The Parenting Playlist 001: Origin Story
This is a time of year for resolutions. We all know the drill: pause, reflect, think ahead, resolve. The unspoken final step in this whole process doesn’t really pop up until after the new year has passed, after all the parties are done, after all of that the joy, love, and optimism have faded into slush and deadlines. That’s when the last resolution step finally kicks in: you forget.
That’s not to say all resolutions are left behind. In 2008 I had one clear resolution that I staggeringly proclaimed to everyone who would listen on new years eve. I boldly pronounced: “This will be the year that I get married”. Three days into the year I crossed that one off the list. Emboldened by my resounding success, my resolution for 2009 was a little more risqué. I laughed at Fortune’s fickle face as I described my surely soon-to-happen triumph, “This will be the year that I get my first novel published”. Three years later, I’m about to renew that resolution once again.
That's not a big deal; new year’s resolutions come and go. But what if it’s not a new year that you are starting? What if it is a new life?
In October of this year my partner informed me that we had done just that. The two of us had created a new life.
This came as first piece of truly good news in what had been a rough fall. I had lost my job as a teacher. I had found that the job market, even for tutors, had all but disappeared. And my basement was full unsold copies of my self-published novel. As I told a friend, between job applications I knew I’d never hear back from, I felt lost.
Learning I was going to be a father didn’t change this problem. Infact, after the initial high came a nagging worry: is my baby going to look up to a father who can’t even find a job?
Coming into the holiday season I still have no answer, and no job, but I have been given another blessing. One of my favourite parts of this season is that all of my best friends come home. Over the course of many conversations and drinks a certain pattern emerged. All of us were a few years out of school, all of us had spent some time in and out of the workforce, all of us were puzzling over how to turn our passions into a sustainable living. Each of us had our own spin: my illustrator friend had just found a great job as a framer, my photographer friend had his first gallery show, and I had my baby.
Up until this point in our lives, we had all been working to open as many doors as possible. Nearing the end of our twenties we all had felt something change. This was the moment. Now was when we would have to pick which doors to enter and which to leave behind. Now was the start of our new lives.
So which door do I choose? Well I am sure of two things: I am a writer and I am a teacher. But peeking through those doors, I see no clear signs of employment.
Hmm. Let’s put it another way. What’s my resolution for 2013?
I could take the easy way out and say, “This will be year I am going to become a Father”.
Or, on the other hand, I could overreach and predict, “This will be the year that I get my book deal and support my child with royalties from my bestseller”.
Instead I think I’ll try something different. This year I’ll keep it simple: twice a month I’ll post some words and music here detailing where my search as a Future Dad has taken me next. It may not be much but it feels like a step in the right direction.
So here is to new beginnings. And here is the first Parent Playlist, featuring all sorts of songs about starting new adventures.
And when I do feel lost again, as I’m sure I will, I can always keep writing here, hoping that someone else out there who feels just as lost in it all can find that they’re not alone either.
Hope and Adventures. 2013 is off to a good start.
Mark Kowgier is a novelist, poet, and teacher from the great white north. Follow his reading tweets (@upinmytree) or see funny pictures of him at markk.ca