Today I’m going to take a detour from my usual type of post. You see, today is my daughter’s bday(okay, I’m writing this a bit in advance) and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. Every parent warns you about it, but you never really believe it. As you go about your daily life, it doesn’t seem to be flying by, but then out of nowhere, wham! Your little girl is turning four already.
I mean seriously, it feels like we just brought the little bundle of screaming…I mean joy, home from the hospital. The late nights, screaming (seriously, she screamed constantly for her first six months on this earth), bottle feedings, all of it was so long ago, but at the same time, it feels like it was just yesterday, does that make any sense?
I of course swore that I wouldn’t be one of those guys who is wrapped around their daughter’s finger, but guess what, so does every other dad. You’ll never believe what happened, yup, she’s got me good.
Now she’s a grown-up version of that screaming (have I mentioned all the screaming) baby. No, she’s not constantly yelling anymore but has been a ball of fire since day one. She’s full of energy, life, grit, imagination, courage, and is really just totally insane. Constantly trying to keep up with her older brother, she started walking at 9 months (my son was 15 months) and basically hasn’t stopped talking since she learned how. She has no fear of jumping off ottomans, into a pool (with a life jacket of course), or doing any of the things big bro does and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
So what’s the point of all this gushing you may ask. Well, besides trying to convey how great my daughter is, what I’d like to get across is that we really do need to live in the now. As a financially minded person, I’m always looking to the future. Will I have enough for retirement? Will I have enough to pay for their education? What if x happens, what if y happens? I like to have a plan for the future.
I’m not saying that having a plan for the future is a bad thing, far from it. Present me is very happy with all the forethought past me had. I’m sure future me will feel the same way.
At the same time though, if all I do is continuously look into the future, I’m going to miss what’s happening right now before my very eyes. Both my kids are growing up far too fast for my liking. Already needed dear old mom and day less and less each day. Honestly, one of the best parts of the pandemic (yes, there are good parts) is that I’ve gotten to spend more time with my kids at a young age than any other generation of parents in the history of the world (okay, that might be a stretch, but it a lot of time)
Before I can blink an eye, they’ll be at the age where mom and dad really aren’t cool anymore and they do everything in their power to become independent. I know that day is coming and that’s really one part of the future that although I know is inevitably coming, I like to focus on the present-day instead.
All I’m really saying is, make sure that no matter who you have around you or no matter what your situation is, nothing stays the same forever. Keeping an eye on the future is certainly a good idea, but don’t forget to keep the other on the present or you’ll be missing out!
A Matter of Perception
Another somewhat of topic thought of mine came to me a few weeks back while taking a short vacation. One of the great parts about the state of New Jersey is that we have tons of coastline and our fair share of public beaches. The not-so-great part is that, unlike most other states, we actually get charged a decent chunk of change to use them.
I understand that lifeguards need to get paid, dunes need to be built and kept up, and there are some other expenses, but charging adults $12 bucks a pop just to go sit in some sand and use the water mother nature provides us is a bit ridiculous if you ask me. Don’t even get me started on food and amusement prices at the beach, I digress.
Anyway, after begrudgingly paying for my wife and myself to “use” the beach, we made our way there, as early as possible of course to get my money’s worth.
Fast forward a few hours, my kids are running around having a blast, we’ve been outside nowhere near a screen(they didn’t even ask for one!) all day and they show no signs of slowing down.
At the beginning of the day, if you asked me to pay $24 bucks to have my kids entertained all day, no screens and worn out enough where they would sleep like rocks, I would have signed up in a heartbeat. With paying for the beach, that’s essentially what I did.
After thinking about it that way, the $24 didn’t seem so bad, it was all just a matter of my perspective. Don’t get me wrong, still not happy that we need to pay to get on a public beach here in my home state, but my new perspective softened the blow a bit.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s okay to go out and spend money where it’s not necessary, but a happy spin on it and go on your merry way. What I am saying is that we don’t always need to look at the gloomy side of things.
For example, the pandemic is far from a good thing, but as mentioned before, it’s given me so much more time with my kids than would have ever been possible before, perspective. They are growing up faster than I like, but that means we’re doing a good job as parents, giving them the skills they’ll need to be independent, functioning adults, perspective.
So, no matter what your situation is, again, things can change pretty quickly and the route or path you take may depend on if you want to focus on the bad things or the good things. I think no matter where we are in our lives, sometimes you just need to take a step back and really look at the big picture, you never now know what you could be missing.