My wife and I often experience similar things in our life, serendipitously our situations converge so that when the one brings up what's going on internally, the other is right there on the same page. This has been happening recently, perhaps spurred-on by the rapid changes in our lives brought on by my education, and professional goals, all coming to a head in the next few months. So when I read my wife's
post, I was inspired to write a parallel response-post, drawing from her brilliant posting style, and giving my perception of the changes in my life. All similarities to her post are intentional, and meant out of deep respect.
Dudes – what do you remember about your late 20's? Do you remember having, what for lack of a better description could be described as, a schema-shift? I feel like I've been climbing a mountain, during this whole “growing up” thing. Now I'm here, at the edge of a precipice, my whole life laid out before me in either direction. The view is awesome. My life is everything I could have ever asked of it, and I am content at this point. But I recognize that while I wasn't paying attention, I've gone and become a man, and I never really expected that. While the me of now might still be recognizable to the me of ten years ago, I have fundamentally changed. I remember a time when I didn't understand people like the me.
My personality is changing. My preferences are changing. My opinions, thought patterns, and to some extent, even my biology is changing. I feel like I am solidifying. There was a time when I was afraid of taking a stand, afraid of leading, of taking charge. It's like time, wisdom, and experience are leaving behind tiny drops of character with every drip, with each tick of the clock, with each time I have to charge into a scary and unfamiliar situation, or stand in the gap, and push back the forces that threaten to destroy my family, a stalagmite of character is forming!
Listen to me!?!? Even the words I use to describe myself are changing, where once I was a follower, scattered, overly-sensitive, weak, passive, soft, these have solidified into a man that seems to find himself taking charge of a group, focused on the task at hand, not letting sentimentality cloud my vision, strong beyond my expectation, assertive, and able to be hard when it's needed...even dare I say... “paternal”?
Did you go through this transformation, did you recognize it during this time in your life?
Because I look at myself in the mirror these days, and compared to the kid that looked back 10 years ago, there is no resemblance to who I was.
Not that I'm complaining, this new “manly me” is better equipped to function as God expects the male leader of a family to function. I am becoming the man I've always known I was supposed to be, but never knew how to become. I am resolved.
It's just shocking to go from the marshmallow teddy bear of a weakling that I was, the guy who was NEVER the first in line, to a guy who calmly, yet seriously, stands up and gets the job done. Roll your eyes if you wish, I know I would have if a 29 year-old friend of mine had said any of this to me when I was 19, but this is for real.
Ashley's not pregnant (just so you know), and the fact that I feel the need to actually be able to support my family before I start one, is a part of this new me.
I just feel like I am calcifying into a father, before I actually become one.
The parts of me that are still a kid, are kinda intimidated by this new presence. They are giving him some space as it were. I don't know how all this will play out, I suppose that no one can. But I know that I can't turn back, I can't let someone else do it anymore.
Against some forces I have not yet been tested, but I know this: when MY Balrog steps into MY bridge, I'll make sure that my family is behind me, and then I'll stand up and tell that demon of old “You SHALL NOT PASS!”
I'm not afraid anymore...