06 April 2015

The Anti-Bucket List

Bucket lists. I have noticed over time how many people make this of adventures and dreams before they, well, kick the bucket. I get the idea, and I love to read what other folks have on their list. But somehow, I have always been bothered by the concept of it, like I never really got it. 

A few weeks ago I read this article online that kinda helped me put to words what I have always thought for awhile. As a chronic list maker (I'll put things on my to-do list just so I can check them off), I feel pressure when I cannot check something off my list. Having a bucket list is a potentially hazardous way for me to freak the freak out I don't get accomplish certain tasks or dreams I wanted to. I am not patient or loving with myself and then proceed to beat myself because I can't "make life happen." 
 What this season of my life is showing me right now is that sometimes being in complete control of my life can be a dangerous thing. There is so much more freedom, fulfillment, and excitement in striving to a life of serenity and looking to be present in every little moment. I'm not saying goals and dreams are bad, but I can see myself being overly hard on myself when I don't check something off my bucket list. Some of the greatest adventures of my life have been the adventures and experiences that were not planned out on a bucket list, like spending the night on Copacabana or going to a kola bear petting farm in Australia. And some of the greatest opportunities to learn and grow have been both the unplanned ones that were incredible but also difficult.

I have always struggled with looking waaayyyy ahead to the future. Living life by my plans instead of choosing to live in the present day; cherishing the moments I find myself in and looking grace and goodness in them no matter what. A control freak who doesn't take to change very well has been the track record for a lot of my life. But more and more I see how tiring that is for my soul, even planning out all my adventures in life robs me of living life as a crazy, messy, beautiful mystery. I have spent a lot of time looking at life like a big fat to-do list. The most amazing opportunities and experiences in life exist right here and now, if I choose to look for them. Sure I would love to go back to Ireland, see the Holy Land with Jim, and swim with the dolphins...but will my life be any less rich or meaningful if I don't get to do those things? No, of course not! A meaningful life starts right here, in my current state of life right where I am right now.

Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not trying to say that bucket lists aren't these awful, evil things to keep in life. But for me, its an illusion that tells me unless I accomplish certain tasks or have particular adventures, my life won't be as full or meaningful. I am trying to un-learn lies I have told myself or believed for too many years, and this is one of them. Even if I never traveled again or never write that book someday, my life can still be rich and beautiful. Life doesn't begin when I'm jet setting off somewhere around the world, but life begins right here and now.

So what would be on my anti-bucket list? Well things like:
  • Write every day in my gratitude journal
  • Being present to people more than material things or social media
  • Cultivate true friendships, eliminate the ones that are not uplifting
  • Use my words and actions to help and uplift others
  • Care less about what other's think of me
Look for the meaningful moments and opportunities right where you are right now!
What would that look like in your own life?
What would your anti-bucket list contain?

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  1. I really enjoy reading your reflections, Patty! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. I love your anti bucket list and the idea behind it! I think I'll have to create one now. ;-)

    1. Thanks Gabby!!! Ooohh I wanna see what's on your's now:)

  3. Sounds like a good outlook to me! Truthfully, I've never had the desire to write a bucket list because I really like to just see where life takes us!

  4. Especially over the past few years, my life has changed so much from what I 'expected'--so I've found it wise not to get all too attached to future events. You never know when you might be going in a different direction!


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