Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Growing up and growing old
I have been reflecting a lot lately on what it means to grow up. Asking myself the question of what it really means to grow up and what does my initial reluctance to even consider the question really say about me. My life has changed a lot in the past 10 years - as one would expect.
A little background may be of interest. 10 years ago this past Valentines Day I met my wife. At the time, I was singing in a punk band, playing shows, working 3 jobs, going to college, and living in the worst dump of a house. We called it "The Tenement." I could afford food and beer. So what if we had to keep the house at 60 degrees in the winter. Just go to the bar.
I hope that paints the picture. I was more than a little rough around the edges. I hung out with the best friends a guy could have, but most average people did not view us as the most welcoming of groups.
Fast forward 10 years. (why does that simultaneously seem like an extremely long time and only a blink of an eye...)
I am married with 2 kids. Have a PhD in physics. Do research funded by the federal government. If I am feeling incredibly crazy, I have 2 beers on a weekend evening. Wow, pretty hardcore. I typically, during the week, fall asleep on the couch reading by 11 pm.
I don't feel different. I still boisterously sing along to all my favorite songs. My kids look at me and wonder, but I figure they will be doing that for a long time, so I don't mind.
But things are much different. 10 years ago, the biggest question was how much money could I spend that week on beer and CDs. Did I have a test coming up? Band practice tonight? What time do I work tomorrow?
Now, Dad is in charge of dropping and picking kids up from daycare everyday. Talking to my kids' teachers. Making dinner for the kids 5 days a week. Does Sweet Little Hellion have enough diapers? Does Little Berserker Spawn have his homework? (BERSERKER RAGE!!!! He is 3 why does he have HOMEWORK!) "No LBS, you cannot bring all your cars to school today. Just like yesterday, the day before and every day since. You cannot bring your cars to school" is the broken record that plays in my house every morning.
So, do I miss the old days? Yeah, sure. I miss the freedom. I miss the fun, the friends, camaraderie. I miss the live music. I miss shooting pool. I miss meeting all the great people that make up the punk rock scene. I miss singing on stage. I miss writing music with my friends.
But I don't miss working 3 jobs to make ends meet on top of going to school. I don't miss wondering if some idiot is going to start a fight tonight at the show. I don't miss freezing my butt off in the cold of winter because we really cannot afford another month of a surprise $400 heating bill.
But some things haven't changed all that much. I still have my Beautiful Wife by my side (she wasn't my wife back then, but she is now!!!). I still have my great family. I still have the crazy, weird thoughts running through my brain. I still have the same uncompromising intensity, drive and passion for music, doing things MY way, and making people think. I just do it differently now. I channel that drive and passion into science. I have a job I actually like. Instead of being goofy and funny with my buddies, I get to be goofy and funny for 2 kids who think I am the greatest thing in the whole world (unless it is Beautiful Wife's turn to be the greatest thing in the whole world). Instead of singing lyrics, I just write them down.
That's OK. Things change. Change is good. I love being a Dad and if maybe I lose some freedom, I think that is a small price to pay for getting to hang out with two ultra-cute, mind-spinning kids every day of my life.
"New stage, new ideas. You don't have to make excuses for us." -New Direction by Gorilla Biscuits
Posted by Berserk Dad at 4:47 PM