Thoughtful Thursday: Off the List
December 13, 2012
A month ago, the New York Times photography blog posted a series of photos of a place that I am pretty sure I will never visit: the fake old west towns in Spain’s Tabernas Desert. When I go back to Spain, that is not where I want to be. I don’t even want to visit the actual old west towns that are within a few hours driving distance of me; why would I miss out on presumably limited time in Barcelona or Granada or Bilbao to go to Tabernas? The only way I can imagine would be if Burrito or Tamale becomes the world’s biggest Man With No Name fan, but even then, ugh.
Seeing those photos was a bit of a revelation because mostly, there is nowhere that is off my travel list. I have been lots and lots of places, including a few quite rarely visited, and there are a hundred others that I would like to visit. Even those that I’m not rushing to visit are all still possibilities. Australia? As soon as possible. Afghanistan? I hear it was amazing once; hopefully someday it will return to glory. Antarctica? Maybe… penguins are awfully cute.
My other lists in life aren’t quite as limitless as my travel possibilities, but still pretty big. I will never be the president, thank goodness, but it’s not impossible that I could gain wide recognition someday. I will never climb Mt. Everest, and I’m 100% fine with that, but I have climbed a mountain before and can’t rule out another one. But with my recent illness (which still hasn’t been sorted out, by the way), the possibility of true limits has descended. I saw a photo of the mountain that’s next to the one that I climbed in my youth, and instead of, “maybe I will climb that with Burrito and Tamale someday,” my thought was, “I can’t even climb a set of stairs right now; I will never scale anything again.” I don’t plan to run any marathons, but half-marathons have always been a possibility; suddenly when I got sick, walking became a big deal.
We plan not to have more children: DH doesn’t want to go beyond the twins, and most of the time I agree; even if we wanted more children, it would take herculean treatment efforts that would probably fail and cost us six figures and break our hearts. We’re done. It’s something I’ve accepted. But, getting sick made it feel like choice was no longer a consideration. I would forever be absent from the RE’s waiting room not because I chose never to return, but because my body had banned me for life.
At this point, with my health issues not yet resolved, I truly don’t know whether my pre-illness life possibilities remain true or whether a bunch of things have been permanently crossed off the list. Whatever happens, this crisis has cemented the fact that any mountains I climb or marathons I run will be accompanied by two children, but not three.
What have you already eliminated from your life list? Which items have you accepted willingly vs. regretfully?