In my next life…
1. …I will be a morning person. And what does this mean? I will wake up at 6:40 am, get out of bed within 15 or 20 seconds, walk briskly to the kitchen to make coffee, then pour myself a glass of orange juice. I will head to my elliptical machine with juice in hand and burn 300 calories. After I shower, shave and floss, I will be ready to tackle the day, and it won’t even be 9:00 am. (I must admit, it tires me just writing this.)
2. …I will be a people person. Don’t get me wrong, I like people just fine. Interaction between people is what makes life worth living. But I’m not very skilled at it. I hate small talk, maybe because I’ve never done it well, or because I have a hard time stopping the conversation going on in my own head. I’m also the worst when it comes to remembering details of other people’s lives. I seem to be able to store only one tidbit at a time. So, you have a dog? OK, got it. Next time we meet, I may remember your spouse is a doctor. The time after that, I will try to memorize the name of one of your children using some mnemonic device.
In my next life, I will be so good at this, you will think you are talking to Mister Rogers.
3. …I will never start smoking. My smoking days are thankfully over (10 years now) but the sinus problems, blood pressure and varicose veins remain. Things add up.
4. …I will be more process-oriented as opposed to goal-oriented. Yes, we all have to make a living, but next time around I’d like to try it without a checklist. Accomplishments are for resumés and retirement speeches. A creek doesn’t get anything done, it just flows and flows. I love being around creeks, and it might be nice to be one next time.
5. …I will be less afraid to fail. Some people live their lives and some plan their lives. I am a planner. Plans offer that comfortable (false) feeling of security, that you can avoid problems as long as you stick to the plan. But plans bound your experiences and choices and limit your flexibility. If I were able to tolerate a bit more stress, and allow myself to make a few more mistakes, then I could loosen my seat belt a little.
If I were that person in my next life, I’m not sure I would recognize me.
* Lyrics by Johnny Burke. Music by Jimmy Van Heusen. Sung by Bing Crosby, 1944:
Or would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a pig?
A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
His shoes are a terrible disgrace
He has no manners when he eats his food
He’s fat and lazy and extremely rude
But if you don’t care a feather or a fig
You may grow up to be a pig.