Things I’m grateful for.
I find being a father very fulfilling and satisfying, and so I need to repeat that I’m grateful for my wife Amanda.
Before going through the roller coaster of parenthood (which I realize is still starting), I thought the sacrifice of mothers mostly focused on labour and giving birth. I’m now aware that the preceding 9 months of pregnancy are also a huge sacrifice, including: being sick all the time, feeling like a beacher whale, not having clothes that fit anymore, activities involving movement can become difficult, being unable to eat a ton of things, having aches or shooting pains and being unable to take medication, being kept up at night with kickings or a tiny bladder, having a million appointments with the midwife or doctor… for the most part, those months are forfeit to the baby.
But the subsequent 2-3 years aren’t much better. In our case, both Danielle and Celeste were (or are) a major chore until 2 and a half, when you start being able to reason with them a little. Before that, anytime we drive anywhere they’re screaming like they’re dying the whole way, until they hopefully fall asleep (if we time the drive around nap-time, otherwise it continues the whole way until they start to hiccup cry and you’re afraid they’re going to choke). Opportunities to focus and do something, like, gasp, have a hobby, are basically impossible so long as they’re awake.
So I’m really grateful for Amanda for basically giving up 3-4 years of her life, per child.
I enjoy life, and wouldn’t have it without my Mom giving birth to me. I’m the 6th child in the family. Probably one too many, to be honest. I don’t think I’d go for a 6th child. But here I am. Maybe I was a bad decision (given that my parents divorced when I was 4, I’ve seriously wondered if the 6th child tipped the scales) but regardless, here I am.
My Mom is from a different culture, and probably somewhat disfunctional family, and has all sorts of quirks. But she’s also very loving and generous. I never felt overlooked as a child, or even as an adult.
An experience that comes to mind is that throughout most of my grade-school years, she always made a point of being home when I returned from school, would give me a snack (usually a bowl of life cereal) and listen to how my day went. I knew she was interested in me, and loved me. That is an excellent basis for life.
For the past few months, Amanda has been supporting me in my time-sink hobby of running the “Cowichan Valley WordPress Meetup”. It’s a local group of WordPress community members who meet monthly to help each other better use the software. It’s a fairly significant time-sink, to be honest, and I’m still not certain what exactly are the good results I’m getting out of it. At least, I’m not certain if they’re better than what I would get out of spending those same hours getting paid for work.
But somehow I enjoy it and feel like it’s doing me, and probably others, some good. I’m currently preparing a presentation to give at the next one about the history of WordPress and why on Earth it’s growing in popularity despite the many obvious deficiencies. Researching and pondering on this has kept me for several hours a few times this last week. I’ve spent at least 4 hours, so far, writing a blog post on it (I think I’m only a quarter done too). I’m honestly finding the time is flowing by, and it’s a bit of a struggle to pay attention to non-hobby things. So while I have to keep it within check, overall it’s very fulfilling to me.
A while ago, I read a post about 8 Signs of Success That Have Nothing to Do With Money or Fame:
A life well lived has many moments in a state of flow, otherwise described as being in the zone. Doing this type of deep work will leave you feeling fulfilled afterwards. Think back to a time where you’ve lost track of several hours while doing something —that’s flow. Your mission is to find work that allows you to experience that feeling as much as possible. The value of engagement trumps the value of money. Search for work you get completely lost in.
I think that’s what I’m getting out of running a meetup.
Having said how much I appreciate my hobby (and by the way, I find my programming work quite interesting too, WAAAY moreso than working at a spice factory or other menotenous jobs I’ve had previously or could have- I love turning ideas into working tools people around the world can benefit from) I also appreciate having a day to rest from that and re-focus myself on the big picture.
Sundays are a day where we go to church, spend a few hours playing with the girls, read some scriptures, write my gratitude journal (what you’re reading), do some family history, visit with family. I make a point of avoiding work (when I work from home, I doubly think having a day to disconnect is important), and even avoiding my WordPress Meetup hobby. It’s like swimming laps (which I’m terrible at) and taking a moment to lift your head out of the water, breath, and then get back into it.
(By the way, I, like most folks, also have Saturdays off, but it’s not quite the same. Saturday is still a busy day focused on getting chores and errands done, and seeking entertainment. That’s really nice too. But I appreciate having Sundays for this more mature, fulfilling time.)