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Are You Struggling From Comfortable Suburban Dad Syndrome?


With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve determined to republish a basic piece every Sunday to assist our newer readers uncover a few of the greatest, evergreen gems from the previous. This text was initially printed in August 2021.

Years in the past, I discovered myself at Kate’s ten-year highschool reunion. As I surveyed the room of her former classmates, I seen a dichotomy within the trajectories that the women and men had taken. By and enormous, the ladies had saved themselves up; they nonetheless appeared vibrant, engaged, and in form, even when they’d had just a few youngsters by that point. The years had not been as form to nearly all of dudes, nonetheless. Many have been already chubby, out-of-shape, and searching fairly schlubby and lifeless behind the eyes. 

It was then {that a} moniker for the situation that gave the impression to be besetting these males got here to my thoughts: Comfortable Suburban Dad Syndrome.

Within the years since, I’ve seen SSDS present itself in loads of my friends, and every so often, sadly, in myself as properly. Comfortable Suburban Dad Syndrome develops within the many years after a person graduates from faculty, will get married, has youngsters, establishes his profession, and, whether or not or not he actually settles down within the suburbs, strikes additional and additional into the outskirts of a dynamic and adventurous life. With the passage of time, and the eroding of youth, the lots of males pretty hand over on life and lose their edge. 

Marriage, household, white collar work, suburbia, and maturity usually don’t invariably result in a degradation in virility, vitality, and manliness. However until an intentional, lively effort is made to domesticate a countervailing power, such duties and routines are inclined to result in a busyness, inertia, stagnation, and malaise that may enervate one’s pursuits, mollify one’s penchant for problem and progress, and extinguish the hearth within the stomach.

The parts of that countervailing power have been totally defined in AoM’s most basic and epic article: Semper Virilis: A Roadmap to Manhood within the twenty first Century. However a useful first step to following that roadmap is diagnosing whether or not you’re affected by Comfortable Suburban Dad Syndrome your self, and which signs you most want to deal with. So beneath we provide 50 questions for self-examination, organized into the totally different areas of life the place SSDS can crop up. Learn; mirror; work out the place you wish to push again on the domesticating defaults many guys sink into as they transition from younger buck to mature man; and resolve the way you may change with a view to keep your power — bodily, psychological, and social — into previous age.

Bodily

Literal softness constitutes the very tangible epicenter of Comfortable Suburban Dad Syndrome. Because the post-college years go by, males usually turn out to be increasingly sedentary. Testosterone, muscle, and vitality go down, whereas physique fats goes up. This may flip right into a destructive cycle, the place the extra overweight you turn out to be, the much less you wish to transfer, and the much less you progress, the extra weight you achieve.

Sustaining your bodily prowess is greater than a matter of well being; power and toughness (two qualities that are each very important, and never an identical) impacts each different side of your life as properly, out of your confidence and the way you present up at work and in relationships, to what actions and pursuits you’re able to pursuing, to the upkeep of your psychological well-being. As such, getting and staying in good bodily situation represents the very basis of preventing SSDS and main a significant, fulfilling life.

1. Do you do at the very least 60 minutes of bodily exercise every single day?

2. Have you ever gotten your testosterone examined — and is it at a wholesome stage?

3. Is your waist larger than 40 inches?

4. Are you able to maintain a squat for 30 seconds?

5. Are you able to hold from a bar for 30 seconds?

6. Are you able to do at the very least 5 pull-ups?

7. Are you able to choose up your physique weight and carry it for distance?

8. Are you able to standing lengthy bounce your individual peak?

9. Are you able to bench press your body weight?

10. Are you able to deadlift 150% of your body weight?

11. Are you able to get off the bottom with out utilizing your arms?

12. What’s the ratio between the time you spend watching different males play sports activities and the time you spend enjoying sports activities your self?

13. When was the final time you pushed your self so onerous you couldn’t assist however put your arms in your knees?

14. When was the final time you probably did a flat-out dash?

15. When was the final time you crawled on the bottom?

16. When was the final time you jumped as much as one thing? Down from one thing?

17. When was the final time you climbed one thing apart from a ladder?

18. When was the final time you probably did an explosive motion — kettlebell swing, plyometrics, and so on? 

19. When was the final time you felt you couldn’t do yet one more repetition of a weightlifting train, however dug deep and floor out one other rep anyway?

20. Do you spend at the very least an hour of time exterior every day, or do you spend extra time inside than the typical jail inmate?

21. When was the final time you probably did a exercise exterior a climate-controlled constructing?

22. When was the final time you swam in a pure physique of water?

23. What number of miles did you stroll over non-man-made surfaces final week?

24. What number of miles do you suppose you can stroll in a day — might you make it fifty?

25. When was the final time you probably did one thing that actually made you bodily uncomfortable?

Psychological

The ironic factor about Comfortable Suburban Dad Syndrome, is that issues soften up . . . as a result of they harden up. With age, a kind of sluggish, progressive means of petrification takes place; not solely do our bodily actions turn out to be constricted and calcified, however so does our considering. 

If you have been younger, you most likely had deep discussions with your folks, journaled your reflections, learn, studied, contemplated — and altered and refined your concepts because of this. Sadly, most individuals really feel that after they get their faculty diploma, their life’s schooling is completed. They cease studying; they begin passively accepting ready-made solutions from the media; they outsource their considering to others. As a result of they reject new psychological inputs, their concepts turn out to be stagnant and finally set like cement.

Studying shouldn’t be a one-and-done factor that ends along with your formal education, however a lifelong pursuit. Preserving your thoughts sharp means committing to being an ever-curious autodidact, irrespective of your age.

26. How usually do you are feeling bored?

27. When was the final time you modified your opinion about one thing?

28. When was the final time you learn a complete e book?

29. When was the final time you learn a piece of philosophy?

30. When was the final time you learn, and completed, a e book you really discovered difficult?

31. When was the final time you spent greater than 5 minutes, with out distraction, merely fascinated about an thought?

32. When was the final time you wrote one thing, simply since you needed to — a poem, an essay, a journal entry?

33. When was the final time you discovered a brand new talent?

34. Do you might have a interest?

35. Do you interact in any pursuits you may sincerely name “inventive”?

Social

In highschool and faculty, it’s straightforward to have a sturdy social circle; you’re surrounded by friends on a regular basis, and don’t must put in a lot effort to keep up friendships. In some ways, this expertise “spoils” males; having by no means discovered to be intentional with relationships whereas rising up, they battle in maturity to make and hold buddies. 

When work, partner, and children fill your life, it takes really deliberate effort to keep up relationships exterior the household unit. Absent this effort, males are inclined to let friendships fall by the wayside, relying completely on their wives for social interplay and emotional assist. Such a dynamic is fragile, unsatisfying, and opposite to the male make-up, which advanced to spend ample time in a “gang” of different males. 

36. You continue to rely your buddies from highschool and faculty as your greatest buddies — however have you ever really saved in common contact with them?

37. When was the final time you referred to as or texted an previous pal simply to catch up?

38. Do you might have just a few shut, native buddies who you are able to do issues with on a day-to-day foundation?

39. In case you had an issue, do you might have a pal you can name as much as discuss it?

40. Are you part of, or have tried to start out, a barely extra formal group of males organized round some exercise or curiosity?

Miscellaneous

Not all of the areas during which a person can fall sufferer to Comfortable Suburban Dad Syndrome and during which he’ll wish to keep his edge fall neatly into the above classes. However these questions are equally price reflection:

41. When was the final time you took a real threat, whether or not social, monetary, skilled, bodily, or in any other case?

42. When was the final time you probably did one thing that actually made you nervous?

43. When was the final time you undertook an outing/journey you can legitimately describe as an journey?

44. Do you might have future plans for endeavor one thing that would legitimately be described as an journey?

45. What number of hours a day are you on some type of display?

46. In case you made an inventory of all of the tactical, survival, and DIY expertise you’re adept at, how lengthy would that checklist be?

47. Do you search to reside merely and minimally, or have you ever collected quite a lot of stuff that weighs you down?

48. When was the final time you entered a contest — athletic or in any other case? 

49. Do you presently have any objectives you’re working in direction of?

50. Do you might have a robust sense of your life’s function?

Combating Comfortable Suburban Dad Syndrome doesn’t imply attempting to strategy each stage of life precisely as you probably did as a younger man. A person’s life cycle has distinct seasons, and it’s unwise to disregard the adjustments in temper, wishes, quantity/extent of duties, and easy physiological realities that every season brings. As you age, you’ll discover sure actions roughly rewarding than you as soon as did; you’ll have much less to realize and extra to lose in taking dangers; you’ll perceive extra about what you really love to do, wish to do, and might do. Nonetheless, attaining actual success throughout each season is premised on discovering new horizons befitting the stage you’re in, not letting change result in stagnation, and staying bodily and mentally sharp, socially related, and ever engaged within the grand recreation of life.

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A few of the requirements talked about within the Bodily part above have been gleaned from power coach Dan John; you may hearken to our podcast with him in regards to the bodily benchmarks you have to be assembly at all ages right here. You should definitely additionally hearken to our podcast with coach Vic Verdier for extra inspiration on holding your edge as you age. 

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