So I mention in my profile that I'm a bit obsessed with the whole post-apocalyptic thing. During long plane, train and automobile journeys it's often where my mind drifts - what would this place look like/ be like post-apocalypse? What would these people be like? would they survive? would they be baddies or goodies!? How would I fare if it all happened now? How would I get back to my family if I was seperated from them now amid some terrible end of civilisation type scenario?
Its all very dramatic and highly highly unlikely but theres something about being thrown back to simpler, more brutal times and how one might cope...
Well it was certainly in my head and inspiration for an article I wrote for new dads magazine - The Fourth Tri-Man earlier this year! its a bit of a cheat 'blog' this one but I still think you might like a read of that :-)
Would an apocalypse be so bad?!” – a genuine thought I’d sometimes have during the pre-baby life. Mostly at 6:00 am whilst on the ludicrously overcrowded train into London. I’d merge in with the other zombie commuters, shuffling feet, heads down, no eye contact and the occasional repositioning of a headphone. On the train from Paddington to Bristol I’d always make sure I got the same seat – quiet coach A (obviously), number 73 – right at the back and the only single seat on the train – perfect. There’d be no need for any more human interaction for the next hour and 38 minutes.
It was here that I would continue my fantasy. So the world would mostly end, that’s bad right, it’s definitely bad…but in my post-apocalyptic world all those I care about survive, as does the lovely little cottage my wife and I call home. The two cats and chickens make it too – phew! I think I’ll also decide that other surviving people aren’t complete maniacs and we are, to a degree, safe. For a while to begin with let’s keep the basic utilities too – Gas, Electric, Water? Yes. WiFi? Maybe!
Now comes the fun part – No more commuting! No more work! No more money concerns! No more keeping up with the Jones’! No more ‘first world problems’! Instead life is all about survival and it’s a full time job. The difference here though is that everything we do is for us and ours; everything is far more valuable and makes a genuine difference to our quality of life.
So my mind goes on – Sort out a vegetable plot. Eggs from the chickens. Chicken from the chickens (note – must get a cockerel!). Chop and season wood for the fire. Source fresh water supply, etc. etc.
I have always been obsessed with the idea of a post-apocalyptic world. I love books like Stephen Kings ‘The Stand’ & ‘Dark Tower’ Series, Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ & the film of the same book, the worlds inhabited by characters in ‘The Walking Dead’ (minus the zombies!), ‘Children of Men’ and ‘I Am Legend’. I follow things like ‘forgottenheritage’ and ‘Abandon’ on Instagram and I’m even trying to write a fiction novel with a desolate setting.
Google defines ‘post-apocalyptic’ as "...denoting or relating to the time following a ...catastrophic event..." and so 9 months ago when our daughter was born and during those gruelling first few weeks especially it felt a pretty accurate description of my ‘world’!
My wife and I agreed (when we finally spoke about it 3 weeks in – tip – have this chat sooner if you need to!) that whilst we never knew it we were, pre-baby, blissfully and happily selfish. Both individually and as a couple we would do what we wanted, when we wanted. We’d spend money willy-nilly. Time was a luxury and we abused it with lie-ins and aimless lazy Sundays. Now we had this tiny person in our lives and all she did was cry and yell for attention, for food, for a cuddle, for everything! Always at the times we were most tired or, it felt, most inconvenient as we clung to some vestige of the pre-baby world. The apocalypse had come for our old world and we struggled to adapt to the new one. Surviving in it wasn’t fun either.
However as time has passed (and oh my word how fast it has gone) we have adapted, acclimatised and incredibly, feel like we are thriving! It’s the best time of our lives and it’s because now everything matters, everything we do is for us and ours; everything is far more valuable and makes a genuine difference to our quality of life.
We’ve found that the things that we once enjoyed – a bit of Xbox of an evening or watching football in the pub for me, a bath with a book or TOWIE binge for the wife – no longer seem to hold the same level of pleasure – our beautiful baby girl has brought back the novelty and therefore simple pleasure in conducting the previously considered mundane activities.
Bouncing, babbling and giggling in her ‘Jumperoo’ she watches me with keen interest as I do the washing up. I in turn find myself babbling back, talking nonsense, splashing in the soapy water and blowing bubbles off my hand into the air – she laughs louder! Wow, it’s even better than a 10-kill streak on Call of Duty!
My wife takes her food shopping and in the ‘old world’ the highlight was the unexpected find in the reduced section (that’s still awesome obviously!) but the fun now comes in watching Beatrix sat in the trolley taking it all in. The array of different products and their packaging, all the lights and interesting people to look at – her face a picture of excitement and curiosity. When they return home the unpacking begins. Propped in her ‘Bumbo’ seat she excitedly rustles and shakes a sealed bag of asparagus watching as mummy talks her through each item whilst placing it in the cupboard.
No more lazy Sundays either – no more lazy days full stop. Despite our tiredness though there is a real feeling of contentment and achievement in raising her and watching her grow and develop. We no longer spend our evenings in front of the TV as we did before. Instead we make use of the precious time whilst baby sleeps in her cot by being creative for fun (with a slender hope of potential financial reward – for her, for us, for our little family). I’m writing more than ever and my wife is turning her hand to crafts but more excitingly has started her own business offering HR Constultancy Services and is campaigning for flexible working – check out @hr.puzzle on Instagram.
Don’t get me wrong its hard work. It’s a relentless commitment and at times we do still pine for the old world but I have to say we certainly seem to have found post-apocalyptic bliss.
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