Maybe we lose sight of the fact that life isn’t just about adding things in constantly, but also subtracting the stuff that has moved us away from our true selves.

For a while, I have felt like there has been a battle going on within me where the man of the past, the man of the present, and the man I am dreaming of becoming are all fighting against each other. They battle it out for control of my actions and thoughts. One side of me reverts when I try to grow. One pushes me forward and tries to ditch the past. The other just stands there completely confused in a whirlpool of dreams and old drama not knowing what to do. And yet, even though turmoil exists, I know that they are battling it out for control…and every time this goes down I am handing my dreams the metal chair to use when needed.

Growing pains are a mixture of something to look for, something to dread, and a feeling that can be just “not fun” at all. You have to force yourself into a new place and get uncomfortable, and really quickly the past – when you were comfortable enough to just get by looks so much more pleasing. Every time I have made major changes in my life these pains come in full and rock me a bit.

I look out onto the landscape today, and by landscape I mean into society, the world, etc…and I see a lot of interesting things happening. I’m going to tell you what I see from my eyes and in no way is this a generalization – but through the lenses I look through…this is what color is coming back.

I’m 25 years old and look around me in my young life and have an unsettling feeling in my stomach. I wonder where our heroes have gone. I see a world infatuated with social media and living in a digital space because it has become an escape from real life. I see groups of friends all on their phone texting other people instead of establishing real relationships with the people right in front of them. I see fear. I see the effects of our “self-esteem” generation breeding entitlement as if the world owed them something for being here. I see a disconnect. And all at the same time I see amazing dreamers, doers, people who create and love. I don’t see these people as much though. I look for them. When I come across them in the real world I grab onto them and rarely let go. I see a very complicated time in a world that is shrinking and growing all at once.

What concerns me the most is that part about the “disconnect.”

The disconnect from each other in talking about the things that really matter and creating the relationships that are much more tangible than someone retweeting you. I worry that the more things we have and the more social we become, the less meaningful the relationships will be.

I’ve been caught in this before – and as the days go by the less time I spend on Facebook and Instagram and the more time I spend on writing out what is inside and talking with people who really do care.

Being a young man in this world is confusing and troubling at times. It’s been that way since middle school. I see and hear constantly about money, women, drinking and stunting and I look at my life and the way I live and wonder at times if I am heading in the right direction. The pull of all these material shallow things is so strong that it makes me for a minute consider doing “what I could do” instead of continuing down the route of “what I should do.” Right vs. easy. What we are capable of doing vs. who we are capable of being. As a writer with one hell of an imagination on him, I know, for the most part, what to say to people to get them to like me or to have a girl show interest…but every time I have done that in the past I left the situation – sometimes without explanation – knowing that it doesn’t match up with who I am trying to become. I know that it’s not me… it’s a hollow shell this outside world is trying to solidify on me from the outside in.

When you are made from the outside in you wake up one day realizing that you have completely and totally lost your identity. You were built by always trying to please other people, by trying to be what others and society wanted you to be, and by focusing on the wrong things. You have lost your way.

The only way to get it back is by turning to the core of it all and working your way out from there. Everything else will follow naturally.

I’ve lost myself many times along this journey, but I have found myself just as much. I have removed myself from love and yet I have had it smack me right in the face. I have spent time on the bad side of life and eventually ripped myself out of the mud and focused on being positive. I have lived this life and experienced many different things…and I know that it will only continue to happen for me: good and bad.

So even though I see all these things going on with the world and the people around me, I also know that it can change. I know this because I have seen myself change. I have seen myself adapt, morph, and perform impossible acts that were only deemed unachievable in my head. This is what gives me great comfort. I know that there are many incredible people out there who believe in similar things I do and who have the capability to change the world.

I know these people exist and I hope that they find it in them to tap into their courage and let it overwhelm their fear.

There’s a shedding of skin, a rebirth of sorts that I am going through. But I am in the place of cracking out of that old shell. Of seeing and breaking habits that used to define me as a person. I hope you see it in yourself that whatever is controlling your life you can overcome it with enough energy and perseverance. You truly can morph and change – sometimes you just have to have this insane belief that it is possible. It may not make sense to other people, but it will make sense to you…and for those who truly love you…them too.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project