December 30, 2010

Manliness Throughout the Year

When I began this blog a little more than a year ago I had been thinking of what to do in defiance of the personal awfulness of 2009. As 2010 draws to a close, leading me to reflect that this year has – I can scarcely credit it – been worse, I am given to reassess what I am doing, and what purpose these humble pages serve, for you and for me. I am much more qualified to judge the importance of this outlet for me than for you, so perhaps you’ll let me know. But just in case anybody is holding his/her breath, let me reassure you that I am set to continue on the path I have cut.

I have reflected a number of times that manliness is tested in the fires of adversity. It’s easy to cut a suave figure of chivalrous demeanour on a flat-calm millpond; it’s how we grit our teeth in the face of an angry sea that really counts. Those calm moments are so much the more convincing if you can still do it once you’ve emerged from a storm. Manly strength, as I’ve opined so many times, has very little to do with outward force and a great deal to do with inner fortitude. What is your tolerance for emotional turmoil, career failure, domestic upheaval, knocks to the confidence, and challenges to your integrity? To what degree can you avoid wandering down paths of little resistance that will compromise your honesty and/or your conscience? How firm is your grip on your identity – are you sure that you should be who you purport to be, or who you desire to be? Isn’t it easier just to give up and go with the flow? To be swept out with the tide and stop resisting the inevitability of fate?


Well, it would be easier, yes, but it wouldn’t be right. And fate is just a poor man’s excuse for his own weakness. If I was defiant a year ago, I see no good reason to be less defiant now. When I sit down to compose the words that fill this site, I am connected with the ideals I set for myself, and with the principles I would be loath to see compromised. Looking over some of the things I have written, I am reminded of the moments of turmoil that I choose not to share with you – for why should you be troubled with them? – and I see that this is my way of remaining resolute. When knocked down, this is how I pick myself up. I am continually reinforcing the hull of my little craft, and let waves of any magnitude come, I shall not be scuppered. If you believe in a thing, you must believe in it most when it seems least likely.

If, along the way, any of this resonates with you good people, so much the better. Here’s to another year of Being Manly, and let’s raise a glass to 2011, whatever she may bring.

7 comments:

  1. Here's to more "inner fortitude" for us all in 2011!! Happy New Year!

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  2. Sorry old boy but we expect you to carry on the good fight. I don't always comment, but I read every post. Sometimes there just isn't any thing to add to a well written piece. So gird your loins and solider on. Have a joyous New Year.

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  3. All the best in the New Year...

    "Better to sink in boundless depths than float on vulgar shoals." H. Melville

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  4. Doctor, you seem like a trimmer, certainly an old and venerable likeness. I expect you shall keep it up, even keel and all, and that it shall be interesting to watch.

    I do have two remarks, however. First, defiance is the attitude for the - momentarily - defeated, apud Churchill. Second - certainly not for the first time - your remarks bring back to me what Hemingway said to Dorothy Parker, asked to explain what having guts means: grace under pressure.

    Happy New Year,
    t

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  5. It's called having faith, my friend, and it can be difficult to hold onto at times. I know exactly where you are coming from and that's probably why I feel I have found a kindred spirit when I read your blog. Here's hoping that 2011 is a banner year for you. Keep up the great posts!
    All the best,
    Jen

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  6. Thanks all - you're a collective tonic.
    VB

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  7. My best to you, my good man, and I'm looking forward to another year (and more) of your posts. I raise my Double Bastard Ale in your honor.

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