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Priorities

Have people had enough of me talking about being a parent yet?  No?  Oh, good.  I've got one more thing to post about it before the year ends.

In looking through some of my past posts (like this one, shortly after I first learned the good news that Steph was pregnant, or this one, in which I whined that I'm putting on way too much damn weight), I realize there's kind of a story arc that runs through the last four or five years of my life.  It begins with me as an unfocused guy who views writing as a hobby and dreams fantastical dreams of success as a world-famous author, and it ends with me accepting the day-to-day grind of writing as a non-paying, but generally satisfying second job.

(So says the asshole who hasn't actually written a word in his book for almost two months.  But still, I'm making a point here.)

Though a combination of vanity and naivete, I not only sidelined my writing for a good chunk of my twenties, I also feared that it would be permanently put on hiatus thanks to having a kid.  But here's the thing about parenthood I didn't know back then.  Being a parent doesn't mean you give up the things you love.  It just means that you realize, perhaps for the first time in your life, what your true priorities are.  The fluff that's not so important?  It falls away and you don't miss it.

I don't play video games any more.  I don't put in 45-minute workout sessions each day.  I no longer cook elaborate meals.  I don't try to make movies anymore.  I don't follow movies obsessively and I don't keep up with gadgets or tech news anymore.  I'm not even sure I know what the right specs are to look for in a computer nowadays.

But I don't mind.  The important things are still there - I still watch movies and I still write (good news if you're a fan of this blog, since those are kind of critical points).  And I'm especially proud of the second point because it means I have something to share with my kids some day, even if it's just my way of encouraging them to follow their own passions.

What it really feels like - and I hope this doesn't make me sound pretentious or ridiculous - is enlightenment.  I'm hardly a wise man, but I see things for what they are and whether or not they're really going to be the right use of my time.

The downside to this is that I find myself short on patience with a lot more things nowadays.  I suspect this is why there's a stereotype about old people being cantankerous.  I - we - just don't have time for all that other crap.  We've got priorities, man.

The other day I had to turn off an episode of the Slash Filmcast because they wouldn't shut the fuck up about their opinions on Apple TV and whether or not Avatar has had a cultural impact.  How could I possibly give a shit, guys?  I know, I know, glass houses and all that... but at least my posts don't take an hour and a half to read.

When I hear my non-parent friends or coworkers talk about things like how excited they are for some new video game or the next season of Game of Thrones, I can't help but feel condescending toward them.  My gut reaction isn't, "Oh, they're talking about stuff I wish I could spend more time on."  It's always more like, "Oh, how cute.  They think they're having a conversation."

So, I guess the bad news is I'm going to turn into a grumpy old asshole after all.  But at least I'll be an asshole who gets shit done. Speaking of which, I really need to go clock in some hours on my book.

All the Other Nonsense That Got Pushed Off the Main Page (Post Archive)