You Need So Little Now

We had this idea of what we wanted, needed our lives to be. How much money we wanted to make and through what career path. We wanted a new house. We wanted to go on trips. We wanted to live somewhere exciting and interesting. We wanted to do cool stuff, we demanded a lot out of life.

We had high expectations and also a kind of fragile entitlement. If there was traffic, we’d get pissed. If our flight on the way to that trip was delayed, we were pissed. If the concert wasn’t amazing, we were pissed. But this is all we thought we needed to be happy–we needed everything we wanted and we wanted everything to go right.

But now? Once you have kids, it’s a shift. That youthful narcissism, that jaded cynicism falls away. “I used to need so much to feel any kind of happiness in the day,” the comedian John Mulaney recently said. “If I see a garbage truck with [my son] now, we’re both so psyched.” This was a guy who used to need cocaine to feel alive. Now he’s hiding behind a tree with his two year old at 5 a.m. in their pajamas, just watching it, like they had spotted an A-List celebrity at the mall.

All we need now is them. All we need is the ordinariness of life–because to them it is not so ordinary. All of it is wonderful and insane and incredible. A helicopter flying overhead. An ice cream cone from a drive thru. Some dumb cartoon over and over again. We need so little to feel happy, to get everything we ever wanted now.

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