Nothing has changed.
That’s what I tell myself sometimes about our 4 years in Phoenix, even though:
-When we moved here we didn’t have a baby and now we do.
-When we moved here we owned a house in Colorado and now we don’t.
-When we moved here Colleen did not have a Master’s degree and now she does.
In that time, we’ve been to Egypt and Argentina, Vancouver and San Francisco. I’ve become a coffee drinker. Colleen has developed a taste for spicy food. We have a new bed, a new couch, a new TV, a new car, a new apartment. Colleen has gone through more jobs and internships than she probably cares to count. We’ve made new friends and developed new habits. So when I say nothing has changed, it’s usually specific to my job situation. I’ve been at 3TV longer than I’ve been employed anywhere else. That wasn’t necessarily the plan, but that constant is what allowed many of the other changes. And yet, so much has changed at the station, too. I’ve switched shifts, switched shows, launched a show, produced a documentary, won an award, seen my news judgement evolve, and fine-tuned how I approach producing shows and generating content. So when my brain thinks nothing has changed, it is missing the big picture.
Everything changes overnight.
That’s what they tell you about parenthood, and it’s partially true. I’ve never experienced a daily shift as dramatic as bringing a child home. And the permanence of fatherhood is also unique. And yet…I’m comforted by some of the small things that don’t change. We still need to take the dog out to pee. There are still dishes to be done. Our good friends are still our good friends. Yeah, having a baby has changed our lives in a big way. But Colleen and I didn’t change overnight. We still share the same sense of humor, the same interests, and the same love. Even Declan, who has changed remarkably in 5 weeks, maintains a pretty consistent lifestyle thus far: eat, poop, sleep, play on his changing pad, repeat. So when my brain thinks everything has changed, it is missing the details.
I find it useful to remember that nothing is ever as static or as tumultuous as it seems. It all depends on your focus, and sometimes, on the amount of sleep or alcohol you’ve had, or on the company you keep. Change is not a light switch, either on or off. It’s an ocean wave, constantly in and out, gently at times, not so gently at others. Sometimes you’re the sand castle. Sometimes you’re the ship. Sometimes you just are.