An old saying claims that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I wish I could expand more on the validity of this ancient phrase, or speculate more about its origin. What woes must have befallen the poor sap who had coined the phrase? Regardless from whence it came, it has certainly found roots in my life this year.
We began the year with a vision of giving. Not just in the charitable sense of the word, but in every possible way. The idea was to dig in and to try my best to give, share and help. Be it advice, money, activities or anything else. We wanted to give a little bit of ourselves to all those around us, but life has a way of throwing a spanner in the works now and then.
Not long after my last post, our first child was born. I became daddy to the prettiest baby girl. I’m sure every father thinks his little girl is the prettiest. I do not wish to engage in a mine-is-the-cutest debate, but she is damn cute.
While fatherhood is an absolute adjustment, I believed it would still be possible to do my writing, both finishing of novels and penning new articles, while starting up a brand new business and focusing on our theme of giving. Then business took some interesting turns and I was forced to put writing a bit on hold while my wife tended to the little one. And, by the way, a baby should not be referred to as a bundle of joy. Where did that phrase originate from?!
Here is the thing about babies people tend to not warn fathers about. The first three months is not pretty, or cute, or beautiful, or any of those endearing words. That first part of a baby’s life is hard work. That’s right, I said it. The first three months for both parents is all business. You as a parent have been tasked with jump-starting a lump of flesh. It is basic biology. If you don’t feed the puppy, the puppy will die. Eat. Sleep. Crap. Repeat.
It was at this point, the pinnacle of adjustment, that life shifted a gear into chaos. We were just getting to that balance where we could cope with our annual theme, our new addition to the family and business. Alas, it was not meant to be. We might feel we are in control of how things go, but it is evident that we are not.
It was on a particularly blue Monday that I heard my mother had passed away, aged 62 and fairly healthy. This was a shock to the system, me and our house, and eventually, the business. I had to travel often to take care of the funeral and tend to estate matters, leaving the business in the capable hands of my staff.
Trials come and go, much like death and taxes. Then life goes on again. In light of this year, the one thing I am constantly reminded of, is the fact that life, in all its abundance and beauty, is also a finite thing, a flicker at best, and the only real sense of fulfilment is the manner in which we have occupied our time here. I am filled with a desire to do more, to reach further and to spend every minute wisely. By that I mean quality over quantity. Circumstance is a thief of time, constantly convincing us that the unforeseen and the inevitable has to take precedence. But there is nothing that should take precedence over family time. Nothing. If you MUST work, then find a way to do it with your loved ones or make sure that you set aside time for your family.
In the next post I will explain a bit more about my book tour to Namibia, and how I try to juggle between author, husband and daddie.