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Re. being a father – If it's any consolation, M. was very impressed with your daddying skills and the impression you left as such a caring poppa. Don't worry about patience. Kids are designed to test it, defining their own personalities and enriching yours in the long run.
Productive independent time is a tough one. It will disappear for at least three years, only coming back in dribs and drabs after that. New parents deserve to veg and recharge at every opportunity.

Yay, I faked out M! 🙂

You are wise to reflect and plan but not sensible about time. Jacob is your priority, you will never have this tiime again and it doesn't hurt to live in the moment. Life is not balanced with small children, so maybe we should be more content with serial foci rather than trying tio have it all at once. So, with love, scrap another degree and this year learning sign language, do the house work and the garden that you can do WITH Andrea and Jacob, get your intellectuall challenge at work and with your social circle.
About the cottage — you can recreate the experience as vacation if ownership is distant, I think the secret there is to have family traditions. Go to the local park — exercise and free! When i look back at your time in my life, I should have taken the kids to the zoo more often, and gone to bed earlier. I am trying to live Desiderata…….and carve out down
time– it is hard, but I am determined to be at peace. I think stress has literally hurt me, and some of it was me trying to do too much; so I offer you my example as incentive to not repeat my mistakes. xo

I find it interesting to work back from the conclusion at the bottom of your comment, as it was my starting point. I'm stressed…
Yet simply spending more time with J & A is not going to "re-energize" me as social energy doesn't work that way for me, regardless of what we're doing. So building a garden with them would be fun, but as a substitute for what we're already doing, not in addition to it…put a different way, more time with "group identity and group decision-making" will not lower my stress as that is partly what stresses me in the first place. I need more autonomy in certain areas, a variety to balance things out.
But I will be trying to incorporate people (like J & A) into the other actions. Not sure exactly about "replacing" the cottage experience. And I like the concept of serial foci — it is kind of what I'm leaning towards a bit. "Living in the moment" with whatever I'm "focusing" on that point, so to speak.
The positive aspect for me with the list of "goals" is that they are goals, they are not iron-clad commitments. Some days I jettison the list entirely and don't even think about it for a couple of weeks. More like signposts on a journey across a beach — I look around, I play in the water, build a sandcastle, whatever, but once in a while I raise my head to see which direction I was hoping to move in. And check the signposts.
My two key "principles" for the list are that "Not finishing something on the list is not a failure" and "having a list is no substitute for having a life". 🙂
On the positive side, I'll try not to repeat your mistakes — I'll make whole new ones! :)))