuates a kind of safety that ensures you never have to live greater than you need to.

The surest way keeps you trapped in the cell, clutching to the key.

The thing is, I don’t want to clutch anymore. I haven’t for a very long time. Perhaps that is why I’m writing. To free my mind a bit, and in a way, keep loosening my grip.

To be honest, I’ve always been afraid of being vulnerable. Truly vulnerable. Not the kind that looks good on social media; that makes you look like a self-aware hero, but the kind that makes people say, “I had no idea.”

I feel vulnerable now.

If you are in a cell clutching to the key, just know you aren’t the only one. Find a way to loosen the grip a little at a time. It might help.

That’s what I’m trying to do, and perhaps, we can do it together.