There’s something about the term “bucket list” that rubs me the wrong way. It seems to imply that in order to do the things you actually want to do with your life, you have to be scared of your impending or eventual death.
It also rubs me the wrong way because instead of making plans to fulfill their dreams right now, bucket-listers put their wish lists off until “some day” where more often than not, they then get too old and tired or less passionate to go and live out their younger, distant dreams. Putting your deepest wishes on a pedestal instead of just going for it and living the life you want to live seems like a waste of time to me.
Mike and I recently had a life or death scare, where the ship Mike was on for work was hit by a drone. All of his possessions were destroyed in the blast, including the chair he had been sitting in not 30 minutes before. He was completely unharmed, but also, strangely, unfazed. Mike said if he had died, well…he went out in an interesting way and had lived a wonderful life with no regrets.
I, on the other hand, was much more affected by the “what-ifs” and the possibilities of if things had been slightly different…it was a torturous and unproductive exercise, but nearly impossible to avoid in these circumstances.
But after taking a step back from the initial shock of it all, I realized that if I died rightthissecond, I’d be sad that I wouldn’t be able to live longer, but I would die without regrets and without any wish for my life to have been different.
Me in Turkey, April 2013
That’s a very powerful and empowering realization. At 27 years old, I live my life exactly as I want, no fears or regrets.
Granted, I’m a privileged person with the financial means to make it happen, which makes a huge difference, but I’ve also been open to the right opportunities and have worked hard to get where I want to go. Knowing my priorities in life make decisions easy for me–will I regret not doing this? Yes? Then I’m going to do it. If I work extraordinarily hard at my job, will it open up more opportunities, freedom and flexibility? Yes? Then I’ll do that too.
One of my goals when we moved to Spain was to live in the present. To stop looking so far ahead that I forgot to live and appreciate the now. All of the traveling that we were able to do during those short 10 months very much made that possible for me. I can say that I’ve accomplished my goal (for the most part, I have my moments of course) and am a much happier person for it.
In order to fulfill that promise to myself to live in the present, that means bucket lists are not a part of it. Goals and dreams are definitely a part of my life, but they are actionable and I always feel as if it’s not a matter of “some day” but a matter of “when.”
Also, after a scare like we had, life is just too short to do anything else.
How do you feel about bucket lists? Do they inspire you to go, do, or are they distant dreams?