I've led lots of different lives. For fifteen years I played 100+ softball games a year traveling all over in tournaments. For ten years I played 100+ rounds of golf per year, going on golf trips and playing in golf leagues. During all of that time I drank tons of beer, did lots of gambling and had lots o' fun.
For the past four years I've been "Dad".
I am not going to lie and say "being a Dad is the best thing I've ever done". I won't lie and say "I don't even remember what it was like before I had kids, what did I do with myself?". Anyone who tells you that stuff is completely full of shit.
I love being a parent. I revel in my sons' accomplishments like the other day when my 4 year old son hit a baseball over the fence into his grandpa's yard 60 feet away. I beam with pride when my 2 year old speaks in full sentences that even strangers can understand. But I miss sleeping. I miss golf. I miss my former life. I remember exactly what I did before I had kids and my wife similarly recalls our grand life before kids.
My wife and I lived what I call "reverse retirement". We had double income, no kids and for a long time, lived the "life of Riley".
My typical June weekday went as follows:
6 AM - go to the gym
7:30 AM - leave the gym
8 AM - eat breakfast at home, read the newspaper
9 AM - go to one of my "group homes" to check on the clients and do some work.
10:30 AM - go to the golf course and play 9 holes
Noon: - Eat lunch at the course
1PM - Go home, take a nap
3 PM - Go back to the golf course, chip and putt until I play in one of my three leagues. Call work to check in.
4-7 PM play in my league.
7-9 PM drink beer.
9-11 PM Hang with my wife (maybe some lovin'), sleep.
Weekends were all about me and my wife sleeping in till whenever, going out to brunch, taking weekend getaways, golfing, movies, dinner.... hedonism at its finest. We vacationed liberally and spent money friviously.
My buddy Billy came over for coffee this morning and I was discussing my former life. Billy and I used to play golf every day and spent many a morning drinking coffee commiserating about our hangovers. He reminded me of a morning five years ago not unlike today, sunny and warm, when over coffee I was complaining about how stagnant things had become for me and my wife. I thought my marriage was in trouble. I kevetched about wanting kids and a house etc..
So I've decided that its great to look back on the good old days, but "the good old days weren't always good, tommorrows not as bad as it seems" (Billy Joel, "Keeping the Faith"). My life is great, probably as good as its ever been.
I will still long for those days of 36 holes of golf on the "Vineyard" and sleeping until 10:00 AM., just as twenty years from now I will long to hear the sound of my boys playing in the yard, to smell maple on their breath after eating pancakes or to feel the warmth of the four of us snuggling in bed on a chilly winter morning.