I haven’t known quite what to do with this blog since starting my Macworld job. Macworld owns first dibs on my tech writing, and I haven’t yet come up with anything I want to write that wouldn’t make more sense on Macworld than it would here.
But I have some non-tech thoughts to share today. My two daughters both had their year-end shows at school today. The older one—Anya—graduated from pre-school, and starts kindergarten in the fall. The thought of it makes my head hurt.
For a couple weeks, Anya’s been rehearsing her big song-and-dance number for us at home. The girls sang the (awful) Katy Perry song Firework, with delightful “dance” moves to go along with it. I hate the song, but I love Anya’s rendition of it.
Anya’s not the loudest kid in her class, or the biggest ham on stage. (That award went to a boy who belted every song they sang, except for when he forgot the words.) But she did great during her graduation show, singing—even if quietly—and nailing all the moves.
I got misty-eyed during her performance of Firework. I don’t know if I would have had I not seen her practicing at home, but I knew how hard she was working to nail the number, how wide her arms got as they pointed up to the sky at one moment, and how massive her grin was when she started the arm-shaking chorus dance. And she did awesomely today, and it struck a chord with me.
I thought about the girls’ shows today for the rest of the day. I thought about how excited I used to be on the last day of school growing up—though certainly not at Anya or Sierra’s ages, when it means a lot less. I thought about how excited I felt about my high school graduation, and how excited/scared shitless I felt at my college graduation. I thought about how my graduation from college was more than nine years ago.
I thought about how if Anya’s 4.5 now, and we multiply our time with Anya to date by four, she’s 18 already and going to college and moving out and holy Moses where does the time go. And when that happens I’ll be in my mid-40s. If they’re getting older, I’m getting older. As promised, it’s going by fast. We try our hardest to enjoy every minute of it, but there are always days where we can’t wait for the kids’ bedtimes, or days where we feel like we’re doing nothing but reprimanding.
Those days suck. The good days, though… The good days are just terrific.
But my newborn son Liam is now my 3.5-month-old. Anya is headed to kindergarten, and Sierra’s going to be in the 3-year-old class next year. Time is flying like an arrow.
All of which is my lead-in to say this: I’m absolutely delighted that I started working for Macworld at the end of April. The decision was a scary and difficult one; my last job paid quite handsomely and included some unique upsides. But I wasn’t passionate about what I was working on, and I kept on doing it anyway because of the paycheck. And, frankly, because Macworld hadn’t hired me yet.
When Macworld finally made an offer, I’d like to say that I jumped at it. But I didn’t. I wanted to jump at it, but I sweated it like crazy. Lauren and I discussed what it would mean for me to take a big pay cut (more than 50 percent), change careers, and start back near the bottom of the totem pole.
We decided we could probably make it work financially. And the biggest factor for me was simple: Beyond the idea of doing something I love, I wanted to be the right kind of role model for my kids. I wanted to be able to show my kids that it’s more important to find something you love doing than to make the biggest paycheck. (Sure, if you can find both at once, more power to you!)
They’re too young to appreciate the lesson now, but I can’t wait until I can
bore them with it talk to them about it one day.
So as I thought about how fast my kids are growing up, and how quickly we’re all growing up, I appreciated my Macworld jump even more. If life really is going to live up to the cliché and be so frustratingly short, it’s imperative that I spend it doing things that I love.
Congratulations, girls. I’m super proud of you.
Just… slow down a little, okay? Stay little a little while longer. Love, Daddy.