Well, I've Made It This Far

Happy end of the year, and good riddance to the hardest year of my life. Some interesting phenomena about life after 11.5 months of being a dad:

every month is easier than the last

It’s still true. Upsides keep increasing; it’s kind of fun to take him on an errand or something. He can play with things and half-communicate. Downsides keep decreasing; his sleep is still not ideal, but mostly manageable. (one wakeup a night, and then gets up at 7am; I’d love those to be 0 and 8am, but what can you do.)

And I have more mostly-invisible skills. I don’t feel super-drained most days. I feel like I’m at Level 0 of the Dan Depression Scale most days.

passing time is an achievement

This has been true all year, and a stunning reversal from all previous years. Before 2023, when a day went by, I felt like I’m wasting my life, time was slipping through my fingertips, day by day. In 2023, every day that went by was a triumph. I’ve survived this day, I’m still alive, baby is still alive, T and I are still married, nobody’s in a terrible crisis. Incredible. (butterfly) is this gratitude?

bits of identity keep dropping off

I remember when I was 22 making a list of everything I cared about being good at. Making music, knowing my city, etc etc. The list keeps shrinking, and this year experienced a huge drop-off. In particular:

These two in particular are kind of sad, but actually feel good. It’s not that I feel like these paths (to be an Artist or a Data Scientist) are completely closed off, it’s that I feel free of the clinging to them. Maybe I’ll be more of an Artist or Data Scientist in the future, but if I don’t, it’s ok.

Did this happen because of my kid? If so, I don’t understand why. There’s an easy story that goes “I don’t need validation from accomplishments because being a dad is meaningful enough” but that doesn’t match my experience.

at any rate, I’m doing better

I wouldn’t say I’m unbothered, moisturized, in my lane, flourishing, but it’s been a long time since the Depression Index rose above 1, it’s usually 0. That’s pretty good. I’ll take it for now, I’ll keep surviving, and chalking it up as a win each day.

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