Pour Out the Bucket
If you’re so focused on the big-ticket blockbusters, you risk missing the mundane delights of every day.
Is your bucket list bringing you more stress than joy?
Are you feeling left out because you don’t see how you’ll ever have the time or money to tackle your bucket list?
I poured out my bucket and you can too.
What is a Bucket List?
The definition of “bucket list” is a list of things that one wants to do before dying.
The term became popular after the 2007 movie, “The Bucket List”, with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. They play two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward and head off with a bucket list of things to do before they die.
Focus On the Journey, Not the Destination
Are you rushing from place to place trying to check off all the places on your bucket list? Do you feel a sense of regret when you don’t get to everything on your list? Are you so focused on your bucket list activity that you miss the spontaneous opportunities along the way?
Psychologist Linda Blair, who wrote The Key to Calm, says chasing big experiences is worthwhile if you enjoy the whole process. “Saving up the money, planning it with friends, and then the moment as well. I’m all for that,” she says. “But if you’re constantly living in the future, ignoring what’s going on right now because you’re shooting for goals, which happen so quickly that they’re over, and then you have to chase another one, you’re not really living.”
Don’t worry about skydiving or climbing Everest, but do wear your fancy underwear and use the good china. Eat pizza for breakfast and waffles for dinner. Make time for the little things that are easily within reach. I’d rather have the feeling that if I die today, there is nothing I missed.
Change Your Perspective, Change Your World
On Sunday morning, I stand barefoot at my kitchen sink feeling the earth connection with thousands of years of women preparing food for their families. No one is rushing out the door so we have time for a big, meandering breakfast. Our Sunday morning tradition is freshly baked cinnamon rolls. So, they’re out of a tube, nobody cares.
On Monday night, after a long day of kicking off the week, I am overwhelmed by yet another mountain of dishes in the sink. I pause for a moment and think about the Syrian refugee mothers who would give anything to be in my shoes.
There’s a perspective that makes the bucket list obscene isn’t there? A year ago, I was driving my twelve-year-old daughter to the orthodontist to get braces put on her teeth. On the way, we discussed how expending this level of resources on straightening teeth would be unthinkable in most parts of the world. I wanted her to be clear that having braces was a privilege afforded very few. Even the small act of thinking about a bucket list denotes extreme privilege when 783 million people do not have access to clean drinking water.
One of my Dad’s credos was, “Change your perspective, change your world.”
Savor the Simple
The bucket list was supposed to be about dying. If I found out I was dying, I wouldn’t want to go racing around the world. I would want simple pleasures. It would be about people, not places or things. If you’re so focused on the big-ticket blockbusters, you risk missing the mundane delights of every day.
- Rock a baby
- Make some toast
- Change a diaper
- The first perfect sip of tea
- Sloppy toddler kisses
- Teen age attitude
- Clean sheets
- Kiss in the rain
- Stomp in puddles
Participate Fully in the Present
Make a point to work and play every day. I’m a working Mom of two kids, ages 13 and 3. I live a blended life with hardly any boundaries. I typically work half my work day during the day and the other half at night. I take several professional level dance classes a week and water-ski every other Friday morning.
Choose something simple to savor each day
- Wear the lipstick you save for special occasions
- Open that bottle of champagne for no special reason
- Sit down with a cup of tea and a photo album from college
Create a Gratitude Jar. Tie a ribbon around an old glass jar and cut slips of paper. Every day, write down what you are grateful for and add it to the jar. It can be anything from appreciating a ripe banana to appreciating the guy who helped you change your flat tire in the rain. When you’re having a down day, open the jar and read a handful of gratitude notes.
Pour Out Your Bucket and Live Your Life
— Originally published at womenonthefence.com on May 4, 2017.