Who Will You Be When You Grow Up?

It has been nearly 18 months now since my son was born and I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

I know what I am. I’m a dad. No job, no career, will ever be more important than that. Unfortunately, while very rewarding in its way, the pay isn’t very good and the bills still have to be paid. For a year and a half now I have been juggling, trying to spend as much time as possible at home, with my family, while still making enough to support us. The results, so far, have been mixed.

I’m self-employed, so to a certain extent I get to set my own schedule. If I don’t have anything scheduled for a given day I can stay home, and Nathaniel is delighted to have Daddy around all day. On the other hand, sometimes I get called out to work on a Saturday afternoon and I feel a certain resentment at missing that precious family time, but I do it because I can’t pay the bills with baby pictures, no matter how cute they are.

I’m luckier than most fathers, who may have to leave the house at 7:00am or earlier, and may not get home till 8pm or even later. They might spend little or no time at all with their kids during the week. Some of them may make more money than I do, have a bigger house and nicer things, but does the price in time that pay for that material wealth make them happier?

No one ever lay in bed at the end of their life and thought, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” For me, the family time is worth giving up a few gadgets and sweating a little more trying to make the finances work.

I write, I work with computers, but I’m not a writer, I’m not a computer technician. Those are things that I do. But what I am is a dad. Solving some computer problem may be satisfying in its way, but it’s nothing compared to my son running to greet me at the door, yelling, “Da’y, Da’y!” and throwing his arms around my legs.

Call me greedy, but I’d like to find a way to spend even more time with the family, while still paying the bills. It’s something that our society doesn’t make easy. Something that is actively discouraged, in fact, but I plan to do it anyway. If I can figure out how.

How about you? What brings you the most joy in your life, and how do you plan to spend the most time possible doing that?

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