These days, most of you know me as a laid-back father who loves nothing more than patiently reading books to my daughter, mellowing out by watching my beloved NY Mets, or having long dinners at home with my lovely and beautiful wife.
But, once upon a time, when I was a wee single laddie living it up in the bright lights of Manhattan, I used to run around this city like it was my own personal sandbox. Being a young man in my 20's with an abundance of energy and absolutely nothing to worry about except paying the rent and making it to my desk in the morning, my social life made "Bright Lights, Big City" look like an afternoon TV special.
I was a "work hard/play hard" kind of guy in the sense that it took a lot of work for me to play that hard.
Recently, I was cleaning up my office when I came across my 1999 monthly planner. Curious about taking a walk down memory lane, I flipped through my datebook to see what I had been up to exactly seven years ago.
Looking back, I hardly recognize myself or the things that I was doing at the time. At the risk of sounding like a completely vapid asshole, here's what my planner says I was doing during June of 1999:
- Attended Vogue Magazine party for Anna Wintour at Mercer Hotel.
- Knicks vs. Pacers playoff games at Madison Square Garden.
- Volunteer work at adult illiteracy program.
- Dinner at Indochine with designer Michael Kors and friends.
- Anniversary party for a friend's nightclub.
- Opening party at art gallery for Peter Beard.
- Attended Yasmina Reza's off-Broadway play "Art."
- Long weekend partying in Paris with friends from college.
- Private screening of "Fight Club" at HBO.
- Canoe trip in the Delaware Water Gap.
- Garden party at MOMA, Hole concert at Roseland, Neil Young at the Garden.
- Assorted dinners/dates at restaurants all over town.
Looking back, I don't have any regrets about this time of my life. Despite the fact that my social calendar resembled a bad episode of "Sex in the City," from what I can remember, I had a pretty fun time back then. In fact, I've always thought that EVERYONE should live in NYC when they're in their 20's. It's a great place to be young and single.
However, I'm also self-aware enough to realize that despite all the fun I was having, my life was emptier than Gary Busey's minibar at the Chateau Marmont.
Back then, older friends of mine would always tell me about how much better life got for them when they reached their 30's and settled down. Being a sarcastic wise-ass, I would always reply by saying, "I'm sorry. Did you say something? I couldn't hear you. Claudia Schiffer is yelling in my ear about going to Bowery Bar and doing tequila shots off Kate Moss' neck. Gotta go!"
But there comes a time in a man's life when it's natural to settle down and reevaluate one's priorities. For me, that happened the very first day that I met the lovely BossLady. Sure, it helped that I'd already completely mastered Tetris and that the Mets were 20 games behind Atlanta but I think those were more coincidences than causation. Meeting the BossLady truly changed my definition of what "having fun" was really about.
And as much as my life changed by marrying the BossLady, it changed even more with the birth of the Peanut. Nothing quite turns an adult inside out like having children. Without a doubt, parenting is the most important thing I have ever done or will do. I've embraced this new stage of my life wholeheartedly and I've found that I'm having more fun than I've ever had in my entire life. Living with the BossLady and the Peanut is a blast and I wouldn't trade this time for anything in the world.
But you know when I really realized that my life had changed irrevocably?
Last night, when I turned to the Peanut and said, "eat your vegetables or no dessert."
Once you utter those words to your kid, there's no turning back.