In My Next Life List


"You can do anything, but you can't do everything."

I didn't really believe that oft quoted bit of advice until the Kid turned about two.  I love putting him to bed, but increasingly I was being torn away from that by my other "jobs".  

It broke my heart, losing those few quiet moments to really talk to him, to snuggle, to recite our list of people who love him.  And it was about that time that I started repeating that above quote to myself when considering whether to embark on a new idea or activity.  

Except, in my head, it was, "You can do [x thing], but you can't do that and put the Kid to bed most nights.  Which is more important right now?"

Unsurprisingly, the Kid wins a lot.  

But, somewhere in all that, it occurred to me--just because a given idea isn't right for this season of my life, doesn't mean it won't be doable sometime down the road.  Happy as I am to be prioritizing the Kid, the thought that "not right now" doesn't mean "never" was quite comforting.  Eventually I even started writing some of my set-aside-for-now ideas down, thus, my "In My Next Life" list was born.  Here's what I have so far:

1.  About 4 different book proposals.  From a photography/historical project to a cookbook to a few children's stories to a weird sci-fi dream I had once--I want to write them all.

2.  Mental health training for public defenders.  In many places, the criminal justice system is the defacto mental health system, and most lawyers are getting only "sink-or-swim" psychology lessons.  We can't be all things, but I'd like to figure out how we can do better than we're doing now.  

3.  Bees!  Oh, how I want a few hives of bees!

4.  I want to finish an Ironman.  Lake Tahoe, actually--where the air is so thin it's reportedly like breathing through a straw.  (But what a pretty place to have heart attack, right?)

5.  Books for prisoners.  Like many people who read, I give my bookshelves a good purge about once a year.  I'd love to donate some of my old books to inmates, but--in Kansas, at least--there's not an organization for doing so.  I want to find a smart, progressive-thinking warden who will let me start one.


Tell me, do you keep a "next life" list?  Care to share anything from it?