There’s an elderly man that lives in my complex. He’s a retired engineer, married, and as far as I know, has no children. Whenever I see him, he’s unshaven, and dressed for nothing more than a day spent inside his house. While his wife still works full time, he sits at home – bored, lonely, and idle. His only companion being his booze.

 

From my office window I see him climb into his vehicle each morning, off to the nearest liquor store to pick up where he left off the previous day. He returns, shoulders slumped, his little potbelly noticeable through his worn shirt, eyes always downcast. I don’t see much of a man in his demeanour. And I wonder how he got to this place in his life. What was he like before alcohol turned from an occasional visiting friend to a live-in housemate? Where are his friends? Has his wife given up on trying to help him change? Does she care?

“I want to be a man my grandfather would have gone to war with.”

It’s often too easy to shrug people like my neighbour off. We tell our spouses and friends that it will never happen to us, and we console ourselves by feeling sorry for him, yet there are some of us that are worse than him and we fail to even recognize it. In my humble opinion, I sincerely believe that we as men need to always be aware of the pitfalls that surrounds us in this journey of life. There are wolves that beckon us to sit down for just a moment and have a drink with them, and forget about our worries for just a heartbeat. The truth is we should never let our guard down, never give in to the pressures that surround us, and most importantly never turn our back on our enemies in life. I say this metaphorically of course, because I believe we have become soft – we have never tasted war, and most of us have never had to truly fight for our loved ones or even our own lives. Myself included.

 

Yet advancing forces in the form of greed, lustful desire, life-consuming careers, and instant gratification to name a few, ensnare us. We have traded our armour for drinks and a warm bed with the enemy, and we’ve blamed our parents, our wives, social media and almost everything else but ourselves. Almost daily I hear stories of men who have left their wives and children without warning; men who have resorted to suicide as their last hope of escape; men who have left a fallen friend on the battleground because they’re too afraid of risking their own life to save another. We’ve grown soft, too afraid to speak up, stand up, and fight for what is truly right. Where is our honour, truth, integrity and heart?

 

As Albert Einstein once said, “do you strive for success or do you want to add value?” Are you secretly dying inside while you work out at the gym, day in and day out, projecting an image of false health & strength? Or have you completely let yourself go as you’ve packed on the pounds and settled with a body that’s twice the size it was when you were 20 years old? Are you done with your marriage because she doesn’t idolize you like she once did?

 

I know what I want – I want to be a man my grandfather would have respected. I want to be a man my grandfather would have gone to war with. What about you – what do you want?