My first thought was to title this post:


Instead, let’s say that I appreciate the lists. Every year around my birthday I am tempted to feel bad about all that I haven’t done, all that I am not, all the things that haven’t worked out, or worked out in the ways I thought they would, or when, or how it always seemed they should have. It’s an annoying ritual. I lay awake most of the night before my birthday, feeling like something is slipping away. An annoying ritual. I think I’ve been doing it for 20 years now. It’s silly.

I appreciate the lists, and the messy work surfaces, and the cold hard reality that I can’t (it’s physically impossible) do all the things I have dreamt of, visit all the places, read and write all the books, etc. etc.

Michelangelo is reported to have once prayed:

Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.

I like that. I never remember asking that, or even thinking that, but God has certainly granted me that much. I am reminded of this now when all the specifics and topics stack in my head. Sometimes I get discouraged because there is so much I don’t get around to doing. I feel like I’m always behind. But then I realize how much I appreciate having the lists. Even if they don’t go beyond that. The lists are a start. The lists are the stories to tell, the memories to document, the books to read, the subjects to study, the jokes to retell, the scenes to paint, the specifics to scatter into dozens of projects, the desire to do, the desire to move forward and be more than I am.


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