I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to write about right now than change. We’re going to be parents. Wow.
I have never experienced anything close to this level of change in identity and will likely never experience it again. For over 30 years I haven’t been a parent and now, most likely within the next week, I will be a parent. Then I will proceed to NEVER NOT BE A PARENT AGAIN! It’s so difficult to wrap my brain around. It is so paradoxical. How can something that happens over 300,000 times per day (that sounds like an exaggeration but I swear the internet says it’s accurate) be such a special, magical event?
Jordan Peterson always says the best way to go forth in the world and make it a better place is to shoulder as much responsibility as you possibly can. Well we’re about to shoulder probably the single biggest responsibility of our lives. No matter how reassuring all of my friends and family are, I still wonder if we are up to the task. It’s not like I think we will instantly be worthless parents or something. But the stakes are so high. It doesn’t matter if you are a phenomenal parent 24 hours/day for years. What if, one day, I’m a good parent for 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds? I know that no parent is perfect and everyone says and does things they regret. But what if my mistake brings serious consequences? That is scary as SHIT to me.
When you guys walk into the gym and see a workout going on that looks nasty, what are your thoughts? Ohhhhhh boy, it’s gonna be a rough one today. What if somebody comes up after the class and says, “Hey, don’t worry! You’ll do fine!” You might acknowledge their encouragement but in your head you’re probably like, “Dude, I just saw you writhing around on the floor 5 minutes ago. I’m not so sure I’ll be fine.” That’s how I feel. In my heart I am very confident that we will be fine. But I’ve also seen and heard about some of the many challenges of being a parent.
I have been actively trying to cultivate a growth mindset for several years now. Growth goes hand in hand with change. Right now, it’s hard not to think that I have a finite capacity to handle all the things going on in my life, and that adding something this huge will mess up everything. I don’t feel like I’m a particularly productive person. So it’s hard for me to see that this change will lead to growth. I’m afraid that this change will lead to me falling apart in other areas. I know everyone says that you figure it out as you go, but I haven’t “gone” yet.
Despite saying all of this, I am so excited. It’s like I’ve been observing a Spartan Race for my entire adult life. I’ve been watching people run by and go through the obstacles. People are using different methods of getting through it. Some need help from others. And no matter how many times you see somebody run by and either conquer or fail an obstacle, you keep wondering if you could do it too. Well now I get to jump into the race and try for myself. I’m sure there’s a good joke in there about how getting muddy in the race is like getting pooped on, but I’ll let you guys come up with that.