I meet many disillusioned middle-aged men, seeking direction and purpose in the second half of their lives. All the years of chasing what culture and society have deemed -essential to happiness and stature; career, money, education, and repute. Their life energies poured into pursuits that bring little internal peace. Some of these men having achieved many of these things, still find themselves empty, mourning a life of wasted effort.
Ultimately many have arrived at a place, where material wealth and trappings have done nothing to plug the chasm of emotional immaturity within. Men in age alone, nursing a little emotional boy within, mourning a lost childhood. The incomplete places within many of these men, seek groups and therapist chairs to let that boy tell his stories, and seek the comfort and understanding of absent, clueless parents.
Too many men find themselves at this precipice, peering into the next years of their legacy, emotionally alone. Years of going it alone, figuring life out by themselves. Believing that asking for help or support equals weakness. That opening up to people transparently, draws ridicule. Men have been shamed into a culture of silence. One in which we suffer alone, unable to communicate to our spouses, friends or ourselves. Because in doing so, we believe we expose ourselves to an invisible admission of failure. We believe that we are acquiescing; “I am not strong enough. I don’t have it all together. I am lost. Please help me.”
These lies are social programming. Things we’ve been led to believe. Passed down for generations, by this dysfunction called masculinity. For what truly makes a man, if not a wholesome heart? We’ve been brainwashed into a cult of self-abuse, lack of self-care, avoiding doctors, eating unhealthily, cooing with addictions, sex, alcohol, anger, violence. Our need to push harder, faster and further at everything, disconnects us from our families and ourselves. It’s no wonder we end up in that inevitable place, alone. When we arrive at a destination we have been enthusiastically driving to, we disembark bewildered and confused, wondering how we could have wasted our lives chasing things that didn’t mean anything. This is the moment we recognize the joke, the slight of hand that life has played on us.
We have gone through most of our lives, void of heart.