I've kept a lifetime "to do" list for as long as I can remember. Some time has passed since "go to Disneyland" topped the charts. I've checked off some major items - graduate college, graduate law school, start a business, get a dog, be creative, marry the most wonderful man ever, buy a sweet home, have an even sweeter baby ...
I've done some interesting things in my day. I've scaled modest cliffs, played instruments, been on television, won contests, lost contests, flown a plane, met famous people, worked with the disabled, traveled, camped, made soap, made jewelry, made lots of things, soldered precious metals, acted, danced and entertained. But none of those things were on my list until after I had done them. I would accomplish a task and inevitably it would end up on my list with a fresh check mark. Yay me.
Some aspirations remain: learn a third language, learn sign language, write a book, learn to draw something more than stick people, learn to play another instrument, start a charity, join a band and live in another country. These edgier items were added by my inner Parachuting Philosopher. Who?
My friend Natalie and I have joked about the Parachuting Philosopher for a long time - the super interesting, witty and fearless person we envision ourselves or even our mate to be. Incidentally, the Parachuting Philosopher is also incredibly fit, is perfectly punctual, has impeccable manners and never runs out of money. We hold the Parachuting Philosopher out there as though becoming that person or marrying that person is actually an attainable goal.
Somehow, I thought I would perpetually check my alter ego's items off my list throughout my lifetime. Maybe I even thought maternity leave would free up my schedule for such endeavors. Excuse me? What? However, as I sat up those first few nights with my new beeb, fresh fantasy action items filled my head. Things like attend weekly mommy-and-me yoga, make various iPod mixes to teach her about real music, boycott all goods made in China, grow my own herbs and write a children's book made the list.
As I rocked my swaddled bundle of joy to sleep, It occurred to me that by checking "get pregnant" off of my life's list, I'd created the immense pressure of giving birth to and raising a future Parachuting Philosopher. Fuuuuuck.
It's too much to handle.
I thought I was alone in this. Or at least that Natalie and I were the only two goofs who coveted the coolness of the Parachuting Philosopher. Alas no.
One day early on, we were listening to music and having a new family moment. Ryan bounced Leighton on his knee and stared at her for the longest time with a grin on his face while describing to me precisely why she's the most amazing little person he's ever met. Then, he turned to me and said, in a most serious manner, "I need to take guitar lessons. I don't want Leighton to think it isn't important to play a musical instrument."
I love Ryan for being my Parachuting Philosopher and for always being "in it" with me. Even when I think "it" exists only in my mind.
What items made your life's "to do" list? Please post a comment and share the fuss with us.