Life is hard. As much as we might think we are islands, we are not. We are not meant to get through this life alone. Fortunately, we are never truly alone. We have angels and guides who are always with us. Flesh and blood people beside us is a luxury many of us don’t have. I’m very fortunate to have Tywana. She has been there for me through thick and thin for closer to 30 years than to 25. I can’t put everything on her though. Usually, when one of us feeling low, we can count on the other, but what are we to do when we’re both just getting by? I can’t be solely reliant on her.
Tywana has a large group of friends. Between book club, her “Bible study” group, friends she walks with, golfing buddies, etc. etc. (not an exaggeration, there is more than one etcetera), she’s got an active social schedule and lots of people to spread the burden around with. I am grateful for that. What I’ve found is with guys, at least with my friends, it’s not the same. First of all, we don’t really get together all that often. I had a group of guys I used to go out and watch football with. That dwindled over the years down to just two or three “regulars”. The Bengals are playing their eighth game of the season this weekend, the halfway mark, and we haven’t gotten together once. I had a friend I would golf with once a week. He’s actually divorced now and lives 10 minutes from me. I haven’t golfed with him in two or three years. I have three friends who have recently divorced. One used to be my best friend. I found out that he and his wife had been having marital issues for over a year and were getting a divorce, the day they were meeting with an attorney. We used to use our kids as excuses for not getting together. Now, we know better. I don’t see any of these guys on a regular basis- only when the wives arrange something.
I have two brothers and a sister. When Shayna passed, they were all here for me. Bit time. They really stepped up. But, we don’t talk about anything substantive most of the time. We’re all friends on Facebook. I sometimes wonder if they read any of the massive amounts of crap I post every day. Just when I think they probably don’t, one of them will comment on a television show I remarked about or a picture of what I made for dinner. When it comes to my blog or the spiritual stuff I post, there’s nothing.
When I do get together with my guy friends, it’s mostly talking about sports. “How’s it going?” is always met with “Great.” Maybe “Oh, really busy.”. Then I find out the truth through the wives. I’ll hear about the upcoming divorce because the women shared it. I’ll hear one of their kids is struggling with serious emotional issues because the wife shared it. The husband didn’t want her to tell anyone. And just in case one of you is reading this and thinks I shared something confidential or your wife shared something you told her not to (fat chance). This has happened more than twice, so I’m not singling anyone out. I have a friend with a fairly serious health issue that he never discusses with me. I get updates from his wife, through Tywana.
A couple of buddies a few weeks ago mentioned starting a book club, like our wives have. My fault. I haven’t made an effort to set it up. I’ll give it a go. I’m not optimistic based on past history. The grief groups I’ve attended have been 90% women. When we’re together and have had a few beers, we always talk about getting together more, but we don’t make it happen.
I don’t know if it’s a guy thing or a societal thing, but it’s a thing. Even on Facebook, I have women reaching out to me all the time. There are several I message with on a regular basis. There is one guy. One. He’s a buddy from about 20 years back.
Men die earlier than women. I’m convinced one of the reasons is all of the stress we try to carry alone. It’s not the way we were designed to be. Many years ago, back when I was still reading Christian self-help books, I read a book called “How People Grow”. I don’t recall much from the book, but one thing I do recall was learning about the concept of interdependence, even before I heard the term in my Buddhist studies. Independence isn’t healthy. We can’t get through life alone. Dependence isn’t healthy. We need to have boundaries and to not be burdens to other people. Interdependence is what is healthy. Mutually relying on each other is the way to get through the storms of life.
So, what am I saying? What’s the bottom line? What am I trying to accomplish with this? I don’t know. Nothing really. It’s just an observation. Nothing will change. Boys will be boys and men will be men.