Yearning for a Life
I yearn for a life of my own. My current weekdays are filled with taking care of the family and working. I get maybe an hour to myself at night.
I do go out with my friends once or twice per month for games, and I cherish that time. I feel some guilt about it though, because when I go out, my son is literally screaming, crying, hitting himself, and destroying things for most of the time (a few hours) that I am out.
Recently, my wife told me to not feel guilty about going out for game nights, or for my yearly work trip to Las Vegas. Despite all the chaos at home when I am gone, it gives them an opportunity to grow emotionally together. It does seem like a very painful way to grow emotionally, I’ll have to say. But her telling me that has eliminated most of my guilt about going out.
I crave more hobbies, though. I’d love to join an adult basketball league. Or start a progressive futurist meetup. Or learn artificial intelligence and math. Or exercise more. It’s possible that I’ll one day be able to pursue some of these things. But for now I’m limited. Although I feel some freedom from my wife’s reassurances recently, I still couldn’t be care-free with how I might spend my time, because it comes at a high cost to the family.
When my kids, and especially my son, are older, then I will be able to pursue my own interests more. The big question is: will that age be 10? 12? 21? I really don’t know.
I’m mostly at peace with this, even though I do crave personal freedom. I know I’m at peace with it, because I want more kids. If it was such a terrible situation, I would just say, “I’m DONE!”
But I guess I live to be a father. I love being able to bring my son some comfort when he is in such pain. Even though I bristle at the loss of freedom in the moment. I love being able to spend time with my daughter giving her reading and math lessons at age four. I can’t imagine many things more rewarding than that.
But I can still dream of a perfect life. I find value in dreaming. You can even dream of being single, without actually wanting it. When you dream of another version of your life in a parallel universe, you can then step back and think, now what are the things from that dream that I really love? And pull some of those things into your real life.
I recently dreamed of what it might be like to be retired. I dreamed of spending three hours per day exercising, another three hours learning, and a bunch of time cooking and napping.
Now, I’m not going to have three hours per day to exercise. But from that dream I realized that if I plan each day around my hectic schedule I can usually find time for a two-mile run and a one-hour weight lifting and physical therapy session. So, I get 20% of my dream, instead of 0%. Good progress!