When it comes to life stages, I’ve always had this desire to be ‘ready’ for the next one, whatever that meant.
As a single man, I tried to equip myself for the day when I would have a girl by my side. That said, as my relationship with Paula grew beyond a normal friendship I still felt woefully unprepared for the exciting phase I was entering. With so many unresolved issues, unconquered battles and unfinished thoughts I took on this new role of being a boyfriend. What I found was that stepping into the unknown world of relationships was exactly what I needed to figure out the issues that bugged me (or more precisely, helped me get over myself enough to realise that a lot of my personal issues didn’t actually matter).
Likewise, as I counted down to my wedding day, I would occasionally find myself freaking out at how ill-prepared I was to make such a huge, lifelong and life-transforming commitment. We’d talked things through, trying to pre-empt any issues we may encounter on our journey together, but we both knew that our feeble attempts at peering through the mists of time could very easily be misguided. Two and a half years later I’m more informed about what marriage entails, but still learning and discovering how to do this thing as we go.
Now once again, as I look forward to the arrival of my first kid, I’m facing something profoundly life changing that no amount of reading or studying can truly prepare me for. I’m not exactly where I want to be in my career, my relationship with Paula has room for a lot more growth and I still have projects, hopes and dreams that haven’t been fulfilled. Sometimes that scares me, but as I reflect on the curious way life works I’m also excited that the very process of becoming an awesome dad will grow me in ways I can’t even imagine now, with the ripples spreading across the whole of life.
Just to clarify, I’m not saying that trying to prepare yourself for these big changes is a waste of time. What I’ve learnt, though, is that not having all the answers shouldn’t be a reason for not taking the plunge and getting excited about the learning that will result.