“You either die a hero, or you live long
enough to see yourself become the villain.”
Before I elaborate on the topic, I will caveat that it is always a better mentality to venture through life, even on a daily basis, with a glass half full perspective rather than a glass half empty. With that said, I am a realist, and I know full well that no matter how hard you try to visualize the sky to be brighter than what you see, this approach is not easy at all. In today’s murky world, even I struggle with this.
It is kind of ironic, because I should possess a better foresight of perspective and appreciation than most people, given my health history. At the time, once overcoming a serious cancer battle and hearing the great word of “remission”, I felt like a rubber ball for pretty much a year. Nothing seemed to faze me or cause any degree of anxiety.
Do not get me wrong, not every day was a bed of roses, but for a near twelve months I felt like I was floating in the sea with play thoughts of almost being skin tough from any shark attack. Nevertheless, I then recall work started to get a bit hectic once more, and it was like everyone no longer held any compassion for what I went through. I get this, as you cannot live off a tragedy for ever.
For every year that passed post remission though, it was like ten percent of my perspective built up was lost. By the time ten years had passed, it pains me to say this, but it felt like the cancer ordeal never happened. Part of me is grateful for this because it proves how I have stayed healthy with no relapse or repercussions. The other part of me hates myself for this because I always thought a cancer battle would make me see life differently, and more importantly value it as a blessing.
Extreme generation lightbulb moments
Like most probably another couple of hundred million or more men in the world, as an adolescent I always wanted to be a footballer (soccer player). Whilst being a good player at local level, I was not even close to the ability required to be a professional.
At twenty-two, shortly after graduating from University, I remember a World Cup summer where I spent every day dribbling a ball around the garden, fantasizing that I was a player in the tournament. Strangely enough, my thoughts were of representing my late father’s country of birth, as opposed to my own birth country of England. Maybe this was because he came from a small country (population, economy, land size, etc), therefore the fantasy of lifting a World Cup in those colours held a far greater enrichment. However, I believe the colour of my skin has always made me, subconsciously, believe that I am a larger part of my late father’s production, as opposed to my (English) mother.
Fast forward a few years, I remember sitting in my late Grandfather’s living room during a cold winter afternoon, as we both watched the football on his television. The poor man would only live another couple of months after that day, and his eyesight had deteriorated so much that I knew he could not truly see what was going on. I will never forget how he later that day said he saw snow during the match. There was no snow (just his degenerated eyesight seeing this), but I agreed this was the case.
During the match, he said words to the effect of how great it must be to be a footballer, and subsequently asked me if I wished that I still played. I never actually thought of it until that day, but it was like an eighty year old man had lived his whole life wishing he had achieved just that little bit, or a lot, more than he did. He was in the main an optimistic man too (I will always remember him telling me that being jealous of others is a form of poison), but I guess even for someone of such positivity, human nature dictates to look back.
At the other end of the age spectrum, only the other week I sat with my ten year old step-nephew whilst he played on the tablet. He played a bus simulator game, and I asked him if he would like to be a bus driver. He said no.
The bus then went towards a hospital. I asked him if he would like to work in a hospital. He said no. I asked if he would like to work in an office, and in what capacity. He said no.
I finally asked him where he would like to work. His words were – “I would quite like to be a footballer.” I have to say that it brought a little tear to my eye and pain to my heart when I heard these words.
And the conclusion is…
In essence, there are seventy years difference between these male voices, yet effectively they are saying the same thing. One is reflecting on life prior to his final days, and the other has multiple decades ahead of him. The common ground is this though. One spent his whole life wishing to be someone else, and the other will, likely, spend his life (probably from his late teens onwards) dreaming of being someone else.
I have a lot to be grateful for in life. Most of all, I am currently healthy. Believe me, no amount of money or fame can compensate for waking up and living your day in physical pain. I am financially more secure than the average person. Not to contradict myself, but money does help. I am considerably more physically attractive than the average man, and this alone gives greater options in attracting the opposite sex. I would like to think I attain a superior personality and confidence levels in comparison to most people too.
With all this considered, if I am honest, I have still spend some of my life wishing to be someone else, wishing to do something else, and wishing to live a different life to what I have lived. Again, I do not think I am at all alone in this thought-process. Human nature is a hard battle to fight with.
How does this relate to the purpose of this blog?
Occasionally, I enjoy writing a post that is somewhat left field from the main theme of this blog. I do not think it does any harm at all, and I am a great believer that, no matter how far you may stray from someone or something in life that is a product of the main destination, there is usually a link that detours you back to where you started.
Be that as it may, I do think there is relevance to all this, in so far to how it manifests back to women. In easy summary, if men – who are generally characterized as far more realistic, logical, perspective-oriented, and sensible than women – spend most of their lives wishing for more than life has provided, then you can imagine how women – who are generally characterized as far more idealistic, illogical, irrational, expectant and unrealistic than men – will see life as an even larger disappointment.
Because as long as a pair of female eyes and ears are unavoidably (or perhaps uncontrollably) projected onto the life of the rich and famous, a woman will always wish for a better house, car, clothes, and life, than what she has. When a wish becomes an expectancy, if you are the man standing as her male partner, this will rarely bring about a happy ending.
A final thought
So, there you have it. Other than a lucky tiny micro-percentage of male existences, a man spends his life yearning to be another man, or at least the same man living a different life (I tend to be the latter – where I am happy who I am, but I would like a “better” life). The benefit of being a man is, in spite of living with this voice within on a near daily basis, the male mentality allows a dream to be a dream, and he simply gets on with the grind of life.
With women, it is not that straight forward. As women have fragile egos, you will find that a lot of women try to verbally over-promote how happy they are, even though the voice within will be telling her different. The perceived scrutiny of social media, peer pressure, and trying to out-do her friends, force her to broadcast to others that she is living her best life.
The problem with this exposure is, in metaphoric terms, the higher you climb up a mountain (hence the more you promote your life to be of higher importance than what objectivity shows), the heavier and harder the fall. If she sets a mindset of self-promotion and high expectations, this will in most cases produce an end result of despondency, and possible depression.
Q-tip 1: For an analogy purpose, if men and women could choose a rollercoaster ride, the former would take on a steady trajectory with occasional thrills, whilst the latter would venture to one with constant highs and lows. Men are happy with a quiet life, in contrast to women feeding off unpredictability and drama.
A final, final thought
I was walking away from the supermarket the other week, when I saw a quite attractive woman talking to someone on her phone. Although she was walking the opposite way, she repeated three times – “Nobody seems to think it is his fault.”
This conversational topic could have been about various permutations, but my immediate thought was along the lines of something like he (her partner) had let her down badly, misbehaved, or even cheated on her.
In any of the cases, I could not help thinking from her facial expression that she actually enjoyed the topic of him, in some form (cheating included), performing these misdemeanours. It was like she had the world listening to her, and she was the centre of the universe.
Q-tip 2: A decent percentage (a far higher percentage than people would care to admit) of women get some kind of thrill out of their male partners cheating on them. The drama, attention, sympathy, and competition with the (actual or alleged) woman he played away with is a stronger motivation and ego boost than the heartache she may be going though.