I’ve been a Dad for seven days.
An incomparable, indescribable human experience.
I do not possess the poetic gift to adequately paint a picture of the moment my son was placed in my arms.
If you’re a parent. You know.
If you’re not a parent. I wouldn’t be able to describe the feeling, even if my name was Walt Whitman.
More love than I had previously believed possible.
Intense diametrically opposed forces of fear and love, anxiety and pride pulling on my soul.
As every expectant parent hears a thousand and one times, I knew my life would never be the same.
Not because I had this new, very time consuming obligation relying upon me and my wife for survival.
…not an obligation.
No, nothing so shallow or selfish.
In that moment I was given purpose.
In a breathe, every priority in my life changed.
This was MY son.
A piece of my soul had been peeled away to create him.
My purpose, my responsibility… to help him become the best version of himself.
Tap into whatever potential he may be blessed with.
There he sat, right next to me… cooing as he dreamed his baby dreams and I share my thoughts with you.
What life will he live?
I can only teach him to live the life in which I live myself.
I want him to know possibility.
I want him to know creativity.
I want him to believe in a world beyond what we see today.
He will be my greatest creative endeavour.
To help him, I must first live the creative life I repressed for so long.
I must see the world as I hope my son will see it.
Because I’ve lived in cubicle hell.
I’ve been the cog in the machine. Worse I thought my job on the 23rd of floor of 3 World Financial Center in Downtown Manhattan was success in-and-of-itself.
For all intents and purposes I was stamping TPS reports like Peter Gibbons in Office Space. I had three bosses within eyesight of my desk and just like Office Space they regularly stopped by my “Work space” to check in on my “Progress.”
The truth is, they were bored. Just like me. But none of us had the balls to admit it.
I felt useless and helpless and dull… looking forward to which sandwich I’d choose from the company cafeteria.
Then, when lunch was over all I could think about was leaving.
The corporate cog is a life I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.
Underwhelmed by the life I was living and contribution I was making to it.
Inside us all is an intrinsic desire to provide value to the community we live in.
The Internet has made concept of “Community” very broad… but whatever community you live in, it is your obligation to feed it with creative energy.
Not because they’re incapable, but rather they have never opened their eyes to creativity. Life changes when we make ourselves available to creativity.
I learned this at 32 (and continue to learn it every day now at 37).
Creativity wasn’t frowned upon in my household growing up, but it certainly wasn’t encouraged. My parents viewed creativity as a luxury of those who didn’t worry about bills (because they were either too poor or too rich).
Can you imagine growing up thinking of creativity as a luxury?
I repressed my own creativity because I’ve never been rich and didn’t want to be poor.
So I did what I thought we’re supposed to do… nuzzle up to the corporate teat.
It’s sad to think it about today.
But the saddest scenario would be perpetuating the cycle with my son.
He doesn’t have to choose a creative life, but his creativity will be given respect. His creativity will be cultivated and encouraged.
And with a little bit of luck, he’ll marry his creative passion with a satisfying career.
The new American Dream.
A man tapped into his own creativity.
…and obviously this as just as true for women.
Thank you and Good luck,
I am Ryan Hanley