father and son in sunset flickr / Daniel Johnston
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Here’s Why I’m Glad I Waited Until I Was 50 To Become A Dad

The following was syndicated from Medium for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].

Most of my high school classmates are posting their children’s graduation photos on Facebook, but I am posting photos like this:

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When I was working as a summer intern at the Fuji Bank headquarters in Tokyo during my business school break my boss, Mr. Gomi, told me that a man should have a son by age 40, at the latest. That way, he can enjoy having a beer with his son before he retires. (Legal drinking age in Japan is 20).

At age 30, I decided to quit my job, move to Tokyo to learn Japanese, and then to do an MBA in London. Most of my friends already had children and settled down. If I had a child, I probably wouldn’t have been able to just quit my job to live in London and Tokyo, and many other wild things subsequently.

It would have been highly stressful to be unemployed, and have to move everything across borders with children.

I had no clue why people would sacrifice so much for their children. Now that I have my own, I understand. I am certain if I had a baby when I was younger I wouldn’t have done the many other crazy things I did, such as:

Taking up the crazy job of running around for a fishing company. That job required scuba diving with the attorney general of the Republic of Palau (I didn’t have a license but he took me out anyway). It also meant spending one month on a fishing boat around the pirate and guerrilla infested Philippines Sea with waves 3 times taller than the boat. I played beach volleyball with the village locals who insisted in protecting me with AK47 and carried 200k dollars cash to Indonesia to pay for a shipment of fish …

Not to mention all the exciting but highly insecure jobs in foreign countries that I have accepted simply because I haven’t done those things before. High profile jobs, but often unstable. Quite a few times I had to leave either because of politics or corporate M&A. Or somebody died. It would have been highly stressful to be unemployed, and have to move everything across borders with children.

When I was 49, I quit my last corporate job in Shanghai —  center of the China Dream. This time I decided to become a ski instructor, so 2 days later I got on a plane and enrolled in a 5-week ski instructor course in Queenstown New Zealand. (with SITco, highly recommended).

I had no clue why people would sacrifice so much for their children. Now that I have my own, I understand.

After 24 days of non-stop skiing, and in the weekend before the license examination, I went on a helicopter ski expedition. It was my first time on a helicopter. The view was spectacular. (Again, highly recommended).

But my skiing skill was not good enough. I broke both my knees during the second descent from the pinnacle.

It was when I was waiting alone for the helicopter pickup in the frozen and barren valley, with painful knees, that I decided to do something different in life.

I thought that I had done enough crazy stuff, and maybe it was about time that I did something normal, like having a baby.

I decided not to do corporate jobs anymore. After a while, I set up 2 new businesses. Now I am very busy, but I have control of the hours. Unlike when I was working corporate jobs, with those business trips, budget meetings and 8 p.m. sales forecast calls, now I can choose to only do things that are meaningful. As a result, I have much more time with my baby.

I can take my son to the park before sunset. Every day.

In most cultures, men are delaying becoming fathers due to socioeconomic changes.

I also think I have gained so much more experience in life. I will be telling my son very different opinions on many things in life. Things like democracy, evolution, religion, career, and politics. And how to play blues guitar.

My economics professor at London Business School recently wrote a book The 100 year life: Living and working in the age of longevity. I fully intend to live 100 years, and be active for at least 85. When my son reaches the legal age to drink with me, I will still be under 70, probably still playing water polo and skiing.

When I told my “normal” friends 2 years ago I was considering making a baby, they all said I was crazy. “You are too old to have a child!”

Only 2 people said it was a good idea. Both are very rich: one was a founder of Alibaba, the other a retired lawyer who owns 3 Harley Davidson and a Ducati. They both said it was a good idea. I preferred to listen to them.

In most cultures, men are delaying becoming fathers due to socioeconomic changes. With general improvement in health, I think it may be becoming more common for men to have children at an older and older age.

I thought that I had done enough crazy stuff, and maybe it was about time that I did something normal, like having a baby.

Looking back, I have done so many crazy things. Certainly, having a child at 50 was not the craziest. I thank my lovely wife Shirley for making it possible.

I have wanted to write this story for a while. Tonight, I finally found time to when my baby was asleep. A close relative just died of cancer a couple days ago. If I had a motorcycle accident tomorrow, there is this story for my son to know the background of his creation. (Don’t worry, I am not superstitious, and I ride very safe.)

By the way, I am making another baby, this time an iPhone app. I hope this app will make a difference to the world, while I only hope my son to be happy and healthy. Checkout the story of my app: PikaPage.

Leroy Yue believes you’re never too old to start something new.