It doesn’t happen so often as this late age, kiddo; inspiration. Sometimes you see something, read something, hear something that catches hold. It becomes a piece of you, even if it’s only temporary. The short-term displacement resonates, if only for a while.
I’m watching a show called Chef’s Table on Netflix, and it sounds stupid to say, but these people on this show have it figured out, in their own way. Life is a process; creativity is a process; living in a process. We don’t become who we are without working for it. We can, like I do, sit in front of a computer (or phone or tv or tablet) and dispense with our own thoughts. We let others do the thinking for us. Or we can work towards something, channel a small portion of ourselves to be something new and (more) unique and better.
You’ve had a rough time of it the last couple months. You haven’t been sleeping well. You’re scared and sick and tired and lonesome and bored. We’ve had to go through exercises with you to get ready for bed, practice patience, and be respectful. You’ve got heart, kiddo—so much heart. But it’s misdirected. You get confused and frustrated and irritated and scared. You’ve got the same big emotions your mother and I share. It’s not a bad thing, to feel. It’s terribly important and life changing and wonderful and terrifying and beautiful. But those emotions need to be harnessed, focused, and defined. I’m saying this to you like I have that part figured out, friend, but I think everyone is a work-in-progress. Until you aren’t, I guess.
You’re So Special. So Is Everyone, Right?
There’s a thing about parenting, a hot topic, a “millennial” topic, that is standing out in today’s society: being special. The truth is there are approximately 7,425,441,226 people (based on this very moment) alive today—which I wrote a week ago, today is 7,427,038,792; we picked up 1.6 mil, no big. That’s a shitload of people and a shitload of “special” people. I spent a long time wanting to be an award-winning author, someone that was going to change the face of literature with my novel (heartbreaking, intelligent, flawed, transformative, revolutionary, inspiring, to be certain). But now, I am beginning to realize that the whole world doesn’t need me, I just need to feel needed by the world. Even a small piece of it. A very small piece.
I am not going to be famous, kiddo. Despite yearning for it so desperately all my life. I am just going to slip through life without much fanfare. It’s not a bad feeling, changing your life goals. In fact, that’s part of becoming an adult, in some respects. Your personal ambitions are replaced with real goals: buying a house, maintaining your car, making a meal, providing a loving home, soaking in the world, resting. In many ways being me is easier than being the person I yearned to be. I’m happy with my life. I am fulfilled. But I am not giving up on being better.
Meh. Fuck it.
The truth is, so many other things become important as you grow older. When I was making decisions that only impacted my life, I was able to dream of big things that didn’t impact anyone other than myself. Now, I have this 3 year old kid that needs some sweet bedtime snugs, and that’s what is important to me. It’s not a bad gig, kid. I dig being a dad, even though that means I am not going to be somewhere between sober and intoxicated on a beach in Australia the majority of my days.
So now, I try to make better food, write better blogs , work a little harder, think more, learn, appreciate, divulge, introspect— I recently calculated that it would take 9.8 days to send a message 1.7
million AU into space, because that’s important shit, because I started writing a book, because. Also, generally, I just try to enjoy myself, because fuck it, right? It’s my life and I want to die thinking about happy shit. I have settled, and not in the shitty way, but a better way. I have become settled. It’s a good feeling.
Don’t Be Shitty
However, as a parent, I get the benefit of living vicariously through you, kiddo. Which means you are going to have a lot of pressure from me as you grow older to be a better, smarter person than I am. That’s one of the inherent powers of parenthood: expectations. Every parent wants their kids to be better off than they were, and that can mean financially, educationally, or generally happier. I don’t know which route you’re going to take, but it better god damn be one of them. I’m kidding, but also serious. I would just tell you to focus on being happy, but you have to go through a lot of unhappiness and discomfort to finally stumble upon happiness. You’ll get there one day, kiddo. I’ll be here if you want to sort things out.