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18 Dec 2008: This Time It Will Be Different



A picture

The Closing Session

This is not a year that I will easily forget, no matter how many times I try to bleach my brain. It is the most significant since leaving Japan in 2004.

Ah, 2004, now that was a year. I'd had such high hopes for our move to the UK, becoming a little jaded with my Japan experience. To be honest, as regular readers of my cynical opinions will already know (hi Mom and Dad!!), I've found the UK a disappointment. I thought seeing the UK through a foreigner's eyes - for that is what I had become to a large extent - would transform my perception of the country as a grey, negative wasteland that had lost the ability to build anything meaningful into something colourful and progressive. It failed. It was only in 2006 that things began to finally turn around, but my perception of Britain would never recover.

This year the credit crunch came and exposed the UK lie for what it is. The country has been growing atop illusions, fostering a culture of making money fast from little effort. The economy is now slamming into a wall and many people are adapting to a new culture of everyday survival. Maybe we can return to the days of slowing building a life, a career. Yes, people can make money fast without effort, it just can't happen to everyone. Life is simply that unfair. If everyone can make free money, then that's a different situation - it's called inflation.

My career has reached an apex - this is best job I've had for years and probably the most profitable. But I got here after ten years in finance and three years getting a PhD. It wasn't overnight, although I know many who would label my ascent as slow, having been my own enemy for many of those years. But after all this time, I have an absolutely insane level of confidence at what I do now. That's what ten years gave me. This was my journey.

But this is completely missing the main event, I have been rambling. 2008 was the year that Kai happened.

I'm not going to sit here and type out the conceit that "when I saw Kai's eyes open, I knew I was meant to be a father". That is not what parenthood is about in the 21st century.

Parenthood is about trying to reconcile the paradox: what society has demanded of you as a working couple with what it demands of you as parents. We are all society of course, we are all guilty of making these demands. Britain has a schizophrenic approach to children, and I'm sure I'll talk more on this subject in future. It both hates and loves children - almost loves them to death.

I am learning so many new things. I'm doing my best, Kai. We'll get there.