Why is it then life often feels more like I live in a tumble drier hooked up to a V8 supercharged engine driven by Mad Max himself? I know I shouldn’t complain, and I feel guilty for even putting this in writing as in reality, thinks are pretty darn good. I live in a lucky and relatively safe country, I have family and friends that care, and enough money to enjoy some amazing adventures. I don’t have so much that I ever take them for granted.
The issue is time. When did life get so incredibly busy? My parents worked hard at work and home and their tough grind laid the foundation for a good work ethic in my sister and me. But they didn’t seem to be as frantic as my generation are. Growing up Dad left at 6:47 am to work a 6-day week, he is a creature of habit. On Sunday, he worked hard on the house we moved into when I was two where he still lives today, and with the time he had left, we socialised with friends or played tennis. He somehow even found the time to help the community with his forty-year commitment to the Lions Club.
Mum who sadly passed away some years ago after a marathon battle with cancer was very present with us. She worked part-time but was not expected to contribute financially giving her the freedom to dedicate time to be there every step of the way for us growing up. Having said that she wasn’t driving us to activities seven days a week, leaving time for us to ‘just be’ and utilise this time to do something creative and fun together.
Our life is just so different. Co-parenting, my wife and I running our own business to afford our mad lifestyle whilst finding time for everything our kids may want to do day in and out. Yesterday, my ‘Daddy Day’ is an example of this, up early to walk the dog, rushing them to grab dancing bag, bathers and guitar before school to ensure when I leave work early to pick them up I have time to make their engagements. I’ve worked out if I pick my son up, I have just enough time to take him for a swim to improve his fitness for basketball before picking up my daughter from art, with just enough time to get my son to singing before dropping my daughter at dancing before getting home, finishing school projects, eating dinner and getting the kids to bed so I can get back into work as a result of leaving early. My wife does this the other 4 days.
The reality is in trying to deliver every opportunity for our kids, I fear we don’t actually spend enough quality time with them. What will they think when they are 45 looking back at their childhood. Dad and Mum were there every day although they always seemed busy and stressed!
Will my son end up playing NBA for all this effort? Of course he will. Will my daughter be invited to join the Australian ballet? Who knows if she will still enjoy dancing next week? I have this nagging feeling the joke is on us.
Speaking of Dad, in all this rushing, when do I find time for him? Not for charity. I genuinely want to and should.
He is living by himself and keeps busy, but I’m sure he feels like a third wheel at best, and the nights he spends alone must be difficult, he can’t even use Netflix.
Fast forward fifteen years, heaven forbid after all this rushing my kids can’t find a night or two every month to hang out with the old man, assuming I haven’t burned myself out and been committed to an asylum. If life keeps accelerating, who knows I may be lucky to get 10 minutes of FaceTime or VR time or whatever is going to be the norm to make us feel connected with no time in the future.
I think we are all aware of the treadmill, the question is how to find balance? If I had time I should sit down with Dad and actually ask his advice, nah, I’ll just text him, I don’t have the time.