I had an interesting revelation recently: I'm a man.
I'm 41 years old. Balding. Married. Two kids. Mortgage. Job (which seems to be taking an unforeseen and unsatisfying turn). I lost some weight recently and look better than I have for years, and my chronic back pain from herniated disks has actually mitigated somewhat... but the sciatica is still there, my varicose veins are worse than ever (getting them in the other leg now, too... WTF!), my kidney stones (passed one a while back, but still got two) bug me from time to time, and I have a whole host of little aches and pains that I will not list out here like a whiny old fart, despite the several big ones I mentioned in the middle of this rambling, crazily punctuated sentence.
Where was I?
Oh, right. I'm a man. I'm not a kid anymore. Not an overgrown teenager. Not a young guy in my prime (sadly... I don't think I ever was). I find I no longer think of myself in those terms in any way. I am--not in the euphemistic sense meaning "elderly" or the popular parlance meaning "not juvenile" ('cause I still have that propensity, though no more or less than average, I think)--mature. My concerns are a man's concerns. My worries are a man's worries. My strengths and weaknesses and responsibilities and regrets are dead in line with the big, fat, middle swath of those for my age and gender. I'm a man. That's not a boast, as it is sometimes made to sound. I'm not asserting anything to convince myself or anyone else of my value on any level. I'm stating a fact. A fact, to be sure, but one with a range of implications the full import of which have only recently settled upon me. I have people to care for. Choices and sacrifices to make. I have dreams of what I once wished to be I must let go of, or go mad. I have dreams of what I may yet do that I must act upon now, or go mad. This is a balancing act that everyone at every stage of life must perform in some way or another. I'm just taking on the work of another stage and giving it a name that, for the first time in my life, truly seems to fit.
Yep. I'm a man now. No doubt about it.
Now what the hell am I supposed to do? Just kidding! I know exactly what I'm doing! Though, if anybody has any suggestions, I might be willing to consider them, just out of academic curiosity, mind you.