The start of a new year is as good a time as any to take a few moments, reflect on what has been and what is, and to think about what may be.
For me, 2016 was a good year. Most significantly, it was the year in which my amazing little fire-monkey was born. For this reason alone I will forever look back fondly on 2016.
But there are other reasons for me to be thankful for 2016 as well. I feel like I grew up a lot this year. With the birth of a baby comes a definite shift from man-child to full-blown adult (I still have my moments, see Daddy Downtime).
Unexpectedly, my new-found outlook on life led to a major shift in work-home priorities. I had always worked hard in my job and made no secret of my desire for promotion. From the day I first walked in to meet my boss, I told him I’d one day be sitting in his chair. I had always put up my hand for extra responsibilities. I had identified my weaknesses and worked hard to address them. Because of all this, there was a feeling of being at a major crossroads mid last year. I had assumed I would always work full-time in a professional capacity as a way of supporting my family, yet, here I now was, with an opportunity for promotion in front of me. What did I do? I told my boss that I wanted to work three days a week, so that I could spend more time with Hannah! Wow! I did not see that coming! But I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
It has not all been smooth sailing. Becoming a father for the first time has a steep learning curve and I made my fair share of mistakes. I try to view such mistakes as steps along the path from amateur to expert and I make a conscious effort to become a better father as each day passes. I see friends less and I have never been more consistently tired (despite Hannah being a champion sleeper). This is in part due to my inability to get the work-life balance correct while working full time (old habits can die hard), while still being an attentive and present father. On top of that a constant media climate of doom and gloom did its best to dampen the mood.
Where I am now is a happy place. I can look myself in the eye when I stand in front of the bathroom mirror and say that I am happy with the choices I have made. I’m healthy and so is my family. I’m not rich (working part time isn’t going to help that situation), but we get by okay. I’m very happy that I made the decision to start writing just over three months ago. I am already enjoying looking back at past posts and being reminded of some of our adventures. They grow and change so quickly, it’s easy to forget what it was like even a few short months ago.
So, what about 2017?
It’s always a challenge to look into the future and I tend to shy away from too much peering into the crystal ball. But I think it will be a good year. I think I will enjoy working three days a week, especially as it gives me two whole days as primary carer for Hannah. That will have its own challenges I guess.
Emma will return to work. She will also be working three days a week. This will be a challenge for her as she adjusts to time away from Hannah and tries to find the not-so-easy to achieve work-life balance.
There will be travel. We have just booked our first ever plane trip with Hannah – a quick trip up to Brisbane. We are also planning on a more substantial adventure to Japan later in the year.
Hannah will grow older. She will become bigger, bolder, faster. She will walk unassisted (she’s so close already). She will grow her vocabulary and her understanding of the world around her. She will transition from baby to toddler. She will have even more opinions and more personality.
And I will write. And write, and write and write. Because it help me to remember. Because it helps me to enjoy. Because I want to share my experiences as a learning father with others who are interested.
Happy New Year,