Fatherhood as antidote

Getting married, starting a family, and steadily assuming responsibility for an increasing number of people other than oneself — this is a powerful antidote to existential despair and anxiety. And I don’t think there are many exceptions to this rule.

This is something I believe more enthusiastically with every passing year. I think it can help other people my age (and younger). Especially men.

Of course, these responsibilities come with their own stresses. But it’s a different kind of stress. It’s a how-will-I-have-time-for-this kind of stress. Not a what’s-the-point-of-life kind of stress.

This has been my experience, and that of other young fathers I know. I think it has to do with spending more time thinking deeply about other people and less time thinking deeply about myself.

And maybe, too, with seeing firsthand just how much others rely on me (and me on them) for guidance when things get tough.

The demands of parenthood don’t leave much time for over-analyzing thoughts and feelings that aren’t true (vs. manufactured) problems. And we often need this kind of external pressure to help us determine what feelings aren’t worth a second thought.