As London’s one-year birthday approaches, January 30th and the days preceding it are becoming clearer and clearer in my mind than at any point since.
Today, I am thinking of January 28, 2014.
I was in a bad state of mind that day, one day before Kate went into labor three months early. I had graduated with my master’s degree in International Studies six months earlier. I had spent summer, fall, and winter looking for meaningful employment in Denver and had found nothing.
On January 28th, I was at a coffee shop continuing my job search, but I was easily distracted and frustrated with so many things in my life. I was a few days shy of turning 31. I started to write my stream of consciousness down.
A wasted mind.
A wasted education.
Greatest accomplishment this year will be fatherhood.
Exciting that is, but I want something else.
Maybe staying home with the baby is the best.
But I’ll never know unless I get a job and can live the other side of things.
Since London was born, I have come back and read these lines a few times, but in a different mindset than when I put them down on paper. I no longer feel like my mind has been wasted. Of course, when I was in the middle of a fruitless job search it was easy to feel that way. It was easy to question my decision to go to grad school in a completely different field (IR) than my undergraduate studies (English). It was easy to get really depressed about having debt for the first time in my life, and all because of this damn master’s degree that I am not doing anything with.
A year later, the bit about the debt still angers me.
“Greatest accomplishment this year will be fatherhood.” On January 28th, I did not know a thing about what fatherhood would mean to me, thus thinking it would only be the greatest accomplishment that year. A day after writing this I was in fatherhood with no idea if my new duties would last a week, but I already knew that what I was doing during those days, what I was going to do in the days to come, would be the greatest accomplishment of not just the year, but of my lifetime.
In a way, I still want something else. I love my job. I am very happy with it. I know it will eventually change and I will be free to live the other side of things, but no matter what that other side is like, I will never get the sense of importance from it as I get from my current job. I did not know that on January 28th, but knowing it since has made all the difference during the seven months I have been a full-time SAHD.