I watch with fascination and joy at the world my children create with their stories, their toys and the retelling of their days. Theirs is a world of adventure (firemen), imagination (dinosaurs), joy (ice cream), challenges (getting ready for school) and sorrow (not being in control). They see with wonder, experience with gusto, learn like sponges. Their future is unfathomable even as they struggle to understand the universe (what is bigger than …), death (is John Lennon still alive? When will I die?), why must I share my toys?
The world I inhabit now is about making their future a little better. Striving to understand my role as a father, living a healthier life, maintaining our friendships and real world social relationships (for myself and them), saving for college and of course, composting. I view culture, music, art, history, news and technology through the lens of what it means for my children. I balance living in the moment with my family with worrying about the future and my ability to provide, guide and care for them.
The world of my father is about the simple pleasures of retirement. Enjoying the present with family, television and spirituality. Fruit for breakfast, time with kids and grandkids, and the luxury of life on your schedule. A day without pains and cricket on TV is a good one. A day with no nap, is a tiring one. My father did his best to create something meaningful with his work. Important but ephemeral, lost in politics and war and diffused by time. His mission is mine too although less courageously. My father has earned his right to a retirement on his own terms. A present life among past memories, some joyous and some regretful.
For the first time, as a father of two boys and a living father, I see the arc connecting three worlds from birth to mid life to old age. These worlds connected by a biological arc, knowable only in the abstract, define my purpose, sense of self and inspiration. Time will complete the story of course, and then time will erase it.