Oftentimes we get caught up in what we believe is truth, without ever fully comprehending it. We prevent ourselves from experiencing exciting new things out of fear. We do this because of perception. We forget that it’s all conjecture and sometimes, unfortunately, we avoid the experience altogether. I did that with running, until I ran my first 5K. I spent years avoiding long distance running because of how I perceived the experience. To me it seemed daunting and I subsequently stayed away. However, after becoming a runner I realized I spent too much of my life shying away from great experiences simply because I thought they would be too hard. Then, one day, I became a father and the one experience that terrified me the most, ended up being the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
Being a parent is hard and I am just beginning. However, I knew it would be, which is why the thought of becoming a father terrified me. I knew being a parent would be difficult, as well as life changing. I knew the days of sleeping in would vanish in an instant. I knew that my life would no longer be about me, but rather my child. I knew all of this, but I didn’t fully comprehend it because I had never experienced it. It was all perception based on stories and other people’s experiences. I had no idea what to expect for myself, and I suppose nobody ever really does. When my wife and I decided to have a baby we did so knowing that it would be hard. We knew that it wasn’t like running a race where the finish line is just a few miles away. It was going to be a lifelong marathon with on the job training. However, it was an experience we wanted to share in. We heard so many horror stories, as well as wonderful stories, but in the end, we knew we would never understand until we had a child of our own.
Everyone tells you that, no matter what, your children are always worth it. When you don’t have kids this statement falls on deaf ears. People would tell us about being peed on, pooped on, lack of sleep, and having your world flipped upside down. In the end, though, they would say, “Oh, but it’s all worth it.” Of course we would stand there thinking, ‘what does that even mean?’
When my son was born it was immediately the best experience of my life. I watched him gaze into his mother’s beautiful blue eyes, smile, and lay his head on her chest as if he knew he was home. I watched him respond to my voice as he turned his eyes in my direction and I was filled with a moment of clarity, as well as immense amounts of joy and love. In that moment I knew why I was on this earth. I wondered what had taken me so long to experience this feeling. I had let my perceptions of becoming a father cloud the beauty of what it truly means to be a parent.
In the short time my son has been on this earth I have been pooped on, peed on, and kept up late. I have seen the world change in unimaginable ways. In the end though, even when I am up late changing a dirty diaper that has found its way onto my clothes, I look at my son, smile, and think about how he is worth it. It is a feeling that I cannot even put into words.
Never be afraid to experience the beauty this life has to offer simply because of perception. There are too many things to experience. There are too many moments that could pass you by. Life is too short to sit and wait for things to happen. Remember, there’s no limit on experiences.