Everything has its season. I would be lying if I said now that I would have ever believed that I would find myself fathering a child at age 43. Fatherhood simply felt like it was for other people, and I simply had too much to accomplish to surrender what little time I held all too briefly in my hands. In the past year becoming parents, however, has been a focus for my wife and me. I cannot imagine being prepared or accepting of the commitment until now. I cannot imagine anything more challenging or important for me to build than a family space wherein get a little child can develop into a strong human being. I have my ideas about what a good father should do, I know what I hope to become, but I also understand that the universe seldom permits us to hold a steady narrative course.
Time is a precious commodity. I have spent a few years developing systems that enable me to accomplish high level performances in multiple areas. From David Allen’s GTD system to Seneca’s essay on the shortness of life, I seek out protocols to allow me to become as much as I can with what time remains in my life. The past year has been spent focused on shifting how I approach my teaching, on building a better lifestyle and health, and figuring out how to be a white belt in jiu-jitsu. I now have until November to ingrain habits in those key areas; after that it will be hard to do anything new other than what revolves around our daughter. I am good with that. At 43, I have done exponentially more than most people experience in an entire lifetime. Perhaps what I most need to experience now is parenting a child in a very complicated world; travel, photography, writing, reading, and adventures can take a backseat until our child no longer wants or needs me to be omnipresent. I teach adolescents, so I know what to expect on the long road ahead.
As I write this entry, I am sitting in the motorcycle shop. The Ducati Diavel I now ride is finally in for its 1000 km service, and I am looking forward to being able to ride it more freely. I do not need to replicate or extend a journey like the one I took to Nashville last summer. Simply riding around Toronto while the weather is nice will be a welcomed change from the cars, subways and planes wherein I normall spend my days. The highway ride to the shop in Whitby was enviro rating and reminded me of how much riding a motorcycle is a part of my identity and happiness. Wait…but dad’s should not ride dangerous motorcycles: this one will. I know the risks involved and would rather be conscious of those risks, minimize them with safe habits, a stable motorcycle and heavy protective gear, than to surrender to the minivan. Time will take away the about to ride soon enough, so I want to exercise that option while I can. Philosophy is what enables a man to safely navigate the obstacles life places before him. Philosophy is also what enables a man to enjoy both the miracles and the tragedies which inevitably cross our paths. On this sunny July morning, my focus is on the present moment and how I can best be here for my wife, my friends and my family. Being here for others does not mean that I cannot be here for myself though, and maintains that balance is what will be critical if I am to remain a strong, interesting, healthy and active human being. Others may choose to eat frozen dinners, drive zombie-like to planned activities and to surrender themselves to the hive. I am not that person, nor do I believe that I need to be to be a great father. Only time will tell, but I have some time ahead and I will listen to what I hear.