There is room to grow.
I thought I was done growing. That I was a mature and confident person, and that my struggles were behind me. My criteria for having become a man were:
- Find love.
- Be a provider
- Have a financial plan.
- Make money
- Be a father
What I wasn’t paying attention to was, what was getting lost in the process. I was forming myself based on pretty traditional values. Somebody else’s idea of what my life should amount to.
A central theme in my life was that my spouse was a massive, if not a overwhelming, focus of what I was trying to achieve. Only now, in the aftermath of a failing marriage, I am asking some tough questions of myself.
What kind of man do I want to be ( if the focus on my wife is removed) ?
I want to be a man who finds life exciting. Who wakes up with the hope to explore and experience. A man who can shed the weight of all thats wrong, and dare to write his own story going forward.
I have never been that man. I have forever been covered in dark clouds. Felt unloved as a child. Inadequate as a young adult. And poor most of my life. Unable to experience things that cost money.
An independent man. Self assured that no matter what life brings, he will make the best of it. I want to strive to achieve, but do so with enthusiasm. My strife was always driven by fear and self-flagellation. I want it to be about hope and possibility.
I think a man is formed by his experiences. My entire experience has been more or less about two things. Financial and emotional security. And when I had a little bit of both, I stopped growing.
I stopped dreaming, and the dreams I had were about tedious process to achieve more security. Excitement and passion were not in the equation.
Will knowing new people stimulate me ? I have been very judgmental about the types of people who I find acceptable to hang out with. I am challenging that part of me.
Will doing challenging physical activities push me? I have lied for years, that I was in reasonable shape. I am not. I can do better. I can certainly make it a more integral part of my daily routine.
Will kindness for the unfortunate transform how I view my own struggles? I am thinking about working with the homeless and the old and terminally ill. It will give me much needed perspective, and I hope that it will allow me to appreciate my life.
Will sticking to new / old interests enrich my soul? I am afraid, that the process of honing my skills I will draw more into myself. I will need to find a good balance here. I must have a goal that forces me to interact with the world. For. e.g. if I am learning a song on the guitar. I must plan to play at an open mic night.
Will dressing better make me a more confident person? I have little doubt in my mind that this is something I have to do. I want to look in the mirror and see a guy I admire. I need to lose the puffy facial fat that makes my short frame look stouter. I want others to see that this is a man who takes care and cares about his health and appearance.
And finally, can I do all the things above, while I am NOT being loved and adored by a woman.
This is my ultimate test. I just cannot imagine a version of me that won’t seek validation from a woman. I must instead seek to please and impress myself, and other men. I want to, for the time being, remove the focus from finding love and just improve myself.