The Brain 
Responses of
 Mothers and
 Fathers are Not so Different

The neurobiology of fatherhood in humans seems to be similar to the neurobiology of motherhood, involving two brain systems – a “motivational” system that refers to the drive to nurture offspring, and an “empathy” system that refers to the ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others.

Brain responses of mothers and fathers to pictures or videos of their infants overlap. Increased activity is found in parts of the brain associated with reward, motivation and empathy. In one study, increased activity in brain reward systems correlated with the father’s active engagement in caregiving, as reported by the mother. In another study, fathers shown pictures of their own newborns experienced more activation of empathy and reward systems than when shown pictures of unknown newborns. In another study, a new father’s self-reported positive thoughts about their infant correlated with reward system activation in response to their infant’s cries.

Future research will look at other brain responses in fathers – to a child’s laughter, speech and movements.

There is growing evidence that these changes are linked with the hormones that are produced when fathers care for their children.

The key difference between human mothers and fathers is the degree of variability in fatherhood. Active motherhood almost always follows after birth, whilst fatherhood is activated only when circumstances require or allow it and even then it is highly variable. In societies with small family units living apart from extended family networks, and in families with scarce resources, paternal involvement is highly necessary.

When fatherhood is activated, similar neural processes take place as in mothers. It is as if so-called “parental instincts” reside in all humans and are activated when circumstances require.

It is interesting to note that only in 5% of mammalian species are fathers actively engaged in caring for their young in the wild (e.g. some primates and rodents in particular). As in humans, this paternal behaviour involves similar brain processes as maternal behaviour.

But when animals are held in captivity and in different conditions, fathers can become more active, suggesting that perhaps parental brain systems exist in many male mammals, and can be activated when an active paternal role is desirable or possible.

Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology at Emory University, USA, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

This post was previously published on and is republished here under a creative commons license 4.0.


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Responses of
 Mothers and
 Fathers are Not 
so Different appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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Does Your Current Age End in Nine?

Did you know that someone who is forty-nine is about three times more likely to run a marathon than someone who’s just a year older? According to Daniel Pink in his brilliant book, When; The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, that’s a fact, Jack.

Likewise, twenty-nine-year olds are about twice as likely to run a marathon as twenty-eight-year olds or thirty-year-olds. And, according to the same study done by social scientists Adam Alter and Hal Hershfield, people who are at the end of a life decade (e.g. 29, 39, 49) are overrepresented among first-time marathoners by a whopping 48%.

Now, I personally have zero interest in running a marathon. But I am intrigued by the idea that when a person’s age nears the end of a life decade, the research suggests that they tend to crank up their efforts a bit in the old goals department.

I enjoyed reading about this phenomenon in Pink’s book. Apparently, Alter and Hershfield even came up with the term “9-enders” to describe people in the last year of a life decade.

“Reaching the end of a decade,” Pink explains, “somehow rattles people’s thinking and redirects their actions.”

Or, put another way: 9-enders get stuff done.

Mind you, what one gets done in the home stretch of a life decade isn’t always for the best. Alter and Hershfield’s research also discovered that the suicide rate was higher for 9-enders than it was for people whose ages ended in any other digit.

Likewise with cheating! On the Ashley Madison extramarital-affair website, nearly one in 8 men were 29, 39, 49 or 59…which is about 8% higher than chance would predict.

Alter and Hershfield admit the energizing effect of the end of a decade doesn’t make logical sense. “The earth doesn’t care about keeping track of our age,” they say. “But people do because we have short lives. We keep track to see how we are doing.”

Pink suggests that “What the end of a decade seems to trigger, for good and for ill, is a reenergized pursuit of significance.

When I thought back to what my 49th year held for me, I couldn’t help but wonder if these guys were on to something. Three months after I turned 49 (in 2017), I finally sold the home I’d been living in (and griping about) for 7 years, put my belongings into storage and hit the road with my dog for 18 months.

When my mom turned 49 (in 1974), she divorced my father after 18 years of marriage and proceeded to raise 4 kids on her own.

How about you? Have you experienced a significant year when you reached the end of a life decade?

Originally Published on Pink Gazelle

ID: 137554625

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Men, Embracing Your Female Side Does not Emasculate You

Men seem afraid of their female side. We seem to have a cultural aversion to being seen as wimpy or gay if we embrace the side that has traits associated with women. My good friend expresses this apprehension in the way he jokes about being in touch with his feminine side. He likes to say;

“I embrace the woman inside of me and, thankfully, she is a lesbian.”

Some time ago a tennis acquaintance told me his wife was sure I was gay. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being gay, but, for a moment, my old defense mechanism fired up like it used to when I lived in an orphanage many years ago during a period when it was an anathema for a man to be considered a homosexual. In those days, none of the boys in the orphanage could call me gay and get away without a bloody lip. Returning to the present moment, I realized this uninvited revelation was more about my acquaintance and his wife not being able to recognize a man in full bloom.

I should not have been surprised. Ever since I became more open to my spiritual guidance, people tell me I became softer like because of my sensitivity to the feelings of others. I am happy to hear this because, for many decades, I lived believing showing any kind of feeling was a sign of weakness. This kept me distant from everyone and, deep down inside, I was lonely.

It is vital for men to embrace their female side to become whole. This isn’t a statement judging females to be better than males; it is just as important for women to embrace their male side, but men seem more anxious of accepting their other side for fear of being seen as weak for doing so.

I deal with that fear, but I am sure this is my ego talking. This perception of weakness is not real, embracing my female side does not emasculate me, it makes me open-hearted.
I don’t know why the choice to love and accept others is called our female side, but there is nothing soft about embracing this side of our true character. It takes courage to be kind and generous, to accept and honor others even when they differ from you. It is not always easy to buck the trends of society in favor of a more humane and ethical approach. It can be very hard to stand up for what you believe, especially when speaking truth to power. It is challenging to forgive those who have hurt you.

Embracing all of you does not emasculate you, it brings light to darkness; it makes you a better man. Likewise, it makes you a better woman when you embrace you as well.

As always, wishing a life filled with joy, love, and serenity.

Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Rise of the Uniballer Part III: One Ball, Many Questions

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, a cause that is very close to my heart—or more accurately—my groin. In an effort to spread awareness, I’ll be sharing the story of my testicular cancer diagnosis in a four-part series here on my weekly column. It’s the saga you never knew you needed to hear. The journey began with Part I: Lefty’s Rebellion and continued with Part II: Many Hands Make Light Work.

This week picks up right after my doctor tells me that I will have to entirely lose my left testicle due to suspected testicular cancer.

“Look, I’m going to be straight with you. Based on the ultrasound and what I just felt, you have testicular cancer. We’re going to have to remove the left testicle as soon as possible.”

Remove my left testicle? That’s not what he meant. Surely, he must have misspoken.

“Dr. D, you said you needed to remove my testicle. Do you mean the mass around it?”

“Unfortunately, we have to take the whole thing.”

“But—what if it’s not cancer? Shouldn’t we do a biopsy first? This all seems a little drastic.”

He explained to me that due to the anatomy of the scrotum, you can’t do a biopsy of a suspected mass. While I don’t remember exactly why, it had something to do with throwing off my equilibrium and possibly spreading cancerous cells faster.

I suppose I did want to avoid the whole cancer-spreading thing. Yet, I had still had some more questions about this testicle removal business.

“So when you say as soon as possible. Are we talking like a week or two?”

“Well, not quite. More like tomorrow. Testicular cancer is highly aggressive, and we need to get this out as soon as possible.”

This conversation was occurring on a Wednesday evening. Grasping for an out, I said I couldn’t get off work with such little notice, but deep down I was debating going through with the surgery at all.

I had grown rather attached to my testicles over the past 25 years, although, I suppose it’s more accurate to say they had grown attached to me. I wasn’t ready to give one of them up quite yet. I told Dr. D that I needed some time to think.

“Take as much time as you need, but you need to make a decision soon. You’ve been smart up to this moment.”

Take my time, but make a fast decision? Seemed kind of contradictory to me. I drove home in a haze, wondering what life would be like without one testicle.

Would it feel weird?

What would it look like?

Would it increase my odds of winning the Tour de France?

As soon as I got home, I broke down in tears. With the benefit of writing this piece about two and a half years after this event, I can say that this was one of only two times I would cry during my cancer experience—the other occurring much later in the journey, for a more serious fear. However, this was the worst outcome I could think of at the time. More questions, but no answers.

Would I be less of a man?

Would I be the epitome of having “no balls?”

Would I now be eligible for a walk-on role in “Two and a Half Men?”

I decided that while I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the surgery, it was a choice between life (with one testicle) or death (from cancer). While neither were exactly ideal, I decided that life as a half-sack was better than no life at all.

Later that night, I called Dr. D back and told him I would begrudgingly go through with the surgery. He said he couldn’t even imagine having to make such a hard decision, but he knew it was a smart one. He also inquired if I could do it on Friday morning. I’ve got to hand it to him—the guy really knew how to drive a hard bargain.

Long story short, I managed to make arrangements to get off work. It’s funny how quickly you can get a day of leave approved when you mention cancer and emergency surgery. I was wheeled into a prep room that Friday morning.

Dr. D explained the procedure, which was different from I had anticipated. Instead of flaying my scrotum open like an even more terrifying Venus flytrap, he’d make an incision on my hip and essentially suck the testicle out from the canal it had dropped down from when I was an fetus.

Before I was taken out of the prep room, the anesthesiologist began counting me back from ten. However, I remember having a bit of a smirk on my face. The last thought I had before going fully under was that I had inadvertently become a prophet.

After all, since becoming a member of working-class America, how many times had I cracked a joke that I would give my left nut for a three-day weekend?

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We Men Must Learn How to Grieve (Everything)

In 2010, I spent 12 months in a purple SUV Dodge Durango crisscrossing North America on the most wondrous adventure with five other men, five brilliant musical shamans forever my brothers.

That purple Durango – which anyone not color blind (like me) would always insist was blue – held us safe as we made magical memories for ourselves and thousands of others brought together and forever bound by the heart-stirring sounds of this band’s immortal music. It brought us to Burning Man, dusty and delighted, three times. Later, as I made the long, difficult journey towards a stable life in Los Angeles, on a few nights when I had nowhere else to go, I slept safely inside her quiet embrace.

For six years that truck was the purple/blue cocoon in which my caterpillar Life was forever transformed and eventually took flight as a writer read by millions, a life coach to men and women across the planet, and life partner to the most exquisite and extraordinary woman I know (that SUV drove me to our first date).

Just a year ago, I sold it when fixing it (again) would finally cost more than it was worth.

At the dealership, as I moved into my new car the things I wanted to keep from the truck – old concert fliers stuffed into cracking backseat pockets, the 4-port phone-charger that kept us all from arguing over who’s phone needed charging most, the wooden rolling pin I bought to massage my back after it gave out one night on the road between concerts in Salt Lake City and Portland – a massive tsunami of sadness suddenly welled up inside me, painfully overwhelming my usually calm and placid emotional waters.

It felt like I was ditching an old friend to an uncertain fate at the hands of people who couldn’t possibly appreciate his incalculable value.

Before I pulled away in my sharp and sensible new Kia hybrid, I sat and gazed upon my old companion for a good while, appreciating, remembering, smiling, crying.

When I got home to Silvy, for the rest of that evening my body was repeatedly rocked with convulsive, tear-drenched waves of unprocessed, as-yet-unfelt grief.

To my complete surprise, I was finally grieving what had passed four years ago: The end of our daily brotherhood and the death of our collective dream.

The fact that we men rarely let ourselves grieve – do we even know how? – is one of the most debilitating realities of modern life. Even after events like death, we’ll still (mostly) stuff down the pain.

And there is so much to grieve.

A few years ago, I worked with a young couple daily torn apart by the sunset.

They surfed most days in Malibu, and each day come sunset the woman inevitably became sad. The day was over, and her body was grieving it. Which infuriated her partner, because in his mind, “It doesn’t make sense why she has to be so godd*mn sad about something that happens everyday!”

I know it doesn’t make sense.

Yet we men must learn to grieve our own versions of the setting sun.

Our relationships with others is at stake. And also our felt sense – our actual experience of being human – depends on our ability to grieve.

I have a beautiful life. Truly, I am blessed with a beautiful and generously spirited woman, a cozy spacious home, work that I love, countless friends that inspire me, and more.

Yet I ache to live closer to my three sisters, whom I love dearly, and who are irreversibly scattered across the continent. My yearning for that closeness will never be satisfied.

My father is a good man, and even though our relationship is getting better these days, that does little to quiet the rage inside me that rails against both him and a world that left me alone at age 4 to find my own way into adulthood largely without a father.

I’ve found that allowing myself to grieve – to feel my anger, and my sadness – helps immensely with any experience of loss, whether significant or mundane.

I’ve also discovered the transition from single man to partnered-man can benefit from grieving, too, even though that partnership is exquisite.

Grieving not over some perceived loss of freedom, because let’s be honest: We men don’t generally feel that “free” when single, either.

Real relationship requires that we shed the relatively safe and unburdened one-person system of living for the more intricate challenges of a two-person system where self-concern can no longer be the singular concern of our choices and we must learn to take responsibility for others.

To fully show up for real relationship we must grieve what was before so we can fully let it go from our hearts, and allow ourselves to fully, enthusiastically, embrace the bonded dance of relationship with another.

When we don’t allow ourselves to grieve, everything suffers.

About a year ago, I called my dad while driving. Silvy was in the car. When we hung up, I felt like I often felt (at that time) after talking with him: disappointed and unseen. Silvy felt me, and told me it was ok to pull over to cry. “No way,” I thought. “We’ve got somewhere to be.” … the grocery store 😐

My relationship with Silvy suffers when I don’t allow myself to grieve. I pretend I’m not hurting when I am deeply hurting, and she feels my lack of emotional integrity, and it hurts her. Because when I don’t allow myself to hurt, I don’t (can’t) allow her to hurt, either. Certainly not for a sunset … or anything, really.

Our resistance to grieving causes our bodies to calcify around the painful emotions stuck inside.

Whether or not I’m aware of it (usually I’m not), my partner surely is, particularly when my emotional stuckness shows up as a cold, shutdown indifference that confuses, even frightens her (“where the hell did he just go!?”).

There is immense power and freedom unleashed through a practice of grieving, which can be as simple as allowing sadness to have you for a time, even a short time, when it arises.

Perhaps it is my age, 44.

Perhaps it is the ever-deepening experiencing of my humanity.

Whatever it is, it feels good to grieve, though it hurts.

I feel refreshed.

Somehow stronger. Reinvigorated

Ready, and fully present, for whatever adventures Life wants to bring me next.

“Everything you have ever done has ended. Life is a prolonged farewell. Grief is the process that finishes things. The end of grief work is to be born again. So to live well is to grieve well.” 

John Bradshaw (Healing the Shame That Binds You)

This post was previously published on and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Amazing $1 Street Food in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hey there, you legend, thanks for tuning in! Today is a really big day for me, because I’ve just launched my new project – a food channel, called: “Food Explorior”. It would mean the world if you’d check out the content we’re producing there and, of course, smashed that subscribe button haha. Right here: let me know what you think!

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Living As Joy

If we don’t enjoy connecting with ourselves, connection “outside of us” may become much more appealing by comparison.

This may lead to beautiful and expansive “external” explorations of desire.

And it may also lead to desperation and addiction.

Void filling.

Many of our desires may be an attempt to compensate for a sense of disconnection within.

But what does connection with ourselves even mean?

What would the opposite of void filling be?

We may try to “fill ourselves up” with self-love, self-care.

But even this is an act of filling.

And what else can be filled but a void?

Or the illusion of a void?.

What happens when we don’t attempt to fill anything with anything?

What becomes of the void when it may simply be the void?

In the absence of resistance, in the absence of the violence of attempting to change what is, the void, the unknown, may “transform” from absolute terror to infinite potential and joy.

The terror may not go away, but we may no longer experience it as negative.

It simply is.

Because we are simply allowing what is to be as it is.

This is intimate, inspiring connection with ourselves.

This is living as joy.

Everything we experience embodies this joy.

Because this joy has embodied us.

And our body, the void, as it is, never was, and is All.

A version of this post was originally posted on and is republished here with permission from the author. 

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It’s OK to Hate Being Chronically Ill

There are a lot of disability advocates out there promoting how disability and neurodiversity can be an excellent addition to the world, enrich our lives and be a boon to society.

This is, in my opinion, an excellent conversation to be having.

After all, there is so much negative language surrounding disabilities and neurodiversity. We talk about people being “confined” to a wheelchair when they might as well see themselves as being liberated by their wheelchair. We talk about people “suffering” from autism when, I for one, do no such thing.

I don’t see my autism as an illness, it’s a condition I happen to have and it makes me who I am – the good bits and the bad.

But the same doesn’t go for my Tourette’s. I see my Tourette’s as an illness. It’s a chronic and incurable pain in the arse.

I hate it. It’s done me no good. It’s made it hard to find work and keep work when I’ve got work. It’s made life awkward, embarrassing and oftentimes physically painful. It cost me one relationship when an ex decided to tell me she thought I was “putting on” my tics because I’d read about Tourette’s somewhere.

Opinions differ across the community. Some people with Tourette’s wouldn’t want to do away with it at all, saying it makes them who they are. Other people go through extensive treatments and therapies to try to rid themselves of their most problematic tics.

What I’m trying to say is, it’s all right to embrace one aspect of your neurodiversity and dislike another aspect of your neurodiversity. It’s all right to hate being chronically ill. It’s all right to love and hate your difference at the same time.

Being neurodiverse in a neurotypical world is difficult. All opinions and feelings are valid.

Originally Published on How to Have Tourette’s

ID: 1359685439

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This is Why Your Life Sucks

This is Why Your Life Sucks

“Could you explain a little more about what you mean by core values?” Lisa asked.


I think most people, including me, lack the ability to summarize their core values, and then shitty things happen afterward, and then we all struggle with trying to figure out why.

But THIS IS WHY the shitty thing happened. Because we don’t know what our values are.

Since we can’t go back in time, the only reasonable choice is to try to make tomorrow better than today.

Our inability to identify our values means we don’t REALLY know who we. And that prevents us from being able to communicate it accurately to others.

And that’s a problem. This non-programmed and ill-defined Life Navigation System is incapable of getting us to our desired destination without blind luck. Thus, whenever we’re not experiencing good luck that we may or may not have earned, life sucks.

I’ve been hammering on this point lately and it’s not just because I think I know things (I don’t), but rather because whatever personal advancements I’ve made in the past three years can be directly attributed to me honing in on my values and learning how to enforce my personal boundaries.

And on the flipside, everything about my life that sucks can be directly attributed to not honoring (or not knowing) my values in certain life areas, or compromising my boundaries (usually because it’s “easier” in the moment, even though we always pay for it later).

“What are Values and Boundaries? This Sounds Like Psychobabble.”

The words “values” and “boundaries” are the kind of words that always sounded like bullshit to me. They don’t sound like they mean anything. They’re just words adults used when I was growing up when they were droning on and on about things that weren’t fun to listen to, and if I HAD listened to them, I’d have had less fun.

Or would I have?

When I was young, I didn’t feel motivated to explore ideas like this or learn new things because everything was always good. I was healthy and safe. I felt loved by family and accepted by friends. All of my needs were met. Because I never wanted for things, I never had to ask myself how to get something I wanted, and then go through the growth process and hard work necessary to achieve it.

But then, almost exactly three years ago (April 1) my wife left, and my son didn’t live at home all the time anymore. I was sad, angry and ashamed.

I was nothing like the happy and confident person I used to see in the mirror back when nothing was wrong.

I was a broken, crying, terrified shell of that kid. If I’m not that person anymore, who the hell am I?

I didn’t matter, and I knew it.

I was weak, and I knew it.

I wasn’t worth a woman’s love or desire, and I knew it.

Those were hard truths to accept, but life is really hard sometimes. After a lifetime of mostly blaming others for anything that ever went wrong because it’s so much easier than raising your hand and accepting responsibility, I finally asked the right questions:

How did I get here? What could I have done differently to prevent this?

The answer is simple enough: I didn’t always live my values, and I didn’t always enforce my boundaries.

Suddenly, these “bullshit” concepts skyrocketed to the top of my This Stuff Really Matters list.

Here are two of my favorite explanations for these critical life concepts.

Here’s Debra Smouse at Tiny Buddha on VALUES:

Values are who YOU are, not who you think you should be in order to fit in.

Why is naming your values important?

Values are the backbone of life. They are the beacons on our path—in personal life and in business. When you identify your values and get clear with them, something magical happens: They come alive in ways you haven’t even imagined and illuminate and nurture your entire life from the inside out.

If we don’t know what’s important to us, we spend a lot of time wandering and wondering what we should be doing. There is tremendous power in discovering and living according to our highest values, and experiencing inner peace as the natural consequence.

Here’s Mark Manson on BOUNDARIES:

Healthy Personal Boundaries = Taking responsibility for your own actions and emotions, while NOT taking responsibility for the actions or emotions of others.

People with poor boundaries typically come in two flavors: those who take too much responsibility for the emotions/actions of others, and those who expect others to take too much responsibility for their own emotions/actions.

Why Does This Matter?

It matters because our lives suck sometimes, and outside of grieving the deaths of loved ones or developing a disease impossible to prevent, it’s pretty much always our fault. We feel INFINITELY more confident and in control of our lives once we accept this truth.

Your wife left you because you were a shitty husband.

Your kids rebelled because you made missteps as their parent.

You lost your job because you failed to make yourself indispensable.

You got sick because you make unhealthy choices.

You don’t have money because you’re unwilling to put in the work or take the risks it requires.

Your boyfriends always cheat and treat you like crap because you don’t love and respect yourself enough to not date men like that.

Bad things happen. And we really feel them because negative emotions tend to register more prominently with us than positive ones.

“A major reason for the more noticeable role of negative emotions is that they possess greater functional value. The risks of responding inappropriately to negative events are greater than the risks of responding inappropriately to positive events, since negative events can kill us while positive events will merely enhance our well-being,” Dr. Aaron Ben-Zeév wrote in Psychology Today.

Maybe everyone else grew up faster than I did, but I was in my 30s before recognizing that the common denominator in most of my life problems was me.

Because I want to feel happy (the real happy that comes from internal peace absent fear, guilt, anxiety and shame) more than I want most things, I made the choice to try to define my core values, honestly communicate my boundaries to others, and then ENFORCE them.

That means, when someone I just met at my birthday gathering says something that genuinely offends me and contradicts my core values, she and I will have a totally uncomfortable and not-fun conversation right in front of everyone, and then when she tries to play nice later and reach out to me via Facebook Messenger in an attempt to score a date, I don’t consider it, even though that’s something I probably would have done just three years ago when I was desperate to feel liked and wanted.

Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.

Mahatma Gandhi.

Your core values are who you are when no one’s watching. Your core values are what you do and say because it’s your truth, and not what you do to win the approval of your friends, family, co-workers, classmates, neighbors or romantic interests.

Your core values are THE REAL YOU, not who we think we should be so people will like us.

When we live our values and enforce our boundaries, the only people in our inner circles end up being people who share (or at least respect) our values, don’t attempt to manipulate or take advantage of us, don’t bring unwanted drama into our lives, and who love, respect and accept us for who we REALLY are (and not because of what we do for them).



Not the bullshit nonsense I once chalked them up to be, but rather ideas with the power to change everything. For the better.

More on Values and How to Define Them

From Dawn Barclay at Living Moxie: How to Define Your Core

From How to Find Your Values


More on Boundaries and Why They Matter

From Mark Manson: The Guide to Strong Boundaries

Originally appeared on Must Be This Tall to Ride.

Photo by Shutterstock.

The post This is Why Your Life Sucks appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project

I Want Superpowers

I’m not sure when exactly it became cool to be into superheroes, but my “I told you so’s” in 1989 when Tim Burton’s Batman came out certainly didn’t seem to help my cause any.  When Avengers 2 came out a few years ago, I was the first one in line.  Well, once the crowds thinned out a bit.

Whether you know Stan Lee’s original origin story for Thor or just think Chris Hemsworth looks pretty good dressed as a Viking, everybody has at one point or another wished they had superpowers. It’s part of the appeal of these movies. Who has never wanted super-strength or the ability to fly?

When I was young I would have used my powers for good. I’d have chased down bad guys and saved people from burning buildings. Flight, super-speed, laser-eyes; these are the powers I would have wanted. At some point, invisibility would have been my pick, but that’s just because twelve-year-old boys are little perverts. All of them.

As I grew older, I got more selfish. There comes an age when you still feel invincible but it becomes increasingly clear that you are not. I went to a lot of funerals for too many young people in my late teens and early twenties. A healing factor or some type of invulnerability would have been high on my list.

At thirty I would have wanted to time travel. It’s not a conventional superpower, usually achieved only with a machine, but not completely unheard of. The X-Men have been going back in time and getting do-overs for years. I had quite a few things I would have changed about my twenties.

Last week my wife and I picked up Alaina at a park, where she was playing with two of her cousins. After twenty minutes or so of the three kids playing beautifully in a sandbox, my brother’s two-year-old son stood up, walked over to an area covered in woodchips, calmly laid down, and did nothing but roll around until he was filthy. It was hysterical because it wasn’t my kid but also had me wondering what the hell he was thinking. Was he scratching an itch, looking for a reaction from his mom, pretending to be a steamroller? Did it just seem like a fun idea? I want to know.

Now that I am a husband and a father, the superpower I want is telepathy. I am completely fascinated by the ongoing development of Alaina’s thought process. I want to know what goes through her three-year-old mind. What level of complexity is actually in there? How much does she understand of the world around her? Why isn’t she more scared of it? Does she really mess with me as much as I think she does?

I’d have to use it sparingly with the wife and teenager, with a secondary power of very thick skin, but how much better of a husband and father could I be with an occasional peek inside their heads? Some inside knowledge of what they really wanted and expected of me? I have a secret for you ladies. As dense as you think men are, we’re probably even worse at figuring you out than you think.

So there you have it, Beyonders, Celestials, and other empowering space gods, I’ll take telepathy, please. (If you want to throw in a little anti-aging or extra energy I’ll take that too.)

Previously published on Musings of a Thirsty Daddy

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The post I Want Superpowers appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project