It is hard to believe that a year has passed since the most nerve-wracking, yet exciting and wonderful, moment in my life. It was a moment that seemed to take forever to arrive (in addition to the standard 9 months, Kathryn went 2 weeks overdue), but when it did I knew that my life would never be the same again. And I couldn’t have been happier….
In this article I want to share with you how fatherhood has changed my life. Although this is a very personal article, I believe there are many lessons that anyone can take away from my story. The realization that I was to be a father was a catalyst for change in my life, but I am sure there are a number of different paths people can take to the outlook I have today.
When I reflect on my life prior to hearing the news that I was to be a father, many good things come to mind. Kathryn and I had been together over 2 years, and we were living a fun and happy life. But underneath this, I had a longing for something more. I was starting to grow tired of the big weekends that left me recovering for days, but I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself.
As I have previously written about, I did not initially welcome the news that I was to be a dad. I think the main reason was that I had all these other things planned for my life before I took the big step into parenthood: traveling the world (again), getting rich, etc. I experienced a few months of intense soul-searching before I finally came to be excited about the news.
Motivation to Change
How did I come to be excited about the news? When I think about it, it comes back to the way I changed my thinking. I did not discard my plans, rather I changed them to accommodate the new baby that was to come into our lives. A close friend of mine said me: “why can’t you have a baby and still travel the world and make money?” To this day, that has stuck in my mind and motivated to work hard towards creating the life I want. And I should point out that much of this “work” I refer to has been work I have done on myself (ie self improvement). I strongly believe that private victory precedes public victory. So I didn’t really know where I was headed, but I figured so long as I committed to improving myself then things would work out.
A New Life
On February 10, 2007, we welcomed our son Xavier into the world (yes, this post is a little bit late :) ). The following are some of the important ways that I have changed:
A sense of awe. It was when I saw Xavier for the first time that I truly understood what a miracle life is. To hold this little human being, with his little fingers and tiny feet, left me in awe of just how truly amazing life is. And this sense of awe has changed how I view my everyday surroundings, in particular nature. Often I will just stop and admire a beautiful tree or the snow-covered mountains here in Vancouver and think: “Wow – that is amazing”.
Awareness of my own mortality. I remember driving home from the hospital, on my own, a few hours after Xavier was born. I had so many emotions rushing around inside of me, but one of the most intense was a sense of my own mortality. I had never felt so alive, but by the same token I had never felt so vulnerable. I drove home particularly careful that night, knowing that my life now had a new meaning.
Meaning. I mentioned at the start of this article that I had been longing for something more in life. I now realize that I was searching for meaning, and in Xavier I found that meaning. Now, I don’t think having a kid is a prerequisite for living a meaningful life, nor do I want fatherhood to be the only thing that beings meaning to my existence. But what fatherhood has done is to help me understand what a wonderful feeling it is to live with meaning, and I now do things (eg write for this blog and volunteer) that also give me this same sense of meaning.
Connected to the world. I have always considered myself to be a bit different, and this has at times left me feeling unconnected to the world around me. But Xavier has connected me to the future, and for this reason I now care more than I ever have about the fate of the humankind and the world we live in. Whether the issue is the environment or politics, I realize that what we do on this planet today will affect the future for our sons and daughters, and then their sons and daughters one day.
A desire to make a difference. Because I now feel a greater connection to the world I live in, I want to make a positive difference. It is no coincidence that I started this blog soon after Xavier was born. I see this site as a manifestation of my newfound calling to help other people live better lives.
A Couple of Photos
The year has gone by so fast. In seemed like just yesterday that I was holding Xavier in the hospital right after he was born:
They certainly grow a lot in the year. Here is Xavier wearing his Halloween pajamas:
Yup, it’s been a big year of change. And I wouldn’t have it any other way…..