You mean everyone reading this isn’t in their 30s, has two kids (the second of which is probably swinging from a chandelier right now) and is still learning how to balance life, work, and family while also trying to come to terms with the realization that the “me first” world we knew all this time no longer exists?
The fact is that I’m a parent, most of you reading this are parents, but it’s the different ways in which we got here that are most fascinating to me.
Parenthood and selflessness are on my brain right now because I’ve recently met two dads in social media who are over 40 and having/had their first child. I’ve often marveled at how friends I’ve made on Twitter, friends with completely different backgrounds than mine, have ended up in the same place and time, with similar parenting theories and challenges. The majority of these friends are close in age to myself and with kids close in age to mine. But I honestly never took the time to consider what it would be like for someone in their early 40s to be going through what I went through in my early 30s. For example, one of these two dads I mentioned writes about his days in the fast lane, living life to the fullest into his late 30s only to wake up one day and realize he was “utterly over himself.” Despite all the living like there was no tomorrow, traveling, and career success, at the end of the day all he wanted was to know what “we” meant.
This blew my mind.
My wife and I talk all the time about wanting to travel more. We even started an “Italy fund” for that day in which we either feel comfortable enough leaving the kids with someone else for an extended period of time, or *gasp* bringing them with us , but neither of us can be considered world travelers. Career wise, all too often I lament the fact that I don’t have enough time at night to pursue some of my ideas for my own business, or even when I do have the time, that I’m too tired to be in the right frame of mind to do anything productive about it. Live life like there is no tomorrow? Tomorrow always seems to be 5 hours away and I’m kicking myself for not being asleep already.
Do I know what “we” means? I’ve known “we” since my senior year in college.
I don’t say that as a bad thing, but simply to highlight the different paths this other dad and I took to parenthood. But whereas with many dads I’ve met our paths took different twist and turns, with this dad, I almost feel like we weren’t even on the path at the same time.
My path had me up late the other night after a party, I was feeling no pain and listening to music while looking at pictures I recently took in pursuit of my next career as a world traveling photographer, and all of a sudden I was hit by an uppercut of emotions when looking at a particular picture of my boys. I immediately sent my wife a message saying, “Looking at pictures of the boys. Thinking I’m the luckiest guy alive.”
I am. And the fact is, we all are; dads and moms alike.
It doesn’t matter your path. Learning about the various paths we all take to parenthood is my favorite part of this writing experience. Learning about all of your lives gives me perspective, and perspective is enormously important. I’m humbled by this experience and humbled by your stories.
So what I’m really trying to say is, my “we” has officially expanded to include all of you.