In addition to napping, healing, and all the other appropriate activities, I had hoped to be able to use this time to accomplish something meaningful, but that hasn’t happened. My level of attention isn’t up to it just yet.

I wondered a bit whether facing down my mortality in such a specific way would impose some sort of blinding clarity – I’d suddenly know what was most important and have a passionate need to accomplish it right away. Nope. Actually, the mortality thing didn’t change much at all. I already knew family was most important. Aside from that, I’m still interested in lots of things.

  • I still want to learn to paint with the same techniques the old masters used, then use those techniques to create my own weird paintings.
  • I still want to open a museum called the Museum of Corporate Greed where people can come to learn more about the impact our Corporate Overlords have had on everyday people throughout history (I’m guessing it might be more difficult to find funders for this nonprofit museum than if it were a typical science or art museum).
  • I still want to design and build my own house.
  • I still want to learn Python, R, SQL and PHP programming so I can explore the exciting world of predictive analytics and maybe use it to figure out who will win the superbowl each year.
  • I still want to draft the perfect dress pattern that I can use to make an entire wardrobe of my ideal dress in different fabrics, so I never have to think about what to wear again.
  • I still want to create an atheism blog that explores ethics, science, belief, and creative problem-solving from an evidence-based standpoint.
  • I still want to figure out how to bake the perfect loaf of bread.
  • I still want to build my dream wood shop and build a house-full of gorgeous furniture, cabinets, and trim that includes nifty hidden compartments and decorative bits only available to those who spend a little time poking around for them.

So when it comes to my non-work priorities, nothing is especially different. I’m not sure whether to be disappointed or happy about that, so I’m going with happy. I’ve decided to assume that it means I was wise enough to know what was interesting and important to begin with. 1) Family and 2) learning and doing new things because it’s fun.

Thanks to the temporary lemon-brain, I may not be able to spend the next few months accomplishing any of those fun dream tasks, but I have been able to spend it with Abe, which makes this time most valuable. Everything else? Hopefully, this bought us the time to work on the other projects over the next few decades.

11 thoughts on “Priorities”

  1. If you ever get tbat dress pattern right you’ll have to tell me how you did it. You’d better let me have first crack at buying some of your paintings if you ever decide to sell. And, I’d love to help you research for the museum and have you help design my ideal straw bale house. I love you and, even if you don’t get to do that stuff right now, isn’t it good to know that you’re on the right track? Family is definitely most important and spending time with Abe is a wonderful gift. Your priorities are in the right place and that’s a hell of a good thing.

    1. I love you, Liz! Thanks for the vote of confidence. You might want to hold off on promising to buy one of my first paintings, though. I’m leaning toward Rembrandt-style renderings of my “ear monster” illustrations on huge canvases. Abe finds the ear monsters both creepy and disturbing. As you know, coming from Abe, that’s quite a noteworthy observation – his tolerance for what I would consider to be creepy, disturbing things is generally extremely high, as his zombie illustrations attest. I think it’s all the extra ears and flagella that really get to him.

  2. Huh?

    I do not understand, you expected a near death experience to be a life changer in that it would transform you from being you to being an imagined image of you. Take it from someone who has been there, it doesn’t. One is usually lucky to remain you after such a thing. Which is good enough for those who know you, after all they came to know and miss YOU, not the new version of you. And all those things you wanted to do, you can still do them. You always could given your dreams were not unusual like wanting a superpower or something like that.

    No, many times the opposite happens and the person who undergoes such a thing becomes less of what they were. They give in to the fear of death and give up on life to disappear into something that hides them from life. You did not and that is your victory, that you remain who you were.

    Oh you can still do what you wanted to there really is nothing stopping you. Certainly nothing that was not there before. Perhaps if you took another look at your list, pick out the single thing you REALLY want to do. Then as you heal think about it and move in that direction. Slowly.

    I have watched it happen, it is a matter of focus. When you can, call and we will talk and I will tell you about eight graduate degrees and two doctorates.

    You are doing fine as you are now, it is great to have those dreams and desires, humanity would not be human if we didn’t have them. But one needs to be a little realistic about the time line. In this too fast world we expect to be able to solve off human problems in thirty minutes. Plus commercials.

    No. It usually takes a two hour special. Plus commercials.

    1. Thanks, Gonzalo. That’s a very sweet sentiment.

      I’m in no huge hurry to run through everything on the list. My hobbies tend to run in cycles, so I’ll pick them up and make a little progress periodically over time.

      Thanks for the reminder, though – I forgot to add the Ph.D. to the list! That’s definitely a big one. 🙂

  3. Michael Popham

    Your list of things you’d like to do is pretty impressive – you have a curious mind and are very much a hands-on type. That’s healthy. If I were in your shoes I think I would expecting that Hollywood thing where the protagonist discovers he/she is doing everything wrong and totally reprioritizes everything. But it sounds like you’re pretty well grounded.

    You write well, and even if you don’t start a new blog I would encourage you to continue sharing your stories.

    1. Thanks, Michael! I’ve been feeling kind of boring, what with spending a lot of time doing very little around the house. It’s nice to know I’ve been able to generate some entertaining posts – it makes me feel a bit productive. 🙂

  4. Michael Popham

    Also, I’m going to file away the evocative phrase “temporary lemon-brain”. Might come in handy someday.

  5. Linda LaBarre

    I love you and your tenacious intellect. Thank you for sharing! You have always seemed to be very purposeful in how you spend your days. That steadiness is a very attractive quality. You are loyal, a natural learner and master of research. I have zero doubt you have taken many days for granted. I share the wish to become a skillful painter. I sincerely look forward to seeing where that journey takes us. I look forward to seeing you, soon friend.

    1. Linda LaBarre

      That double negative thing has been bothering me all day too, you know what I meant.

    2. Linda, you are wonderful! Thanks so much for the sweet compliments. I’m super-excited about your upcoming visit.

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