Here we are a couple of years into the forty-somethings. And, here we go, headlong into the middle of the decade between milestones again.
The world moves simuteniously faster and slower. And, it’s infinitely strange how that works.
Sure, the bills come quickly, but the principle seems to diminish so sloooooowly while the interest seems to accrue more quickly on loans than at the molasses pace it does through investments.
But, that’s not really what I’m talking about.
While the summer seemed to fly by with days becoming weeks becoming months becoming the season quicker than they can be processed … the reality is some times the hours seem like they pass at the speed of decades.
For many people, the slowest moments are the most dull and boring. Time standing still is most associated with the doldrums of work or school or aspects of life they just can’t wait to get over with. Their focus on the blahness of it all just makes the passage of time feel slower when they most want it to wiz by in a blur.
However, those slow moments are the ones I most look forward to and most enjoy because they represent the time I get to spend just savoring life without getting hung up on the speed at which the world, or at least my metropolitan lifestyle in it, seems to move. I’m fortunate that those things I must do, like work, are generally also things I enjoy. I’m also fortunate that those things I must do also seem to sometimes fly by so I don’t have the obligation to dwell too much on them and the time spent.
Time is at its slowest and almost most surreal during one of the most unexpected aspects of my life — chasing around the Padawan.
It’s seriously strange to have time stop while trying to keep up with a toddler. After all, everyone always preaches the same thing about how younglings grow up too quickly. And, they do.
But, I am fortunate enough that when the Padawan is able to stay focused on something for long enough it has the effect of slowing down the perception of the passage of time. Maybe it’s because relatively speaking the Padawan’s life is a blur of needs and wants having to be fulfilled and addressed under the guise of an ever changing routine, so that those few times they stop and play with a focused determination it gives us a chance to breath and thus get to enjoy the moment.
I’ve found myself treating the time with Padawan as a reflective moment not dissimilar to the way I used to strive to experience playing drums or going hiking. I allow myself the opportunity to embrace those moments to their fullest and enjoy them for what they are. To stop and smell the preverbal roses. Not because of other people’s preachiness about not letting those moments pass by, but because in my life to this point, I’ve made a concerted effort to do just that as part of how I attempt to keep myself sane in a rather insane world.
It’s why those moments with Padawan are able to stand out they way they do and why as I reflect on my year’s worth of experiences when the calendar flips on my own birth I am more than grateful for the year I’ve had.
I didn’t really do a lot of goal setting from last year to this year. At least not in terms of monumental type of events and high flying achievements anyhow. And, that’s ok because at this point between decade milestones of birthdates again there’s not a lot of grandeur to aim for. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have the opportunities for continuing my education, for home ownership, for being part of a growing family, for advancing my career and so much more.
So, what I’ve been trying to focus on has been more of the less obvious type of things which are harder to put quantifiable goals around, or even in some cases to explain to other people since they are more amorphic types of concepts about understanding myself and helping push me to be a better me, whatever that means in the most viscous and ethereal kinds of ways.
I mean really, how does one concretely and universally define being a good father or husband or even good citizen at this point. There’s so many oft-conflicting ideas rooted in different cultural contexts influenced by ethnicity, regionality and religion, in socio-economic class, education strata and employment, and even by age and gender as well as concepts presented by psychology, sociology, anthropology and other sciences about what produces a good husband, father or citizen it’s nearly impossible to come up with something anyone agrees on.
From the husband point of view, where I strive is creating a situation that supports my wife in her needs, wants and aspirations by fostering open and honest communication leading to greater bonds and commitment between us. We define together what all of that means to us, without the externalized pressures of social expectation.
Do I fail at being a husband? Yes, of course. Often, too, I might add. Not for lack of trying. But because it is human nature that I won’t always hold up my end of the bargain. That what my wants, needs, and aspirations are lie in direct conflict with my spouses. That my spouse had failed to hold up their end of the bargain in expressing their wants, needs, and aspirations. And, more. So, this is what I continue to work on — and since wants, needs, and aspirations are not fixed targets, it will be a forever and always kind of goal.
Same with being a good father. It isn’t a term that’s easily defined, again, because of the massive conflict in all the different accepted and oft-conflicted ways of defining it. What’s more, is being the father of a toddler that isn’t able to express clearly their wants, needs and aspirations, it’s even more challenging to try and understand what it is I should be aiming for. To this, some of it is guestimation on my own, some if it is interpreting signals from them and some of it is again, working with my spouse to define what’s relevant and important to us as a family unit.
The reality is the self-defining of wants, needs, and aspirations, as well as the open-mind and open-heart required for understanding and accepting other’s wants, needs, and aspirations is a pretty nobel set of goals in-and-of themselves. Too lofty to ever be full achieved, I’m sure. And, nothing that even if it could be, would be done within the context of a single calendar year.
Right now, I’m just grateful the calendar flipped and I am as fortunate as I have been to be able to share the past year with the people I have and create the memories I did by participating in, or rather, embracing and savoring those slowest moments I was able to find.