Dad Fears

Son, I’ve worked hard all my life to put a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on your back. Now, you want to throw that all away and hit the road like some sort of Gypsy? What will you do when you’re old and can’t work anymore? What about your retirement? What about the kid’s education? How much do you earn at your job now? AND YOU’RE PREPARED TO THROW THAT AWAY? There aren’t that many jobs that pay {insert any salary here} you know.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING!

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These are real fears. Ones that our own Dads verbalised as we planned and embarked on Our Global Adventure. Fears that are born out of genuine love and concern for our wellbeing, and based on the rationale of their own upbringing and their own paradigm of the world.

I’m a Dad too.

I bring my own set of fears to the table (aside from the unthinkable fears that all parents share). What if this does all go belly up? What if I did leave a great paying job to embark on a fool’s errand of dream chasing? What if I do let my family down? What if “I TOLD YOU SO”? What if, what if, what if.

I’ve spent the last decade being the best Dad I knew how to be. Work hard, get promoted, buy a better house, a newer family car, send the kids to a better school. BE A PROVIDER. That’s what Dads do right?

Maybe I defined myself as a Dad? Maybe this is part of my stereotype for Dads?

Those who have followed our progress so far will know that our house sold 3 months ago, we sold all our stuff and hit the road. Essentially, we liquidated our assets (or liabilities, as the case may be). The life that we had poured our hard earned cash into for more than a decade, we reduced to a single monetary amount that would give us a new start.

A redefined lifestyle and with it a redefined Dad. A new definition requiring the release of fear.

What is fear anyway? Some would say that it’s just False Experiences Appearing Real. (I read that somewhere – full credit to the original author) Regardless of how you define fear, it can be paralysing, and I’ve heard that all the good stuff is just on the other side.

So, addressing Dad Fear:

What will I do in retirement?

The sky is now the limit. I consider how retirement would have been had we not made these changes. What would my health look like? My passion for life? I’m not sure how Gina & I will spend our twilight years, and that alone is a wonderful feeling. It could be a coastal village in Spain, a mountain retreat in Australia’s Blue Mountains or a tropical South East Asian paradise. Or, it could be somewhere we haven’t even thought of yet, and that thought brings a tingle to the senses.

What about the kid’s education?

It’s in OUR hands. The responsibility for educating our kids has always been ours as parents. The responsibility for education has never been that of the school, just as the responsibility for health has never been that of the Doctor. Now our Children attend the school of LIFE, and we have the gift of being there with them. I truly believe that the next generation of leaders will not be those educated only in a classroom, but those with lateral thinking, those with a deep, spiritual understanding of our planet and those who have learnt to communicate deeply and compassionately with all people. Those with LIFE skills. Leaders or otherwise, I choose this path for our kids, as the real happiness is in learning those skills, and life is too short to be anything but happy.

What if I can’t provide for my family?

Dad fear 101. And for this, I dig deep. What am I good at? What do I enjoy doing that I could charge for, and people would be happy to pay for? What skills do I have, that despite not enjoying, I could fall back on if I needed to? Who are the people in my life now, that I can say “hey, I need a hand” to? Who will the people be, entering my life in the future? HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE TO THOSE PEOPLE AND TO THE WORLD?

When I write this all down on paper and look at it, this is when it hits me.

My power, true power, doesn’t lie in my profession, nor my status, nor my stereotype for “Dad”. Not in the salary for which I traded 40-50hrs a week, every week, and certainly not the possessions that cluttered our lives.

My power, no, my freedom lies in my ability to produce results. To solve problems. To contribute to the world and people around me. To pay it forward with faith and gratitude. Freedom is the knowledge that if it does all go belly up, there is no “I told you so”, just a new approach required and a lesson learned along the journey of life.

So Dad fear be gone. I have no time nor energy for it.

False Experiences Appearing Real.

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  • What is fear anyway? Some would say that it’s just False Experiences Appearing Real.  Buffer

8 thoughts on “Dad Fears

  1. That was inspiration to read Simon. Your determination to succeed far outweighs the chance of you failing. And if you get setback, I know you all have the ability to re-access and go again. You have only ever failed when you stop trying, so don’t let False Experiences Appearing Real get in the way of a great adventure. No, not a great adventure, that makes it sound like your on some children’s tour. Don’t let it get in the way of LIFE!

    Love to you all

  2. Dreams only work if you do – so follow your dream .. that way it will work!!
    Remember – life is not about waiting for the storms to pass
    It’s about dancing in the rain … be rain dancers!!!! And believe in what you are doing xx

  3. It takes a while to divest of the thinking that being secure in life is all about acquisition… ‘security’ has so long resided in ownership of land, bricks and mortar, and the building of ‘nest eggs’ which is supposed to lead to safety, health and well-being for you and your family. But the pursuit of that security requires a commitment of so much of your time and energy (and stress), which is paradoxically counter-productive to your health and well-being – and takes you further from your family – which defeats the purpose of the ‘true’ goal of security.

    So you guys are exploring the possibility that health and well-being and being together is in itself security. That spending quality time together exploring and learning about the world, and facing every day challenges together will increase your confidence and assuredness and self-sufficiency… this is a pretty great gift to give your kids and will equip them so well with many options of how (and where) they want to live and for however they want to pursue their own idea of security in their future lives.

    Not everyone will understand this. It flouts the ingrained traditional model of security, and no doubt there will be times when you’re stuck and you’ll think ‘what the hell have we done?!’ But don’t forget that you weren’t immune to those crisis moments in your ‘old’ life either! (Where’s the money for the gas bill/mortgage/car repair coming from this month? etc.) Everything is a trade-off. And you’ve actively made a choice to put the things that are most important to you – your time with your family – at the top of the priority list. Just like your old life, you still have to work at it – just in a different way, and for a much better reason.

    And if you ever need a hot meal and a bed, you can always come here. 🙂

    • Thank you Kat, It’s so encouraging to be validated in this way, particularly when flouting the traditional model, as we are! And, it’s always great to know where the awesome meals and warm beds are found! Take care. S

  4. The only failure could be in not doing this, in not achieving what we set out to achieve for any reason other than a change of mind. You can’t possibly fail if you just do it, your way, there’s no points system, hoops to jump or grades to achieve. Just live your life the way you want to live it and have fun.
    My mum called us gypsies ( which was meant as an insult), she’s never understood and never will. Her idea of success is very different to mine. We are free, she is not. I’m rambling so I’ll go away. Nice post.

    • Thanks for commenting Alyson. I guess from the outside looking in, for all intents and purposes, by the usual measures we were succeeding in our old life. Unfortunately it just didn’t feel right chasing a consumerist lifestyle and trading off our best years and time with our kids to achieve it. It sounds arrogant to say we don’t want that life anymore, and some people will never get it, but for the first time in 12 years now we feel like we have the opportunity to redefine success on our own terms. Blogging about our story has been quite therapeutic in that it had connected us to a whole community of other families redefining success and giving our children the chance to realise that there is more to life than can be experienced living up to expectations.

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