I sat down for brunch at a beautiful seaside pasta restaurant in Brazil, with a new friend. She’s travelled the world and also been through the transformative process that everyone who has lived abroad knows. That’s why I was stunned when she asked me a question I’m no stranger to, but I have never heard from a fellow traveller. She asked when I’d “Settle Down”.
I told her that if by “Settle Down” she meant that I was able to fill my life with glorious adventures around the world, live debt-free, and spend my time in the company of women who enjoy savage men, then sure. I settled down years ago.
Then my mind took a more grim, somber tone. I explained to her that for most of the men I know, or have read about through the ages, “settling down” was usually defined as one, some, or all the following:
- Waking up next to a woman who you love, but know doesn’t respect you the way she once had because you’d lost your fire and become domesticated.
- Going downstairs to have cereal with children that you love, and that love you unconditionally. While you still carry resentment because no one in society or your family was ever completely truthful about the emotional and financial hardships that children bring.
- Opening the garage door to a house that is worth less and less every year as you step into a car that is simply a miniature representation of the same thing. Both things that you were told you needed as signs of “maturity”. A lie that unfolds itself in short order.
- Working +40 hours a week in a job that will never give you fair compensation for your hard work and dedication because you chose a “safe” career field.
- Not having the courage to embrace the pain of changing the things in life they don’t like, starting with themselves, every day.
As a very, very young man, I made the decision to live a different life. Because of it, I have lost a lot of friends.
I lose more every year.
It becomes more and more uncomfortable when I talk to guys who chose the traditional, and so-called safe life. When men I’ve known for years boast about being promoted after years of toil and follow it up with questions about what I have accomplished I talk about everything in this picture. We have less and less in common every year as I watch the light in my friend’s eyes go out slowly.
It’s like watching a runt puppy being strangled by a cruel master that only wants the strongest, best, and brightest.
It’s painful for us both because we are all still so very young but have chosen paths that are results of decisions we made a long, long time ago. Most of my friends that come to me to talk about life while asking me to mentor them on how to get out of the “rat race” still don’t have the courage to do it. So instead of watching me go forward, they choose to slowly drop out of touch.
I AM IN PAIN,
YusefWateef (AT) Gmail.com