Sorry kid. There’s no going back. Once the party’s over, its over.
I mean in a Freudian sense you spend at least some portion of your adult life trying get back to that point… but really its all simulacrum.
Its even worse when you yourself have your own kids and you’re suddenly smacked about the face with the reality of mammary glands and their (purely) utilitarian function as a source of nutrition for the progeny you helped create. (for me anyways) Procreation meant getting dealt a massive hand of creep factor and I suddenly felt a lot less inclined to put mouth to nipple. I feel like something has shifted now (in my brain) and that, that particular life goal has been irrevocably taken off the menu.
Productivity stroke life hacking. It’s supposedly a thing. You know, where you take on the the stellar habits of ‘successful’ people. I think how it works is that you’re supposed to carefully graft this patchwork of heavily curated and apparently desirable traits onto your personage so that you can be less like you… and more like… Frankensteins monster.
Being efficient at life is an important skillset, if you cultivate the ability to cram more of it in there… following the trusted maxim of ‘more is always better’, you should definitely be getting up earlier.
I wake up every morning at 4am. Because… well.. I also want to be a winner and be elevated up to a paragon of my kind. In fact ‘Be more like Joey’ should be the mantra on the lips of every neophyte ready to take their first step on their journey to… well probably damnation (if we are going to be completely honest) but let’s pretend our end point is going to be somewhere nice.
People often ask me how I manage this seemingly near impossible feat of will so consistently. (no one really asks me this, but I’m going to blog about it anyway, because every action requires some sort of societal justification)
The secret to waking up early is easy. Go to bed earlier. I know. Dramatic reveal right there. Of course early evenings come with opportunity cost. I have a threenager and an infant, but I’ve heard some people like to go out for dinner at night to restaurants and do stuff outside of the domicile that doesn’t involve cleaning up after the localised hurricane that passes through on a daily basis. I vaguely remember what that was like.
4am to 6am is my time. I mean it could also be 8pm to 10pm. But I found that ‘me time’ tacked onto the end of my day when I was already tired, like some sort of after thought wasn’t very fulfilling.
Pay yourself first. I think this is actually one of the better aphorisms that gets bandied about and one that I find works for me. I’ve found that I’m a better person (to those around me) when I’ve taken care of my own needs first.
Virtue through selfishness.
Maybe it will catch on.
My eldest daughter turns three tomorrow, the ides of March. Fortunately boys called Brutus are few and far between these days, a name relegated to the junk heap of epithets along with Adolf and Kermit. Albeit for different reasons. I have casually mentioned to my daughter that given her auspicious birth date she should avoid politics, crossing Rubicons, suspicious Italians called Cassius* and (for good measure) two Gauls, one of whom may or may not be carrying a menhir.
*amusingly I played (a gay) Cassius in our school play version of Julius Caesar. Quite progressive for a Catholic school. (Maybe he/I was just effeminate… I think outright gay would have been a bridge too far)
Anyways as life advice goes I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far. (Joey pats himself on the back). Great parenting Joey. Well done!
‘We have modest goals now. Like trying to get out of the house at 7am. Why are we so bad at this?’ – My wife, seventy-twenty-three.
…while I drag the almost three year old towards the car by her ankles. The old gods, Wotan and Freya raise their clipboards in unison, I’m in serious jeopardy of loosing my status as a bona fide German, punctuality is not an optional extra in this geographically bound subcategory of Homo Sapiens. I may have to haul out some cultural stereotypes to rack up some quick credit. Socks and sandals (apparently) is a surefire ten points to ease me back into the Teutonic bracket.
Most days it feels like this though… maybe its the threat of violence and ironclad discipline that is lacking? Maybe we should enroll my daughter in assassin school instead of a more traditional kindergarten. (A lot of my favorite fantasy books start like this) But then we’d have to fear for our lives as well deal with the constant frustration of a toddler exerting her will. I’m not sure I’m ready for that level of constant vigilance. I already got eye-gouged once this morning (she gets her dirty fighting prowess from her dad, I’ve genuinely never been this proud)
On the plus side, I feel confident about being able to transition from early-stage parenting to hogtying livestock in Montana (should I ever need a change in vocation) … I look forward to being able to assert with confidence that this, ‘is not my first rodeo’, and for once, actually mean it.
Suddenly my own (parental) issues don’t seem so bad anymore….
I was, until recently, shuffling dejectedly around the house with a hangdog expression that can only be replicated through pure and abject failure of the highest order. I tried to bake chocolate chip cookies this morning. Spoiler alert, it didn’t end well.
Nearly at the zenith of my life (people keep arguing that midpoint is fifty and not forty as I’ve been sullenly alluding to) I’ve never baked anything (except myself in a car). After constructing pretend mud pies with my daughter I… in a moment of parental enthusiasm suggested we should go inside and bake (actual) cookies.
My wife arched her eyebrow at finding us in the kitchen, knee deep in flour and baking apparatuses, shooting me a look that suggested both concern… and condescension… as she watched me judge a teaspoon of vanilla essence straight from the bottle. ‘You’re following the recipe right?’ she ventured.
‘Yeah, more or less’
On the plus side, as a learning experience, I now know why, ‘more or less’, is not really a baking ideology that has gained much traction over the years. I’ve also crossed off going all Walter White as a potential alternative career venture… seeing as I will either kill my customer base relatively quickly or spread myself thin (on the inside of a Winnebago) with an incendiary-type event. In fact anything involving exact measurements should be probably just be avoided. I am definitely more blunt force trauma than precision wet-work.
How does that saying go? Big, dumb and full of… rum? Hmm. That might actually cheer me up right now.
I was listening to AC/DC this morning in the kitchen (making breakfast) and my two year old daughter came in and started dancing…
Me – Do you like AC/DC?
Daughter – Yes I do…
Me- That makes daddy very happy
Daughter (starts singing) A, B, C, D, E, F, G…