Changing Directions

Category: Weekly Columns

Conan O'Brian

If you’ve been following my columns over the years, you’ve followed my parental journey as my boys got older, as I got older, as I re-married, and as I’m doing more and more in new and old media. It’s been quite a trip and now I’m going to take another fork in the road.

Quote about change

My recent column, Epiphany, partly explains the light bulb that began strobbing in my brain recently. There were two experiences that precipitated this mind-blast. The first was going to 13 countries and 21 cities in 38 days. The second, shortly on the heels of returning from that adventure, was attending my third Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans.

I’ve written a bunch about my trip to Africa and India, with a short stop in Dubai and Abu Dhabi at the onset. I also made 63 videos from that trip and wrote a bunch of columns. It was hard to ignore the disparity of the extreme wealth of Dubai with the extreme poverty in India and Africa. Then, attending the Dad Summit, it was hard to ignore my extreme age in comparison with the average young dad there. I could have been, at least biologically, the dad of the majority of those in attendance!

So, while I chose the delicate and somewhat obscure word epiphany to describe my feelings, the better word may have been AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Comic about change

Thankfully, these swirling emotions and feelings didn’t remain fluid. They began to coalesce into a strong sense of the new direction for my continued writing and other media efforts. Granted, I did have a momentary destructive reaction when I shut down my participation in a particularly good website community as a figurative protest and expression of my frustration.

48 hours later, I regretted that decision and since I’d developed a relationship with that site’s founders, they were gracious enough to reinstate me, all my contacts, and posted work. The site is, which is a content sharing site for aggregating your own and other’s blog posts.

Change your life

The fact that my impulsive act was thankfully reversible was a sign to me that I’d reached the end of this phase of self-evaluation, reflection, and introspection. I know where I want to go next.

While I intend to continue writing in what I call “the dad space,” I intend to broaden my content to include the journey of getting older. Given that I’m a baby boomer and “my generation” has re-invented everything and declared everything before us as obsolete, it’s inevitable that the boomers will have a strong effect on the view of getting older, all the while probably living in denial that they are getting older.


What other group would declare 60 the new 50 and it’s various decade milestones? What other group would tell the world not to trust anyone over 30 and then continue to sell out stadiums in their late 60’s. Think of a rock ‘n’ roll icon whose last name sort of rhymes with bladder. If you can’t figure it out, you’re probably one of those new 60-year-olds that just bought a red sports car.

Realistically, my generation is changing the perception of growing older. I remember very well how sedentary my parents were at ages far younger than my own. I also remember promising myself that I would NOT allow myself to get so boring. The fact that I now realize that my parents had an incredibly rich life replete with lifelong friends is a function of my own maturity, though I still hope to do many things differently.

I often say that the only good thing to come from my generation – the Woodstock Generation – was some pretty good music. I continue to believe we’ve been a mostly destructive force in the world, both in macro and micro ways. On a macro level, the boomers now are our politicians, college professors, and business leaders. Depending on your political persuasion, you may think the obsession with income equality, race, and global warming is a good thing. Perhaps you think otherwise?

Changing direction

On the micro level, our generation has declared virtually every sanctity of our society to be “old news.” This stems from the definition of a family to the role of a man and a woman at home and at work. The gender definitions are clearly blurred, creating a lot of great opportunities for many women while, at the same time, disenfranchising those women with traditional values and views of family.

Boys and men have been marginalized to the point of total confusion about their place in the home and world. The statistics of success for girls in primary education contrasts sharply with the decline among the boys.

Perhaps the biggest macro change in the world, whether brought about by the boomers or not, is the incredible and self-destructive decline in reproduction of our species. Japan is literally dying due to its low procreation rate. They now sell more adult diapers than baby ones? Singapore is also in horrible demographic decline as is most of Europe.

Changing direction

While all of these changes sound ominous and deadly serious, I also see them as wonderful avenues for humor. Since boomers “know it all,” their sanctimonious ways are just setting them up to be the brunt of jokes and sarcasm. I can’t wait to skewer them.

So, this is the bottom-line result of my recent career review. I hope it makes sense to you and I hope you’ll continue with me on this wonderful journey of commentary.