Saturday, March 08, 2008

Parenthood Perspective

A younger single friend of mine from work is currently touring around the Caribbean in a sailboat with his parents and sisters; enjoying some outrageously good livin'. He asked me last week about life as a dad with a pack of kids, in sharp contrast to his freewheeling life of leisure (although technically he is still working remotely). My response to that part:
"Burgeoning family life is mostly great. It requires using different measures of success and happiness though, because it's SO not all about my pleasure or self-actualization. I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that it has been a difficult 6-year journey for me to really internalize that. It would be easy to focus on the less-awesome parts of parenthood and wallow in self-pity, but it really is a matter of perspective. Our day-to-day life is relaxed, full of the sorts of quiet richness and joy that I wouldn't have valued at all a decade ago. And I still get to do the things I enjoy for myself, just not as often as I might otherwise choose to."
Having a baby again has really made this point clearer for me, despite the fog of relative sleep-deprivation. When I think about the quality of my life, the key question is still "compared to what?" We're sure not sailing around the Bahamas, but dwelling on that kind of thinking is the opposite of thankfulness...and a recipe for misery. Anyway, I find it useful to reflect on these things. (photo credit to my mom)

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