Men in the Modern Day

What it means to be the Man in the Arena

Frank Ó'hÁinle
8 min readOct 10, 2021


Photo by Russ Ward on Unsplash

The seventh day of the coming month of November will mark my twenty-fourth birthday. While this may seem a random way to start off an article, (it is by the way) this is a fact which has led me to undertake some degree of introspection. Having spoken to my parents, aunts, uncles, and other such older friends and family, the general consensus I received was that I should be have been considered an adult for all intents and purposes from the age of twenty-three onwards.

So while the seventh will mark my birthday, it will also to a certain extent mark a full year of adulthood, a full year as my father puts it of having been a man in the real world. A startling thought to come upon while drinking a can of beer by a canal, to say the least.

This is a strange time to be a man (or a woman for that matter, I am merely speaking from my own perspective) as so many of the milestones which normally mark out a man’s life are still well beyond the grasp of your everyday twenty-three-year-old.

Can I afford a mortgage? — not a chance in any form of hell. Do I have a stable well paying job? — not even close. Am I in a committed long-term relationship and looking at getting engaged or even married in the near future? Again, I will have to reiterate that I am nowhere close to this.

At twenty-three years of age, I am currently a relatively broke masters student living in a foreign country and hoping to pick up a bar job to fund myself, the same profession I have been in for many years — still sweeping floors, dealing with drunk clientele, and the other more unsavory parts of the profession which has led a number of friends and family, who are of a more traditional mindset, to question what I am doing with my life and give not-so-subtle hints that I should be farther along the stereotypical route of being a man.

Photo by Adam Jaime on Unsplash

Yet, it seems that this disconnect is one that many others face. So many people I have come in contact with describe similar sensations of arrested development, questioning…



Frank Ó'hÁinle

24-year-old Irish Trainee Solicitor (lawyer) writing about Stoicism, philosophy, and finding their way in life. Contact me: