I am engaged the quintessential experience of humanity. I am a parent. This leaves me fulfilled and happy. It also leaves me beaten, bedraggled, frequently befuddled and perpetually busy. Not to mention strung out like I’ve been on a amphetamine binge. But fatter.
Parenthood is a many splendored thing. It is in many ways the beginning of something magical that should and shall be heeded. I’d be missing out on the experience if I didn’t drop everything in order to allow for the transformation that the process compels. As part of that transformation, and like any beginning, becoming a parent also represents a certain finality. We are no longer who we were before and while we may resist, ultimately the change is inevitable.
Please note, dear reader, that there is not a single thing in the world that would ever make me wish I were not a parent. My sons are the miracle of my life and I hold them in esteem befitting such a designation. But as a human and as a man dammit, I feel its within my rights to blame them for a few things. That said, I had no idea before having kids how so many of the changes would be so easy. Allow to enumerate those things I feared I’d lose, lost and didn’t really care that much.
Let’s not kid anyone here. I wasn’t rich before and I’m not rich now, so to some degree the money situation hasn’t changed too much. But there was this brief but magical time between getting married and having kids when the thought of a nice dinner out and a few drinks, even at NYC prices, was NEVER filtered through the question of ‘can we afford it.’ Now, we have gone out to dinner once a month for the past two months and it’s been magical as we have recently lucked into an amazing babysitter that we love. That said, these nights are plotted and budgeted weeks in advance. In addition, we’ve become guinea pigs for marketing companies just to get the $40 gift card so we can splurge on pub fare for our once a month, 3 hour date.
2. Pop Culture Knowledge
We were enthusiastic devotee’s of Downton Abbey, but then they steered the ship into dramatic turns that hurt characters we liked and we haven’t watched an episode since. Seriously. I’m okay with this one at all times other than when I’m proven culturally irrelevant by coworkers. Not friends or family, they have known of my irrelevance for some time by now. Just coworkers. I can’t be bothered with ‘dark’ or ‘gritty’ fare that so often makes up ‘important works.’ My beaten and sleep deprived brain, surviving on the high octane fuel of toddler tender moments, which are hard to come by, will not be handed over to sinister endeavors. I’ve taken to calling the TV, when it is in my control, the ‘Big Bang Box’. Life’s just simpler this way.
3. Reading Books
I have great memories of decades in which I was constantly reading. I’m done now. Maybe not forever, but at least until I’m rich and the kids are out of the house. Until then I’m either with the kids, cleaning, sleeping or getting a too quick buzz in order to wind down the coffee induced heart palpitations.
I’m an old Dad to begin with. I try, you know, to a degree. But the stuff where you understand and have some sense of making the smart decision in regard to techie stuff? Game over, I’m done. Gimme the technology when it’s simple, prepackaged, inefficient and designed for mass consumption. If I need to do any learning I’m frankly out of my depth.
HA! Okay, this is cheating. But I feel it’s my duty as an American adult to claim to love travel. I met my wife on Match.com. The process of dating intentionally and reading through copious ‘profile’s’ of single women in their 30’s made me realize that claiming to love to travel or wishing you could travel more was a required statement. Seriously. It was on 100% of the profiles. Which made me realize, when I really thought about it, that I hate to travel, at least in the way that people mean when they say they love to travel. It sounds terrible, admit it. But the truth is that I’d love to travel if time and money weren’t factors in my plans. If I could truly experience a culture, say for months at a time with the potential for actually working and living in a place, I’d be all for that. But certainly that’s out by now. Which is fine with me.Travel the way I’d have to do it, on the cheap and with a blindingly fast turnaround and head home time frame is little more than disorienting and stressful. The reality is I love travel that is in driving range. Oceans, mountains, capes, all of these are within my a reasonable drive from my home. This may change in time. I hope it does. But until then you can count me as your one friend who boldly and defiantly dislikes travel.