Chinese Lunar New Year is long gone. The lanterns (above) are packed away until the next firework-fueled blow out: Two weeks of the year that an entire nation stops.
When the next new year arrives I will be father.
A man approaching 40, a successful yet slightly unstable vagabond, an expat, a square peg in a round hole, will be a father.
The thought fills me with terror. Life is now real, each day flashing by in sickening Technicolor dread. Not that life wasn’t real before – but your existence takes on a Disney-quality when someone else pays all the bills.
You should be happy, Stevo, says the inner voice. A baby! You like babies. You love children. You are child, in a middle-aged body – this will be only job you will ever really be good at.
Why is inner voice so optimistic?
I’ve never run from responsibility – that has been my lot in life. Making decisions regarding the design of a wireless flash trigger and raising a child are worlds apart. Can I do it? Will the jitters go away? Or, am I destine to be a nervous wreck until Baby Stevo graduates university?
Don’t worry, everything will be fine. This is China, everything is always fine, you’ve learned that, worry wort, whispers the inner voice. The glass isn’t half full, it is full.
Half-empty then half-full – terror and joy holding hands with freakish regularity. That’s me, the lantern, blowing in the wind, between two extremes.
Seven weeks. That’s all. Seven weeks to stop being all dramatic, to put up and shut up, to be the man I should be – the man – the father – I want to be.
A bright and frightening future awaits.