I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog for the last couple of weeks. With our baby only days or maybe weeks away (Ophelia is 37 weeks now), there has been a huge amount of reorganisation going on at lots of levels. The house has had a major reshuffle to create our baby’s room and this has prompted a general process of sorting and consolidation. It’s a great opportunity to get rid of things that no longer serve us, to throw them out or pass them along. My home environment is very important to me, so the level of disorder was at times difficult to live with, but I don’t let it effect me the way it used to. However, over the last couple of days it’s been very exciting as his room has started to take shape. Arranging various toys and books, and assembling new furniture fills me with a real sense of anticipation as I visualise playing with my boy – building lego towns, playing with toy cars and trains, going on adventures together on our bikes and horses, showing him the great places of the ancient world, or ripping down the slopes on our skis. I really can’t wait!
One thing Ophelia and I are very aware of is that this is a powerful period of transformation and growth in our lives. It doesn’t have to be, but we choose to let it be that. One of the biggest aspects of this is the shift from life being primarily about ‘Me’ to being about ‘We’ and ‘Us’. This has a profound effect on the decisions we make. I know that I am prepared to do anything for my family, for my wife and child – even things that I would not choose to do if it was only me that I was thinking about, where pride or fear might get in the way.
Now, I’ve always been considered a pretty mature person, since I was a little kid. Being an only child with a single mother heightens one’s sense of responsibility. But, even so, I really feel like I’m growing up, and it feels great. The best word that comes to mind is ‘liberating’. Liberation from what though? Well, it’s liberation from the fear and at times, excessive pride that can hold me back from living at the level that I know I can, and from the fears that get in the way of building the life we dream of.
Of course, it never is just about ‘Me’. But it’s easy to think it is – to think that our lives are disconnected and therefore have little effect on others. But knowing that a family depends on you shifts the focus. Fear, doubt, pride and small-minded ego just become insignificant. The choices I make, the actions I take, or don’t, now have even more direct consequences. So the focus is on the way forward, rather than the mental road blocks.
The truth is, this doesn’t just apply to becoming a parent. This applies in pretty much any and every area of our lives. All too often I see people with great talents and gifts who hold themselves back from the world for a multitude of perfectly good reasons. Nearly every time they underestimate what the cost of not contributing their gift is – the cost for themselves and those whose lives would be brightened by it. This takes some imagination and some honesty in owning the contribution you can make, no matter how small, knowing that we have a responsibility to ourselves, our families, our clients, our audience, and those we are yet to serve.