TODDLER! TODDLER! All That You Can’t Leave Behind

“You know, when you get old in life things get taken from you. That’s, that’s part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff,” Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday. The movie was just so-so, but the speech that excerpt is pulled from is straight nails if you ever need a pick-me-up before a quick hop on the treadmill. Anyway, the sentiment of the post is what we’re focused on here, even if it is a bit misplaced. To paraphrase: the older you get in life, the more things that get taken away from you, but you don’t realize it until they’re already gone. Profound. Depressing. Not what I’m interested in writing about today.

I came across the video of the speech on Youtube the other day, and I paused to think about it in the context of parenthood. That’s apparently all I do now as a human being: process and reevaluate everything through the lens of being a father (what a weirdo, right?). The thought that appealed to me and has continued to pop recently is how so many things have been ‘taken’ from me in the last 3 years since having kids. ‘Taken’ is clearly not the right word; it’s more like things have slowly evaporated from my day-to-day the further into parenting I go.

When you first have kids, the belief is that they will become a part of your life. We’ve got friends, we’ve got family, we can explore our careers, we travel, we take naps on the weekend…let’s pop out a cute little mini-me and it’ll be a nice little appendage to our life we can show off every once in awhile. Kids do not become a part of your life, they become your entire life and all other items quickly fall to the periphery, slowly orbiting this new black hole of attention. So what disappears? Definitely some friendships, some family time, a hobby here or there, some alone time, spousal romance, etc. are all possible casualties of parenting. It’s not that these things disappear immediately or entirely, it’s more that kids come with a blistering mandate of prioritization. Good luck figuring it out on the fly!

This post, however, is actually not a lament about the things I’ve lost. It’s more about the surprise that came when realizing I didn’t care all that much. So much has been slowly and subtly pushed aside; a chunk of my life sacrificed for my first daughter and another chunk for my second. It’s silly items like playing golf, watching copious amounts of sports, weekend nights out for drinks, internet surfing, Netflix mastery, and napping. Unfortunately, it’s also some of the good stuff as well: less time for friendships, family, career exploration, alone time with the wifey, etc.

There is so much that has been subtracted from my life in the last 3 years and I’m almost embarrassed how little I’ve noticed. This doesn’t mean I’ve never done anything for myself in the last few years, but it does mean that every decision is framed within the context of #familylife. Maybe some day I’ll pick golfing up again. Perhaps I’ll reconnect with the relationships that have been riding the back burner. Hey, I may even take a nap on the weekend in another decade or two, who knows? In the meantime, I’ll be satisfied with this evolution of my life; after all, it’s hard to ponder what all you’ve lost when there is poop to clean up (this literally just happened). Cheers.

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