A growing realization is taking root in my mind: there are too many things I want to do for the time I likely have left on this little orb . Do you grapple with that issue too? It has teased me most of my life.
My interests are broad. The things I would like to try multiply like bunnies. Unfinished projects and ideas scatter themselves around my environments.
How to ascertain the source of this tendency? Prioritizing the things I most want to do, while leaving others off, is elusive to me. Is ADD a real thing, and does it afflict me?
It is too easy to veer off course, delving into a new subject or interest. Then starts the quest to learn more about that beckoning new thing. There are places I want to visit – geographical settings in which I want to be immersed – at least for a little while.
What might I do if I had the proverbial nine lives?
- Be a professional photographer – it’s appealed to me since I was a kid.
- Be an accomplished pianist. (Should have listened to Mom.)
- Craft songs.
- Write a book.
Shall we go on?
- Chaplaincy work has called my name for years. (Finally, in 2012, I got the opportunity to at least get a start. I was right. I like it.)
- Live in a pristine setting, operating a camp or retreat center, meeting and encouraging people by the thousands year after year.
- The “call of the open road” entices me still with the mystique of the long-haul trucker watching America slide by from his (my) elevated perch.
- How about being a forest ranger living in a spectacular place of beauty? Yes, that too.
- The brief experience I had designing lighting for musical production made me want to do it all the time. I would constantly lose track of time in the creativity.
- Back in the 70’s my brother Keith and I wanted to travel the country as singers. We lacked the tenacity, or the know-how, or both, to get that underway.
- Old cars captivate me with a latent desire to try my hand at restoring one.
- How about living in a pine forest in a log cabin next to a bubbling stream? Yes.
- How about living for a year or two in a top level penthouse? Surveying the urban vistas stretching in all directions, the movement and cacophony muted dozens of stories below, sounds great. Where do I sign?
Without being independently wealthy and having a 200-year life span (would that be long enough?), meaningfully experiencing all these things is not possible. So why the desires bubbling just under the surface, distracting my focus?
Wait, there’s more:
- Ah, the desert Southwest with miles of vistas all around. I envision a stucco building, open to the breezes, with an expansive enclosed area where my body could take in all the vitamin D it wanted at any time. No more darkness-induced lethargy.
- How about working on a ferry in the Inside Passage? You bet.
- Writing for a publishing firm producing articles and editorials on a regular basis? Almost heaven.
- Doing public speaking all over the country? Yes, with travel perks too!
- Would I love to race fast cars on a road circuit? Only had that desire since I was fourteen. (How often have I dreamed of taking a Porsche 911 at speed on a twisty mountain road?)
Speaking of travel:
- How about taking a year criss-crossing the country interviewing all the relatives I can find and publishing their fascinating stories?
- My wife’s cousin J. David Jones is an expert video storyteller (and my roommate one summer). Sometimes I envy his ability and that “magical” life. (What? There’s drudgery and tedium involved too?)
- Another dream: a cross-country bicycle tour, seeing our land and people up close.
- Related adventure: taking a three wheel motorcycle all over the continents, choosing roads on a whim to see where they lead.
- Who wouldn’t want to live on a houseboat? Imagine the soothing gentle rocking every night as you fade off into oblivious sleep.
Finally, how’s this for an obsessive fantasy: isn’t there, somewhere, a Barnes and Noble with a nicely appointed apartment on a second floor, with free access to any book anytime? If only someone would pay me to read and research. You may not believe how often that idea has run to the front of the room that is my brain, saying “Look at me, look at me, look at me!”
It cannot be that all of these desires are things that God wants me to do in the span of this earthly life.
So, why do they have such appeal? (This is only a representative list, by the way.) Why this has pestered me most of my days?
It could be a lack of self-discipline. It could be indecisiveness. The life and work I have been given is a great blessing. But still, all these other things look like pure joy to do.
Does this mean I never wanted to grow up? Does it mean my decision maker module is broken? Does it mean I am afraid to fully commit to something?
Maybe in the eternal kingdom, these creative and adventuring urges will be fully available to pursue. Meanwhile, learning and practicing contentment is a fitful exercise for me. There is too much to explore, too much to enjoy, and so much feels just out of reach. “I have learned, whatever state I am in therewith to be content.” How old was Paul when he wrote that?
I am still learning. Sorta.