A Man’s Freedom A Drug?
Some of our most profound discoveries in life come from some of the most unexpected people and places. On this occasion, join me in Chennai, India. A bustling city of over 10 million people located in the heart of Southern India.
A busy night of bumper to bumper traffic as usual. I hop into a local auto rickshaw, the fun loving three wheeled rides getting us to our destination of choice.
The local language here is Tamil. I’ve grown up hearing the language all my life, spoken by my parents at home. However, I’m still yet to reach an intermediate level of fluency. I had just left a local language school where I aim to work on this skill.
Still, I manage to chat back and forth with the driver about life in the city. Life can be viewed from a whole different vantage point when you leave familiar surroundings.
In Indian culture, marriage is a huge topic of discussion. Especially if you are not yet married. The driver, Raj, turns back and asks, “Marriage happened already?”
I laugh, it feels like this has been the 100th time this week I’ve been asked the same question. “No, not yet.” I say laughing while thinking to myself wtf is everybody in such a rush for me to get married?
However, this time was a bit different as he went on to elaborate. Always keep your ears and eyes open and never judge another person by their position in life. You can learn the greatest lessons from those blending into the shadows among us.
“Don’t wait too long.” He went on to say.
“Really, why do you say that.” I replied, thinking I’ll get the same cookie cutter answer everyone else throws at me.
“I will tell you” he said as he zipped down a side street avoiding the street dogs standing in the middle of the street bold as can be.
He proceeded to tell me his reason, “it is not good for a man’s mind if he has too much freedom for too long.”
Having spent more time than I would like to admit living in the fast lane I could see where he was coming from with this.
“If I take one of these dogs here and tie it up on a leash what do you think will happen? He will not be happy. He will start barking, become rowdy, lash out, and bite someone.”
Damn, the way he said that hit me like a ton of bricks. The freedom that we currently have as a single young man is potent, something so powerful most are unable to handle it.
While these thoughts were clicking in my head like a jigsaw puzzle, he continued to tell me his personal experience. Having waited until he was 35 to get married, he faced a lot of issues settling in to the family life.
You see, the freedom that he had up until 35 allowed his mind to know another life. One where he was solely in control of his time and well-being. This created a great deal of tension and stress when he metaphorically had himself chained to a wife and family.
He shared that he felt like he was going crazy at times, wondering if he had made the right decision. He had many problems early on in his family life as he felt tied up, essentially “barking and biting” at his wife and family.
Our new friend advised me as we reached our destination, “you are in a good place in life, don’t wait to long. Get married soon.” I thanked him for the words of wisdom as I passed him a 100 rupee note.
I headed up to the rooftop to think about this a bit more. There’s nothing like standing on a rooftop in the evening with the stars above you in a city like Chennai.
One of the biggest things Raj the rickshaw driver said was that as a single man, one can develop many less than ideal habits like smoking, drinking, staying out late, and other similar activities.
On this note I can agree 100% with him. I myself have just recently slowed down on all these activities as I entered into my early 30's.
However, I personally made the decision to not go back to poor habits that no longer serve me.
I also began to see how even without destructive habits, a person can become almost intoxicated by having such a level of freedom that assimilating to the family life can become a shock to the system.
Sure, everyone can use a little therapy and relaxation from time to time. Personally, I’ve chosen to go all in on my goals and have no problem hitting the pause button on that stuff for now.
I also, realize that this single decision is what a lot of men also struggle with. What I don’t agree with is that getting married and starting a family is the answer to correcting personal negative habits.
I know close friends and family that are married, have kids and are more reckless now than ever before. Even as a lifelong freedom fighter, I also plan to eventually settle into the family life. Only time will tell.
On the rooftop, I reached a realization that everything draws back to a man’s energy and how he manages and invests this energy.
Our new friend was dead on that a single man can easily slip into poor habits. Still, that is a choice.
My personal point of view is that a man should be his best self whether he is single or has a wife and family.
How does one become their best self? By managing their energy and channeling it into productive areas in life.
We’ve all got the same amount of time and similar buckets to fill with this time. The work that we put in to growing ourselves is not something we did. We achieve our strongest and best selves by what we do, day in and day out.
We grow through repetition.
To wrap things up we’ve learned a valuable lesson here from our new friend. Whether you are single or married, the energy you have can either work for you or against you.
Single men have more freedom which can be a double-edged sword if not handled wisely.
This freedom can be like a drug, destructive to one’s life. This same freedom can also be the greatest gift you will ever hold, allowing you to build an even stronger future for not only yourself but those closest to you.
The choice is yours to make. I hope you make the best of it.
Until next time, keep pushing and progressing..
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.