When do we know we’ve become men?

posted by Eivind on March 19, 2013, at 11:51 am

handWhen do we know we’ve become men? When is it that we’re no longer boys, but adults who have arrived on the shores of full-blown manhood?

For years now, I’ve been feeling the back and forth between boyhood and manhood inside of me. This entire website has been sourced in my inner search for my adult self. I’ve become so intimate with the changing forms of my inner landscape that I can now feel the difference between being a boy and a man as a totally visceral experience. I have kept shifting between them for years.

Yesterday, I had an experience of sitting in a cafe working on my laptop. I’ve always been a bit ashamed of my hands. I’ve judged them to be quite effeminate and delicate hands. Big worker hands don’t run in the family. Yet yesterday, as I sat in that cafe working, feeling the afternoon sun warm my face through the window, I looked down on my hands. And in that moment, a simple recognition arose in me. I was looking at the hands of a man.

So how do we know that we’ve become men? Some people say “when I became a father”. Others say “when I started living my purpose”. Most say “I don’t know”. I identify with being in that latter group, but it’s a not-knowing filled with wonder and awe. Yet in that simple moment of looking down on my hands, somehow I knew.

And as all things in life, this too will change. Yet, there is something enduring here. Something which is not fleeting. It’s a simple experience. Nothing fancy. And it’s what I’ve been wanting for so long.

Now, over to you. When did you know you were a man? Or do you not yet consider yourself as one? Curious to hear.