The Sunshine dad used to lie about his age. Then he kind of wished his kids were at different ages. Then he got the answer. Stop lying and wishing.
Have you ever lied about your age? As a kid and teenager I was always trying to look and act older. My best friend and I would regularly tell girls we would meet that we were a year or two older than we actually were. In turn we expected that girls were doing that to us as well and we had a “subtract at least two years” policy for whatever age a girl said she was. It was tricky at times because when we were 14 we couldn’t really say we were 16, or then we’d have to explain why we didn’t have our drivers license yet. And when we were 16 we couldn’t say we were 18 or it might come up that we couldn’t get into some 18 and up dance club. It’s a delicate balance to keep track of all your lies to strangers. At some point in life, however, the lie flips. No one wants to add years to their age, they are trying to take them off.
Some years ago it occurred to me that many people go through their entire life wishing they were a different age. I decided I was going to make a point of never wishing I was a different age. Sure I might reminisce about my younger years or try to imagine my older years but I no longer wish to actually be older or younger. I no longer lie if asked my age. It is what it is, and I can’t change it. Longing to be younger only robs me of focusing on the joy of the here and now. Spending my time wishing to be 24 again only prevents me from enjoying all the things I looked forward to doing at 34.
Then I had another realization. I caught myself saying “I can’t wait until all the kids are potty trained,” “I can’t wait until they can all bathe themselves,” “I can’t wait until they can do their own laundry,” “I can’t wait…” I had fallen into the same mindset, but with my kids. I can’t say how many times I have heard parents say “I miss that age.” Not only do we go through life wishing we were a different age, but we wish our kids were a different age too.
I’m making a decision to enjoy the time I have with them right now and to stop “waiting until.” Yes, some days may be tougher than others, particularly if I’m changing my 3rd dirty diaper before 8am. But so what. I can’t age them any faster and I can’t make them any younger. All I can do is enjoy every minute of right now. Sure I will still occasionally reminisce about when they were younger and I’ll periodically day dream about who they might become when they are older. But I will live with them in the here and now and enjoy every minute I can of today.
I encourage you to do the same. All we have is today, don’t waste it. Tomorrow isn’t promised and we can’t go back to yesterday. We might as well enjoy every moment of the present, whether it’s with ourselves or our beautiful children. Hug your kids a little bit tighter and a little bit longer today. And enjoy every second of right now.
Originally appeared on The Sunshine Dad.