(10 February 2010)
There are days when you tell yourself what kind of man you're going to be. Some of these days are major milestones in a man's life: high school graduation, first day of college or boot camp, college graduation...or the day you decide not to re-enroll, the discovery that you'll be a father for the first time, the day that child is born, the day you irreparably disappoint a mentor, the day a loved one dies. And many more.
For me, it's not uncommon to set very similar expectations on every such day, though as I get older they just become more mature versions of themselves. Sometimes, you decide to drop a bullet point or two, whether because they may no longer apply to the man you'd like to be, or maybe because you've come to believe such an expectation is no longer realistic. Those days, depending on the abandoned expectation and the reason, can be little life-changing tragedies.
In my experience, what matters most are not the conclusions you come to on those days, but the actions you take after the decisions are made. A man struggles his whole life to define himself, and any day he commits to becoming one kind of man or another is a pretty major event. Though some may be hasty or spontaneous, no decision is made lightly.
But more than drawing an idealized future version of yourself, it's an even bigger personal struggle to make that man a reality.