I like to think that I live a very simple existence. I wake up, get the kids ready, go to work…do my work…come home, help get dinner ready….do the evening thing with the kids…relax a bit and then go to bed.
However, as an aspiring “Enlightened Male”, I am realizing that I, as a 45 year old male, have many roles in this life..each, very important and each that have expectations.
At the top of the order is my role as husband. I have been married to my wife for almost 20 years. In that time, we have had our high highs and some pretty low lows….but we have developed a deep love, respect and understanding for one another and I would like to think that we enjoy each other’s company. My role as husband is to honor, adore and respect my wife as my equal; we are in a true partnership.
I am a father to two amazingly wonderful, dynamic, articulate, spirited and loving young daughters. My role as father requires me to love them, nurture and encourage them, protect them, teach them and help provide for them. This role will evolve as they grow up but its core will remain in tact…and I take it very seriously because I was somewhat instrumental in creating them.
I am also a son (well obviously…I didn’t just one day appear out of thin air!). Fortunately, my two parents are vibrant and healthy and live in the same city as me (actually about 10 minutes away). When I was younger, my role was to honor and respect them; to do as they told me and to act as their student in learning about life and what is important. I don’t think my role has stayed the same over the years. As an adult, these responsibilities have diminished somewhat as I have learned that my parents are human beings and are not the superhumans that I thought they were when I was growing up. My role as their son nowadays is to be in their lives, to share with them all that I am and to give them endless access to their grandchildren who are a tremendous source of pride and happiness. I continue to look to them for wisdom and insight pertaining to life…but I would like to think that in my 45 years of living that I have amassed a certain amount of wisdom and perspective that might enlighten them too.
I am a brother to my older sister. There are 6 years between us and as a kid, my role was to piss her off and get her into trouble with my parents as often as possible. Sometimes it worked…other times it backfired. Over the years, the sibling rivalry between the two of us eased and changed. We are both married and parents of our own children. Our lives are pretty hectic and our energies are often placed on our respective families reducing the amount of time we have for one another. I get that…its called life. However, my role as young brother seems to pick up from where it leaves off each and every time we see one another. Our interactions are often light-hearted and we find common ground in things relating to interests that we both share such as music.
I am an uncle…I have 5 nieces and nephews….ranging in age from teenage to little guys. My role is the fun-loving…good natured Uncle Steve…the one that makes jokes about farting and and burping. I think I sometimes act as comic relief for their parents.
I am a brother-in-law to five different people. My relationships with these people vary and in some cases are not as intimate as they could be because of geography. However, more times than not, when I am in direct contact with these people, the interactions are positive and warm.
I am a friend. My wife often jokes that I only have one true friend. I don’t really care because my true friend has been my friend since I was a young teenager. He is the brother I never had and I think that I am the brother he wished he had (he has a brother whom he has distant relationship with). We crack each other up and with whom we share our inner most fears with. We are both busy and don’t speak with the same regularity that we did earlier on when we first both got married and began to have kids…but the bond is like cement. He is my life long friend for a reason….and thats because he will be my friend forever.
I have a role as an acquaintance. I know many people (both professionally and personally) with whom I have casual relationships. They come in and out of my life and seem to always be pleasant towards me when we interact with one other.
I can also only assume that I have a role as an enemy. Even though I do think that I am the greatest thing since sliced bread…that there are people out there who don’t like me. Chances are that if they don’t like me that I probably don’t like them either. For years I wanted to everyone to like me…but soon realized that this is just not possible…just like when I tell my kids that you “can’t have everything…afterall, where would you put it”? I don’t spend any time or energy thinking about these people…because each day does not have enough hours in it so I can’t waste it on these people.
In a grander sense, I have a role as a citizen of earth…I have a role as a responsible member of society…to be law abiding, to pay my bills (ideally, on time), to clean up after myself…to keep my carbon footprint to a minimum…to contribute to the greater good and make this world a much better place.
For a guy who leads a pretty simple life…I seem to have a ton of roles.