Preface: I wrote this blog about 4 years ago now. It all still rings true, but life changes, has changed, is changing. For a start my little baby Oscar is now a robust 5 year old, his brother 6. My wife and I, well lets say some things went wrong and I now have the boys full time and balance that with a full time job. I could not survive on 2 or 3 hours sleep anymore, well not and be a good Dad too. But this blog is about change as much as it is anything else, and the days I go to work without only four hours sleep are the ones I remember the different lives I have lived along the way. It’s not a competition, rather just a journey that we have to make as interesting and varied as we can. Please read on as I am proud of the maniac I have been just as I am proud of the person who can hold it all together for the two I love most in the world. I dedicate this blog to my boys in the hope that they too will party their lives away when they can…… and now the blog.
I remember a time in my life, it now seems like a lifetime ago, when if sleep happened, it was between 5 and 7 in the morning. No, I am not an insomniac, truth is I never have a problem falling asleep, it’s just life got in the way. I was living in Auckland at the time, working both a full time day job in the office and a night job in a bar, right in the City Centre. On top, a crazy social life taking me out to the local clubs and bars most nights as well. There was little time left for sleep. We would take an early breakfast on the way home perhaps, in one of the all night cafes, spend an hour or two in bed, then up again to face the world. A kick start was needed in the form of an extremely strong espresso, followed by Berocca in orange juice and a shot of Vodka to round things off. I would then ride the bus to Manurewa, an arduous journey down south of Auckland City, and there start the day shift and the whole cycle again! I was twenty eight years old and about to embark on my first real voyage across Asia, and off the back off a summer season in Greece where sleep had been just as elusive. I survived though on so little sleep, I don’t know how but the body just kept going, day after day, week after week…
Like I said, that was a lifetime ago, now I am just short of 47 years old, with the party years firmly behind me, Marriage and a career have changed my priorities, I have two small boys, one 16 months, the other nearly 4 months, and has life has really had to change.
That said I still don’t get any sleep. I generally hit the sack around half past twelve, one o’clock, Oscar my youngest wakes for a feed around 2 a.m., then there will be one or two disturbances with either of them waking up looking for a dummy, or just needing the reassurance of a parent for a few moments, then Oscar wakes again about 5, and it’s another feed, and then a disturbed snooze until 6.30 when the alarm goes off for the day to start again. In a really good night I can get a four hour stretch without being woken, but that’s once a week at most. I could bore you with the details of the day, but that’s not my point here.
The reality is that the excesses of my younger life had prepared me for parenthood, for small children in so many ways. The body has been trained to not need sleep, and to eat when it can rather than around a set pattern. People often ask me how I cope with a full time job and little sleep all the time, but this is it, my life has been like that on numerous occasions and to be honest this doesn’t even faze me at all. So my advice to everyone who is single and out to party is do it, stretch your lives, party, travel, live in another country, try new jobs and every experience that comes along. You only live once, albeit in many guises if you are lucky and smart enough about things. So make the most of it. Every minute you spend sleeping is a minute of lost time, and never lose sight of the fact that you should make all of them count wherever you can.
…and my second point is that all the travel, partying and extreme experiences I have had have been great, they have been the pieces of a jigsaw that have made me the man I am today, but my two boys, my beautiful family is easily the most rewarding experience of my long and chaotic life. Would I trade a moment anywhere, of course not, even that bad experiences are important in the lessons you learn, but being a Dad is more fulfilling than climbing the highest mountain and I would not trade one moment with my sons for anything else in life.