I am a stay-at-home dad with two PhDs - one in Politics and one in Japanese - who spends his days fending for his three daughters, snatching moments with his wife, having a quick coffee with friends, walking the dog, being mindful, and writing about my experiences of everyday life in The Irish Examiner. I am also the founder of www.thebeautyofeverydaylife.com.
Nirvana, in other words.
The road to Nirvana has been a long one, however. It took me a while to figure it out.
I gave up my job as college lecturer of Japanese 15 years ago the second my wife got pregnant on our first child, and regretted it every Friday morning when I opened the jobs sections of The Irish Times.
So, I quit buying the paper.
My wife and I began to argue over the fact that my being a stay-at-home dad made her - a dedicated, working mother - look like a 'bad mother', so we went to marriage counselling and worked things out.
Then, year after year, I stood in the school-yard watching mothers in their 'power suits' drop their children off to school before heading to work, while I, 'a man' with two PhDs, went back home to change nappies. So, I took to writing while the kids watched Barney.
I wrote two novels and a book on the Northern Ireland conflict.
I am the author of Socio-ideological Fantasy and the Northern Ireland Conflict (Manchester University Press, 2007), which was short-listed in New York in 2007 for the Best Book Award by the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis and was awarded Best Theoretical Paper award in 2001 by the American International Association for Conflict Management.
I have had to publish my novels myself. You can buy The Quiet Life, a family drama, loved by Marian Keyes, on Amazon Kindle or in print at Lulu.com. It can also be downloaded at Smashwords.com. Tomayto Tomahto, the story of a marriage, is available on Amazon here http://goo.gl/TFrqbh.
My road to Nirvana took a further turn last year when I began writing Dad's World for The Irish Examiner - a weekly column about my everyday life as a stay-at-home dad, with a hard-won insight into hard-earned wisdom, though a good laugh, for all that.
In January 2013, I finally launched thebeautyofeverydaylife.com. The aim of this website is to help others find personal happiness through mining their everyday personal experience. The 'trick' is to become mindful of one's story.
I have a book coming out in Oct 2014 with Mercier Press, entitled The Beauty Of Everyday Life, with contributions from 40 Irish 'celebs'.
Ask people what they want on their death-beds and they tell you that they wished they had spent more time with the kids, fallen in love etc. Essentially, when all is said and done in life, people want to know if they have loved sufficiently or been loved sufficiently. Thebeautyofeverydaylife.com hopes to awaken people to that world of love and relationships step by step, but without having to abandon the world of work and achievement. When you get in touch with your story, you see that the 'ordinary' is extraordinary. There, the tiniest of things can feed you for a lifetime. In this sense, everyone is already a mystic. You don't have to go away to a meditation centre. On the contrary, you are better off staying right where you are. And the beauty of mindfulness-to-go, which is what I call mindfulness on my website, is that it allows for your everyday experience, warts and all. Everything is included. Everything is included because all things are bound together by your story. It, therefore, engages you at all levels of your being - body, heart, mind, spirit. And, remember, if it doesn't make you smile, it's not mindfulness.
That said, thebeautyofeverydaylife.com is not schmalz. We humans thrive among weeds.
Which brings me back to me.
I grew up in a 'war' in Northern Ireland. I have been to the edge and back with my wife. I have had the big job and travelled the world and got all the big qualifications. I have done the thirty-day silent meditation retreats and laid awake just as many nights with my children. I have changed thousands of shitty nappies. I have plumbed the depths of my experience and come up smelling of ...
And, as a friend says, if I can do it, any idiot can.
But if you don't trust me, trust my contributors on the site.
Now, people follow my various shenanigans on Facebook and on Twitter, in The Irish Examiner's Feelgood section (on Fridays), and on Linkedin. Feel free to join them. You can also keep up to date with happenings at adrianmillar.ie.
And if it's my wonderful HuffPost blog photo that you like, then check out mikeotoole.com