Now I spend stacks and stacks and Uncle Sam tryin’ to tax all my hard earned raps

Life gets so busy at times, I get caught up in the daily churn and set down the long term worries in exchange for short term progress. Eventually I catch my breath and look around, and sometimes I crash. Like this week. On the first day back to normal, I was hit with a strong feeling of dread. I felt that I’ve not done enough; not helped enough; not made any difference in this existence; not come close to meeting my own goals; not done what I could to support those around me; not followed through on promises to myself.

This is, so far, the best (real) job I’ve ever had. Not a doubt in my mind. But what if this is the best I ever have? Will it be enough? I worry that having a child will cement my place: that I’ll have to accept the state of things for the sake of consistency, that my goals will be forever on the back burner compared to providing a good life for a child, that personal desires are completely irrelevant for the next 18 years. I’ve seen too many parents who indulge their children to a fault, and I always swore that I’d never be the type to grant every wish and let every conversation revolve around the terrorist in short pants. No, I’ll still have my own life, my own thoughts, my adult interactions. But I won’t be so keen to take career risks, or go back to school for a degree I don’t necessarily need, or travel with just the wife.

Two years ago I started making a list. Things I really wanted to do. Nothing was off limits. Some of the items (own a house) are complete. Others seem less likely than ever.

Here are a few items from my life list:

  • Publish a book of letters/emails.
  • Drive to the West Coast and back in a convertible.
  • Live in a foreign country for six months.
  • Learn a really difficult language.
  • Write and direct a successful feature film.
  • Have an exhibition of my photographs.
  • Take pictures that make people cry, smile, laugh, question.
  • Do something amazing for someone who will never know I did it.
  • Act in a play or movie.
  • Teach something, somewhere, to someone.
  • Pay for someone’s, besides my own children, college education.
  • Get “married” to the wife every ten years. Friends may hate this.
  • Sail a boat in the Caribbean.
  • Visit temples in China, Japan, Thailand.
  • Get a history degree, just for the fun of it.

7 responses to “Now I spend stacks and stacks and Uncle Sam tryin’ to tax all my hard earned raps

  1. You have quite a list. But at least all of these items are achievable.

  2. Nice list but don’t forget to enjoy the moment and what you have right now.

    Be here now……


  3. Yes, I agree, enjoying each moment, not constantly mortgaging the present for the future, is the way to zen-like bliss.

    Having no plans and no goals is also quite dangerous. Especially to me, because I fight to stay motivated.

  4. I just like how you refer to children as terrorists in short pants. I see where you’re coming from, but I see it from a different angle. See, with kids of my own (and not one of them planned, let me tell you–that wine will do it every time), I look at my life in two different stages: before kids and the present. Sometimes I think how nice it would be to travel again, just Keith and me, but the trips to Disney far outweigh any trip I’ve taken to the Carribean. Keith and I still steal nights out together, but we end up talking about the kids the whole time. You see, when you have a family, your goals all of a sudden seem pretty unimportant when you stack them up next to the goal of raising happy, healthy, and respectful children. It also is going by so fast it’s scary. Michael Tanner, your life as you know it won’t end with kids, I promise!

  5. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in the fortunate accident. I’m just not ready for it. I don’t think I’m done focusing on myself, and my relationship, and my world. When I have a little monster, I fully expect to see he/she/it become the primary goal.

    I honestly look forward to being a parent. Just not yet. I’ve got all this stuff to do…

  6. It is good to have goals yes, and yet there is a real peace in accepting ones limitations. When you have children its true your priorities change.

  7. breathlessmini

    Our lists are actually pretty similar. Does your include pet a tiger? I want to hang out with a lion or tiger. I can’t own one because I cannot feed it the raw meat it requires but I do want to pet one.

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