I’ve been walking that little bit taller the past few months ever since I learned that I am going to be a dad again.
Nearly six years on from the first time, I am older, although not necessarily wiser, and am carrying a fair bit more timber. The joys and occasional challenges that have accompanied my first born’s formative years have taken their toll on my hairline but have, hopefully, prepared me for what is coming next.
First time around was just a blur as we mainly worried about painting the nursery and buying ‘baby stuff’ with the combined cost of a small family car. It is all a bit more relaxed during this second journey through a worn-out Mrs Tapp’s pregnancy, save for the odd awkward question from a wide-eyed five-and-a-half-year-old.
It is perhaps due to this that I have had time to think about things outside of our domestic bubble. During the past eight weeks I have been dogged by a nagging guilt that the world my children will inherit is a grimmer place than the one I entered the best part of 40 years ago.
Granted, when I first rocked up in my towelling nappies it was the height of the Troubles, unemployment gripped a nation as did trade union strife and we were stuck in the middle of the Cold War. If this wasn’t bad enough, dungarees passed as fashion and luncheon meat was the butty filling of choice.
But today, the threat of terror still hangs heavily over us, albeit it in a different form; we now have the world-changing Internet with all the problems that brings, house prices are in danger of leaving future generations unable to climb on to the ladder and there are worrying signs we may be dragged into a second Cold War.
Of course the biggest concern facing us is the future of the planet. Last week I was lucky enough to watch a junior public speaking contest and one of the subjects was global warming. I shifted uneasily in my seat when I reflected that I only started recycling five years ago and although we are not going to save the world by sticking cardboard and empty pop cans in a blue bin, we can all do our bit.
Despite all the gloom and doom there is plenty to be hopeful about - our standard of living is high, life expectancy continues to rise and we live in a country where basic freedoms are still very much respected. I think I should worry a lot less than I do.