I’ve been using these first weeks of the New Year to reflect and set intentions. With introspection has come a growing awareness of the faulty beliefs I've held in the past. Principles that sounded like universal truths, but when applied, didn’t result in success. When I would fail, however, I wouldn’t question the principle. Instead, I internalized it as a personal flaw, lack of discipline, or whatever else might be wrong with me. It took many years to see I had bought into an idea that wasn’t serving me.

Two months ago I became a father. I didn't feel ready. It’s to be expected - a mix of wanting to be prepared for everything and knowing I couldn’t be. When I held my son for the first time, I had a deep sense of joy that counteracted my overwhelming worry. I constantly feared for his safety and wellbeing. Overshadowing all of these fears were larger questions of my own abilities - my own worthiness of this title of father. Could I set a good example? Could I get better before he needs me to be better?

Writing should be a safe space for someone like me. What’s better than having all the time in the world to contemplate what you want to share? Surprisingly, I don’t enjoy writing as much as I do thinking. By thinking, I don't mean aimlessly day-dreaming. I mean internally struggling with a problem, working through various scenarios, reflecting on my feelings and parsing out some kind of meaning from it all. I was the kid who wondered why we had to show our work when solving a problem.

I had the pleasure of winding up in the hospital last month.  After a few days of increasingly severe abdominal pain and nausea, I gave up self-treatment and went to the hospital. A CT scan showed severe inflammation in my large intestine. The upside: no surgery. The downside: being admitted for observation and treatment. A hospital bed is not my first choice as a place to get adequate rest. Despite the inconvenience, the several days of bedrest provided time for introspection.