Living in the moment
What I’m about to write is, perhaps, my biggest downfall (discounting moodiness and a weakness for booze), and I’m hoping that by writing to you I’ll both cleanse myself a little and help you to not do as I have done.
I’m talking about not staying in the moment. About wallowing in the past or yearning for the next thing.
Being present physically, but not mentally.
Allowing trivial worries to cloud the day-to-day so much that I might as well be in Melbourne, Florida, not Melbourne, Victoria.
It’s certainly something that your mother has scolded me about many times – especially since you lot came into our lives.
Every so often, a milestone occurs that makes you realise just how quickly Father Time moves. For me, the latest such event was the start of the new school year. All of a sudden, I’ve got a child in grade two, another in kinder, and the youngest, off to kinder next year. And while I shuffle sideways – my adventures on hold and my routine anything but bold – you’re all moving upwards at a rate of knots that, if I think about it too much, chokes me up inside.
Don’t ‘dismiss’ someone you meet at a social gathering because you assume you’ll never meet them again – you never know where a conversation might take you.
I often observe people, living lives that are seemingly no different to mine but doing so with a certain keenness that I envy. They’re mindful, grateful, in the spaces they continue to move into. While my plate is full, and laden with new developments (mostly through you guys), not much resonates for too long.
By way of example, Avie: last year I had you and Bonnie each Monday while your mum worked. We’d head out for an adventure in the mornings. To the Zoo. To Royal Park. The Maribyrnong River. To one of the local parks or play centres. I’d be there, with you, watching you for a while after you both sprung, wide-eyed, from the double pram, but, inevitably, I’d reach into my pocket for my phone, or I’d be thinking about paying bills or where my next writing job was coming from, or which running route to take when I can next escape from the house, or whatever; your beautiful free spirits were running wild in front of my very eyes and you’d hit me with questions about birds and signs and the sky and still I couldn’t see the light for the grey.
They were nice enough days, the Mondays, but they weren’t magical; and for that I’m at fault. And now that you’ve started kinder, Avie, Mondays with you are – rather suddenly – no more. And in the blink of an eye, you’ll all be in school and those exhausting pre-school years will be a faded memory and all I’ll have left behind are the same tiresome worries but not the fond memories that I should have.
These are stressful, unyielding times, and, from a practical standpoint, my worries over money, job security and the next thing (whatever that may be) are natural. Dads are meant to worry about providing. But when your natural bent is anxiousness, you’ll always find something to worry about. I know I need to change my approach, from the inside out, to make the most of the remaining pre-school time left. It’s something I’m working to address through breathing, occasional meditation, exercise and, sometimes, leaving my phone at home – or tucked away in a pocket of the pram while we’re out playing.
I just hope that when you’re older you’ll not be distracted by things that don’t matter; that you’ll show every person you meet the respect they deserve and stay engaged when in conversation with them; that you don’t ‘dismiss’ someone you meet at a social gathering because you assume you’ll never meet them again – you never know where a conversation might take you. I’m almost 40 and only realising that.
Try to enjoy and embrace new experiences and challenges that come your way. And never wish time away, because everything goes by fast enough as it is. You’ll find that out soon enough.