What It Means To Be A Man

I’ve always known I’ve lived a life different from other men.  Throughout my life I have made choices, and taken risks that differed from most of the people I knew and associated with.  Those choices have both blessed my life, and cursed it.

Most of my life I’ve seen no path before me.  No guidance or direction on where I should go. I simply took a step, made a choice and then another. Always moving forward, rushing toward someplace I couldn’t see.

Now I look back at each step, decision, and choice I have taken.  At times choosing to go left, or right.  To stay or to go.  Meeting new people, making new friends, and sometimes losing people along the way.  People I loved and cared for.

Wherever my life and choices have taken me I have always felt I was moving towards something.  Always moving forward.  Now that may seem like a noble sentiment, but it’s not.  When I see people around me, they are happy with a simple life.  A job, a house, a family.  They are comfortable with their lives neither moving forwards nor backwards. Just living.

It is a life I have envied since I was a child.  The security of a good home, and a family who loves you.  It’s a difficult life to have when you are constantly moving forward.  That forward momentum makes it hard for some to keep up, and so, you lose things along the way.

a-man-does-what-he-must-in-spite-of-personal-consequences-in-spite-of-obstacles-winston-churchillWhen I look back at all I have left behind it pains me in ways I have never been able to describe in words or thoughts.  Just feelings.  Feelings that haunt my dreams at night, and are an ever present thought during the day.

I miss people I should not miss.  I feel shame and guilt over actions and decisions I made over 20 years ago.

But despite all of that I keep moving forward, taking steps, making choices, and moving towards something I can’t yet see.

Every day every I have a choice between right and wrong, between love and hate, and sometimes between life and death.  I haven’t always made the right choices along the way, but the sum of those choices, both good and bad becomes your life.  And if my choices determine my life, then it can be anything I want it to be.

It’s a difficult thing to understand, and realize.  But I suppose that is the difference between a boy and a man.