The Re-Bachelorhood Experiment
How I plan on turning my 8+ week sabbatical from parenthood into a pseudo-sociological experiment
It’s been well documented that parenthood quantitatively makes you worse off in almost all aspects of life. In fact, the studies are so dire that if not for the ‘drug-like’ hit of euphoria parents get from those tender ‘I love you mommy/daddy’ moments it seems pretty certain that society would cease pro-creating beyond those with strong familial support network or the very wealthy who can afford to acquire a support network.
Indeed by my estimates, the demands of toddlers, never mind infants, equates to about an extra 4 to 7 hours per weekday. Given sleep should be 6 hours, 2 hours commute and 9 hours work, there literally isn’t enough hours in the day for exercise | reflection | networking | socializing | hobbies.
So roughly 4 years, 10 months since the start of my journey into parenthood, I find myself given a curious reprieve from this state as my wife starts her 2-month secondment to her company’s offices in Asia while taking both the kids with her (The kids in turn will be staying with my mother-in-law in Taiwan and ideally picking up very much desirable enhancement to their Mandarin language skills.)
So yeah! I’m a bachelor again for almost 2 months! Time to break out the beer pong table, throw raging parties — it’s gonna be a veritable real life OLD SCHOOL for the next 8+ weeks!
Except — having just celebrated my birthday that puts me well on the path of middle-age-dom — I really don’t have the desire nor physical fortitude to relive those glory days. B-school was my last hurrah into that lifestyle.
Instead, I’m going to take page from my fave lifestyle coach/performance researcher Tim Ferriss and to turn these next 8 weeks into a lifestyle experiment. Will being a living-alone non-parent again make me happier, healthier and/or more successful? I intend to find out.
My goal for this period is to try out and settle on a new “personal operating system” based on the all the learnings I’ve gathered from listening to too many self-help books and Tim Ferriss podcasts during my 2 hour drives to/from work to help me better adapt to the increased demands of parenthood once this reprieve ends in June.
Situation — a.k.a. Starting Baseline
These are the dimensions I want to improve on and first attempts on how to measure improvement. Next steps would be turning them into SMART goals.
Happiness: how does one even measure this? I studied CS and business and dutifully avoided all things philosophy and liberal arts related in university so I really have no freaking clue. So here’s my first attempt — Does the quantity and depth of my daily gratitude journalling improve over the course of my test period?
More successful: giving this some thought — will I be able to restart and even build my professional network? Though which, while not even great to begin with, has dreadfully been left untended due to lack of attention
Health: Due to my wholehearted embrace of the Quantified Self movement, this is the one thing I do have some level of metrics on. Current weight 172lbs, 21% fat mass, 26 BMI, 55 bpm rest heart rate, 32' waist. Will see how these metrics move on May 31.
Complication — things that might get in the way
Survival (i.e. food): So I’ve been particularly blessed with being around the right folks to not have needed to develop a proficiency in cooking for my entire life. If I want to get healthier this is simply not going to fly. This will be one of my first areas of focus — I need to develop a comprehensive meal strategy that is healthy, cost effective and time efficient. (For the record, though I do have stash of Soylent at home, I don’t plan on making that my go-to meal strategy).
Job-demands: I’m in the middle of a helping execute an industry conference that my company is organizing for end of May — this in addition to all the other demands of working and delivering at a hard charging ambitious start-up in Silicon Valley. The demands from my job my very well eat up all available additional bandwidth I get from reprieve from parenthood.
Longing: I might just end up missing my wife and kids so much that I’ll jumping on a plane to Asia to see them or just be too distracting moping around to focus on advancing the goals of this experiment.
Other Distractions: In the same vein, it’s entirely possible I might just get distracted by Facebook/binge-watching Netflix/Hockey and Basketball playoffs/Magic the Gathering/video games to say why bother at all of this. Need to resolve to focus.
Well I guess that’s the whole point of this experiment. Let’s see where we end up at the end of these 59 days!