Matthew Munson: Random chances that affect our life path

Matthew and Bryan

We’ve been in a sick house this week. Bryan has been the sick one, but given the fact that we live in such close quarters, it’s only a matter of time before I come down with a severe case of man flu (which, as any scientist will tell you, is the most virulent disease on Earth).

But, that aside, we’ve had a calm week at Casa de Munson. Last weekend, we went to the Westgate lights switch-on, and I was really pleasantly surprised; I’d never been before, and there was a lot of activity. We were particularly engrossed by the chap who was incredibly multi-talented – he was the magician, the fire eater, the juggler, and the stilts-walker. He was brilliant, as were the performers; it was nice to see some friendly faces, and I was pleased that this sort of thing can happen after the closure of everything (or so it felt) during Covid. Being in a big crowd is still strange for me; I work predominantly at home, so the extent of crowds I see on a daily basis are two – and I’m one of them.

I love the fact we live in a place that has a lot of activities; we’ve been able to find things to do every weekend up to Christmas that allow Bryan and I to have some quality time together and just have some fun. I was born in Thanet and have happily lived here for all of my 41 years. I like going on adventures to different places, but it’s also nice coming home.

I sometimes get Bryan to think how life can be affected by random chances or moments; if my parents hadn’t met through respective friends, I wouldn’t have been here to become a dad to Bryan. Or if my dad had decided to work in London and we’d moved as a result, my life and career would have been very different – I’d like to think I’d have still become a father, and to Bryan as well, but different influences could well (gulp) have taken me in a different direction in my life.

It’s weird when you think of those chances that get decided almost on the flip of a coin, and what your life would have been as a result; not necessarily worse or better, but different. Your fundamental personality would inevitably be the same, so that would have steered you in a potentially-similar path. I’m a bit philosophical this week, can you tell?

The pandemic certainly impacted my life in a significant way, like many of us. I started to work from home, which I had always resisted before, and ended up loving it. I also did my best to home educate my son, having only been a dad for a year at the start of the pandemic, and hopefully succeeded enough not to mentally scar him. My friendship group shifted during the pandemic, and in a way, that was really helpful; some friends fell by the wayside and, although I felt a genuine sadness when it happened, it helped me focus on making new friendships. On reflection, it was a good thing, as I always need to make sure I am showing good values to Bryan, and that includes making sure I am cultivating the right friendships. I like to think I’m getting it right.

Making sure I’ve got good relationships is really important to me as a single parent; I want Bryan to learn about healthy relationships from me, and that includes from people who come into our social circle. I am so very appreciative of people who support us as a small family unit; during the pandemic, my parents were a lifeline (we could form a bubble with one other household), and that was really positive. I’ve been more appreciative of relationships since I became a parent, and it’s so lovely to see people engaging with my son and seeing him flourish as a result.

On the day this column features, it’s precisely two weeks until Christmas. Whose children have been counting down for ages? I’ve had it since mid-November or so, since we had the first sighting of a Christmas tree, and I suspect it’s only going to get worse from here. Ah well, then it’s a year until the next one … unless you count Easter / Halloween and the rest.

1 Comment

  1. I love reading Matthew’s column. Such light relief when the vast majority of the news I read reflects the constant stream of difficulties being experienced everywhere

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