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.