I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t always a good friend. There was a time in my life when I was so incredibly selfish that I took advantage of people who I called friends, telling them what I thought they wanted to hear, making them feel special for the moment, and then forgetting all about them when the next one came around. Oh, and did I mention that during this time most of my friends were of the online variety? Or that I was 19 back then?
When I was 19 I was in a state of flux. College was on hold but I was still working at the campus library, I was still able to use my college ID to get into the computer labs, and no one had canceled my email accounts so I was all set to talk to people from all over the country, and indeed all over the world. My friend Anthony had gotten a hold of some pirated internet chat software called Homer. I’ll never forget it because it had a drawing of Homer Simpson on it. He gave me a disk and kept one for himself. And I was in business.
Now, you might not know how things were on the internet back then, still in its early stages, but it was all about messageboards, actual email conversations, and places called chatrooms. A chatroom was a place you could connect to at any time of day or night and others would more than likely be there… chatting. I was fascinated by chatrooms when I first found them. There were just so MANY of them it was daunting at the start, but then I got totally into it. At my apex I was spending up to eight straight hours sitting in a chair at an old-school Mac with the Homer disk in talking to people from all over the place.
I made so many friends it was incredible, and I called them friends, not “friends.” I mean, I spent more time talking to them through IRC (internet relay chat) than my own family, and my two real life friends. It was so easy, being so far apart from them, to embellish things about myself, and before long it was impossible to tell the real me apart from the various versions of me that I created to suit each other person. Then I started emailing them. They wanted to talk apart from chatrooms so I obliged. I began getting and sending a cubic ton of emails.
Then the phone calls started and I really couldn’t keep things straight. Continue reading “Friend 2.0”
A colleague asked me today if I lost my freedom when I became a father. I told him, “Yes, but I knew what I was getting into,” but both parts of that statement were false. Having kids didn’t destroy my freedom. In fact, it helped me revitalize myself. And I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. None at all.
Here’s what I knew going into parenthood:
- I wanted to spend time with my kids. Real time, like playing games and reading with them.
- I wanted to be on the same page with my wife when it came to discipline and enrichment.
- Kids go through stages, and I wanted to be prepared for each stage.
- Kids like animation, so I would probably be watching a fair bit of animation with them.
- I would be a role model for my kids, so I would have to be extremely careful in what I did and said
That’s it. That’s all I knew when we decided we wanted to be parents, and as I look through each of them I see shades of things that have happened over the course of these past 8+ years, but things don’t always happen the way we think they will. Kids are individuals, and no two are alike, so I’ve had to get to know my children. To find out what things they will copy and what things they won’t. To figure out how their minds work in order to absorb information. To learn how to head things off before they begin by being aware of what’s going on with them at all times.
And I’ve realized so much about myself in the process. I used to think I was so patient, that it was some innate talent I had, my superpower if you will. But when my daughter won’t stop repeating a line from one of her TV shows, or when she doesn’t pick up her skirt from the floor even though I’ve told her a million times, I find myself ready to blow my lid. All of that so-called patience just flies out the window and I need to go somewhere and control my emotions. It’s helped me to work hard on being truly patient instead of just saying I am.
I’ve also realized that planning means absolutely nothing when it comes to kids. Continue reading “A Father’s Freedom”
I had of course heard about it for nearly a year, this idea of a show that would take two of my favorite characters and bring them into a new era. You see, for those of us in Generation X there are benchmarks that we can all share, at least the ones born after 1975, … Continue reading Girl Meets World
The stone was ice cold, frigid to the touch, exactly like the other ones that went on for miles in every direction with no end in sight. Between the cracks in those stones, however, lived infinitesimal creatures who had no heartbeats and yet were still alive. They existed in the arctic temperatures like ticks on … Continue reading Evolution
Well, I’ll readily admit that I haven’t had much time for reading this week, what with my daughter’s preschool graduation, both of my children finishing school for the year, renewing old friendships, and writing a lot towards my new novel. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t read at all. I did get in some in-between … Continue reading Checked Out: Week 24