What Does it Mean to be Bad at Change?
Right before my son was born, a friend of mine told me that I am “bad at change.”
It isn’t true. The friend might say that I am hiding from this fact, but I am a better judge of myself than he is.
I don’t believe I’m bad at change. I think I’ve been fearful of change in my life. I think new disruptions to my life throw me off my horse at times. But in order to process the fear, I’ve learned to hedge against change. To minimize its power by chalking it up to what it really is – a simple acceleration in the already bumpy ride that life is. And that acceleration can happen by a disruption, but it also seems to happen naturally as life speeds up. I can’t say for sure yet.
I’ve written before about how other parents “warned” me about how hard life would be when I have a child. About how it’s all doom and gloom, and I won’t understand until it happens to me.
And so I made a commitment before my child was born to do everything possible to be a present father and husband while also nurturing the parts of myself that feel the need to create (this blog became a daily occurrence around the time of his birth, for instance).
And so far, I believe I have succeeded. And by that I don’t mean that I do enough for my family, because I can always do more. I can always grow more. I can always find ways to better support my wife, and my son. But I have succeeded in my goal of being present with my family, while still maintaining a spiritual connection to the muse. So far.
And I believe it’s a result of the mindset I adopted on the runway to parenting. Which is that many parents seem to set themselves up for failure. With Facebook posts to get their frustrations off their chests, or side comments about their kids that are meant to be humorous but end up creating beliefs and notions that are ultimately harmful to familial relationships. Like when I hear fathers refer to their children, especially their boys, as “psychopaths,” jokingly.
And that doesn’t mean that there aren’t children that are hard to take care of, that there aren’t emotions that run wild in the pasture of the mind. It doesn’t mean that it is easy. It’s certainly not.
But by going into the job of parenting every day fearful that life as you know it is over will probably end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. By embracing the change, the disruption, the fucking joy of seeing a little person grow, we won’t avoid hardships or discomfort. Rather, we’ll step into the discomfort. We’ll wrap our arms around it, as if to say it’s good to see you again, I’ve missed you. The last time we talked, my heart grew.
So I’m not bad at change. No one is. But I also haven’t mastered it. And neither have you.
But if there’s one person that I can learn from when it comes to navigating change, it’s my child. He can’t do much yet. He can barely crawl, he’s just started eating solids, and we have to carry him most places.
But in the intense period of time that is the first six months of life, he’s done beautifully, without even breaking a sweat. It’s about curiosity for him. The roadblocks aren’t anything he’s upset about at the moment (though I’ll hold my breath until he turns two, at which point I’ll need to be the role model for change, probably).
For now, he’s riding each wave as it comes. And there’s so much I can learn from that.