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Just Thinking by Ray Printer Friendly

In case you're wondering, I have a kid, now. In case you're wondering if that's all I'm going to talk about from now on, the answer is, yes, probably.

I spent the weekend wondering about things. About how people do it.

Not the taking care of the child thing; that hasn't been so bad. He cries a lot, but not nearly as much as most adults I know, and at least he has a good reason. I worked customer service, man--there isn't much an infant can do that will impress me, compared to what your average jackass will do when he doesn't get his mail-in rebate check in a timely manner.

I've been wondering about how people retain their identity, once they have a child. Is it possible? I sort of don't think it is. I feel like you have to sacrifice who you were and become a new person. Sure, it's a very similar person, but it's not the same person, by any stretch of the imagination.

I'm trying to remember who I was at this time last year. I remember I had a garden, and I went to Ohio for a vacation. I can't remember too many specifics, which doesn't surprise me--I lead an unremarkable life, these days. I've been trying to remember, though: my mindset; my identity. Because I feel like I'm a different person, but I can't be sure unless I remember who I was before.

Most people are in a constant state of flux, so maybe none of us are the people we were a year ago. In fact, I think that's probably a safe bet. But creating another human, that trumps most kinds of change one generally goes through in a year.

The stuff that was so important not so long ago is muted. The everyday drama I see play out around me is mundane and pointless. And I realize that it isn't because these things have become less important on a worldly scale--I just don't care about them, anymore.

I have a child to protect, to watch over, to raise. That is the only thing that's important to me, since his arrival.

And therein lies the question. Have I lost my identity?

My desires, my dreams, my goals have taken a back seat, compared to his. I had my chance to do something with my life; now my mission is to do my best to make sure he gets that same chance.

I've read the books, man. They have all kinds of advice about how you need to retain your sense of self. You have to anchor yourself with periodic "me time."

In case you're wondering, that's what this is. This is "me time." This is me taking time for myself, to write, to retain my sense of self. I'm using it to write about my kid, and I'm using it to wonder why. What's so important about "me time?" What's so great about retaining my sense of self?

Here's the thing: my "self" isn't so great. I despise social interaction, I'm selfish, I whine too much, I'm rude, I'm judgmental, and I lack self control. Those are just the traits I was able to type without even pausing to think it over.

So what's the point of trying to preserve that identity?

Maybe I'll look back at this post and laugh, someday. I'll shake my head and think, "What a naive mindset, how could I have ever typed those words?" Only time will tell.

But right now, I feel like I have given up who I was, and I don't think that that's necessarily a bad thing. I was an idiot. And I still am. But now, I'm an idiot with a mission.

It's my job to nurture my child and help him grow into a man who will make the world a better place, if only by a little bit.

It's my job to think about every word before I say it, because there is another set of ears listening. It's my job to view the world with a broader pair of eyes, because I have to introduce it to someone who knows nothing about it. It's my job to pay attention to every tone of voice, every level of volume, and every facial expression, because he's picking up all this from scratch, and I'm one of his main sources of knowledge.

It's a big responsibility.

And to tell you the truth, I'm not sure that the me from a year ago could have handled it.

So do I need to retain that identity?

Nah, man, I don't think I do.

Posted under The Rants on 7/12/2015

Entered By Blu Roze From Unknown
2015-07-12 22:40:28

"Here's the thing: my "self" isn't so great. I despise social interaction, I'm selfish, I whine too much, I'm rude, I'm judgmental, and I lack self control. Those are just the traits I was able to type without even pausing to think it over." So what's the point of trying to preserve that identity?" The point is to glean from that identity when you see those same traits in your child. Infants have a sharp mental acuity. Their only limitations are physical.

Entered By Anonymous From Unknown
2015-07-13 01:41:44

Very well put, Dawg, and I agree 100%. My oldest is 16, and I personally HATE 'me' time. My boys have led me to things I never would have come to on my own--including my black belt in karate. A normal, healthy person is always changing, with new identities developing constantly. You don't lose your identity by being a good parent--you find it. You are gonna rock this dad thing.

Entered By AnoPam Haines From Lipscomb, TX
2015-07-16 17:37:09

You, Sir, are an honorable man. And your son will follow suit . . .

Entered By Pheel From Dallas
2015-09-02 17:18:18

You can always retain yourself, the parts of you that are worth salvaging. That's what kids do, make you chump the chaff and keep the good stuff. Because you can't bullshit a two year old at three in the morning. You kid will be a statement of who are, what you had to say, how you did things, run the filter that is ultimately them, that you had nothing to do with but make a genetic dump. So you'll still be you. You might forage a little harder, worry a little more, wonder what kind of God forsaken filthy awful thing you have done to an unfinished human being, but that shit comes with the turf. But the you that does what you do, the things that make you tick, that's you and you're stuck with it. Just like the kid is with you.

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