Chad Brealey: The Wild And The Innocent


You Were Once Cool—What the Hell Happened?

From Scene-Maker to Tantrum-Soother—an uneasy transition

There is a current cohort that is striving to a romantic zeitgeist of how our grandparents' generation lived. A seemingly simple life paired with jazz, canning winter vegetables and lining the labels out on paper-lined shelves; repairing what was broken instead of buying the new cheap version and wearing clothes that worked without having to check style blogs for affirmation.

There are magazines dedicated to the art of reproducing this romantic, often working-class life with as much style as possible. Breezy linens and lights strung just so to accent ‘cobbled’ together rustic-ness pulled from university clad Tumblr blogs and dreamy Pinterest profiles.

If you’ve had any doubt about the upcoming generation’s aspirations, rest assured that romance is alive and well and has settled on the spleens of 25-35 year olds. They can tomatoes and employ the coolest, most tattooed butcher in town. They strap on mustaches and suspenders and drink from antique mason jars. They carve their own cutlery handles from antlers they found while hiking along alpine wildflower encrusted ridges and make bedside tables from beachwood scavenged from their recent excursion to Montauk/Tofino/San Luis Obispo/Georgian Bay. They are culturally flexible; they are aware of how their jeans need to be cuffed, they are buying their beer in growlers and they are right now. They have become what everyone wanted their grandfather to be.

You are a new dad and are none of these things. You used to be cool. You used to know these things—you knew where to go for the best after-hours bourbon scene, you had a line on the pulse. You were the nerve centre and others looked to you to provide the bravado and the guts to claim when the next set of waves was on the horizon and the first to decry a fad dead.

What the hell happened? You sling a DiaperDude over your shoulder without a second thought and you feel a deep sense of satisfaction when you find a great sleep set with feet and a zipper.

You might have thoughts of canning vegetables; not to be stylish but to have easy to access food ready to go for the winter stews your kids will devour after soccer practice. There are stacks of artwork by the newest neighbourhood masters ready for the proper framing and your mixology has been taken to a new level thanks to a signature banana-blueberry smoothie.

So how, exactly, are you supposed to live up to that historic generation of style and creative ingenuity? Thankfully, your grandfather didn’t know how to cook beyond the grill and it is quite possible that he made it to be the patriarch without ever changing an epic, blow-out diaper. You may be the same in only one way—the most important way possible. At a certain point he no longer measured his life in his personal accomplishments or his sartorial style (which may have impeccable— – more on this later). The similarity lies in that you suddenly see the future as he did. He saw it in you. He saw your parent arrive and his mortality rose to him as you arrived. He now looked forward to every new step, every sports award and spelling bee; each passing holiday and each graduation. If he was lucky, he got to see your children arrive and witness the look of pride and awe you had when you suddenly held the future screaming in your arms. The next generation has begun and you begin stumbling lightly towards experience.