Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A MAN'S 3 MAJOR BENCHMARKS

Due to unforeseen and unexpected circumstances this week, I have begun to come to grips with what I believe are the three benchmarks facing the average male. Shaving? Earning a drivers license? Your first sexual encounter? Your first legal visit to Las Vegas?
No, I am not talking about such superficial and relatively trivial events in a mans life. I am talking of huge, earth shattering experiences that ultimately may mark the three trimesters of a mans life; specifically...
The birth of a child: There is arguably no feeling to compare to the birth of your own child. The world is seen through your child's eyes, filled with promise and hope and limitless possibilities. This marks a period of discovery and challenge. You are now in charge of a life other than your own, and are (hopefully) mature enough to handle it. You look at your child as he/she looks up to you for guidance and security.
The death of your parents: Suddenly, you are the head of the family tree. While in the past you relied and took comfort in your family elders, you now must fulfill that role to the children and family members younger than you. Nothing will mature you faster than handling the funeral arrangements for your parents; you want to cry like their child, but know you must show strength as a family elder for the sake of the younger members of your family.
When friends your age begin to die: Talk about your ultimate eye opening experience, your feelings of invincibility and youth recede as you ponder your own longevity and legacy. You begin to wonder if the time will come when you must look to your offspring for guidance and security. You see that you are on a collision course with a moment of time when you will go from family elder to a member of the elderly. You go from in charge to out of control, from looked up to by others, to looked down upon and needing to be cared for. Is it time to make a "bucket list," or is it too late? Is it time to stop putting off that diet, stop smoking / drinking / eating like a college freshman, or Lord forbid, stop putting off that colonoscopy?
Of course this is all relative, depending on your age at the time of these occurrences. Every person is different, and no two perspectives are the same, but I have now experienced all three "benchmarks," and am grappling with my personal feelings along with mourning the loss of someone I worked with for over twenty five years.
He seemed so young, everyone says, but recent facts proved otherwise. He wasn't too young to die (of a non accident related death). And we were about the exact same age. I know this will pass, and is primarily the result of a mourning period, but the facts remain, and I don't like it.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you for this post
... radar

Anonymous said...

Coincidentally, these are also the benchmarks of a woman's life.

Anonymous said...

Point taken, however for a woman, wouldn't the start of menstration and the change of life (the period in which a woman can, and no longer can create life within herself) be the major benchmarks in a womans life experience?

Anonymous said...

Not in the slightest. This would only be true for a woman who considered herself to be nothing more than a baby making machine, and I don't know any women who fit that description (not even, I daresay, the Octomom).

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

My apologies - I didn't mean for this to become a battle of the sexes thing. Actually, I was feeling a little guilty for bringing the whole thing up in the first place, since Kimba's original post was in reaction to the sudden loss of a friend. I should have been more sensitive to that and not made such a big deal about the post's gender-specific title.

Kim said...

Not at all. Especially when you are right. No worries. I think our friends sudden death took a lot of us to a dark place. Maybe it is survivor's guilt, you sure wouldn't think of him as a candidate for a sudden death.

Something different but related: the internal corporate intra-net announcement of his death listed the funeral place and time, and listed the ceremony as a "coming home ceremony." I hadn't heard of a funeral or memorial ceremony in quite those terms.

Keep those comments coming, especially the ones that take us in a different direction or to saner ground.

BTW, I thought the second comment was from your sister.

Jennifer said...

Funny, when I re-read it I thought it sounded like something she would say!

Papa Giorgio, M.A.T.S. said...

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Mormon Women -- due to their theology -- consider themselves a baby making machine in order to provide physical bodies for the spirit children produced in "heaven." I say "heaven" only because woman producing babies in heaven for eternity and here on earth would be some ladies "hell."

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Papa Giorgio, M.A.T.S. said...

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Caption Fest Time Over At RPT

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Anonymous said...

there is a before and after for all of us

Papa Giorgio, M.A.T.S. said...

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"there is a before and after for all of us" .... nope, just me.

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