Friday, November 02, 2007

This whole impending parenthood thing is giving me the opportunity to restart my mindfulness practice. Or, more accurately, it's creating a need for me to do so.

See, whenever there's a big life change, my mind kicks up fear the way a gravel road kicks up dust. New house, new fears. New guy at work, new fears. Etc. It's an undeniable pattern, and a total pain in the ass.

So when my brain tells me we have to put the baby's room upstairs because the downstairs bedroom isn't dingo-proof, and that means we'll need to move our bedroom to be closer to the stairs, and we'll need a tub in the upstairs bathroom, and grip tape on the stair treads and a better railing, and maybe it's be just cheaper to put bars on the window, but then the windows won't open, so we'll need to switch from casement windows to doublehung, and that won't go with the rest of the house, so we'll have to change the rest of them, too, and now we're back to just putting in a tub upstairs, and maybe a nicer closet and do something about the carpeting. But then how do we pay for college if we're rebuilding the house? Oh, sweet jesus, what about college? Will they get a scholarship? Will they slack off in high school as much as I did, and what sort of weird 21st century drugs will there be that they need to stay off of and how will I be able to talk to them about that, and what if they want a cell phone implanted in their head, and then it gets a virus and they get turned into a zombie mall-walker, and what if they're a zombie mall walker even without getting a cell phone in their head, and what if they're as mean to Christie and I as I was to my parents when I was that age, and am I really ready for all that?

Now, yes, I could log on to Wikipedia and figure out that the rates of wild dingo attacks in this part of Missouri are minimal, but that's not really going to work. The beast just grows another head, and sooner or later, one of those fears is going to be something real, something I can't refute. Actually, I can think of a dozen or so real fears without even really thinking, just by letting my monkey mind off its leash for a bit.

The point is not whether a particular fear is real or bullshit, the point is the fear itself: my mind working itself up into a lather, brainstorming potential problems because that's what it thinks it's supposed to do. It's a useful skill, but only if I can turn it off (or tune it out). Luckily, I've had some good teachers on how to do that.


moreena said...

Belated congratulations!

"Zombie mall walker" fears? You are going to be one fantastic dad!

Mike said...

Thanks. I've got hopes.