Why Now is a Good Time to Create your Bucket List
Why Now is a Good Time to Create your Bucket List
During the current pandemic, many people are having to change their lives dramatically, including having to work from home and only being allowed out once a day. This is testing most individuals’ resilience levels and, with the non-stop stream of bad news, many are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. The reality that life is unpredictable and can suddenly be cut short is dawning on many people, even the younger generations.
Recurring regrets of activities not carried out, or broken promises before the lockdowns include: ‘I wish I had met up with my family more often when I could’ or ‘I wish I’d seen that friend for coffee, but I was too busy working on my project.’ There is no point in bemoaning opportunities missed; the key is to learn from them, as many people are starting to re-evaluate their lives. Part of that process often involves re-focusing on what and who is really important to them. Although the current situation is awful, it will end one day and the vaccination programme is providing hope. Of course, the world won’t be the same again, but planning for the future and making a Bucket List of things to do and see after the pandemic can help people cope.
When I was about nine, my father’s then line manager came around to our house, as they were going to drive to a conference together. This man was incredibly kind and extremely hard-working, and that day I remember my mother asking him if he was ever going to take a holiday. He replied that he would buy a caravan and travel around Europe with his wife when he retired. Tragically, within in a week of his retirement, he died of a heart attack.
So, at a young age, I realised that it’s important to work hard and enjoy your job, but also to live for today and take your breaks, balanced with diarised time for planning and taking holidays when you can. For those who make New Years’ Resolutions, each year often starts with grand plans, but by mid-January most people become consumed with the everyday grind and monotony of their commute, job, and mundane tasks, such as remembering to buy the cat food/dishwater tablets/toilet rolls!
In 2009 I watched the film ‘Bucket List’ with friends of mine in the US. If you haven’t seen it, the film stars Jack Nicholson as a billionaire, and Morgan Freeman as a car mechanic; they meet in the same cancer ward, both reviewing their lives, and what they have or haven’t done, so decide to make a Bucket List, leave hospital, and embark on a world adventure together. After watching the film my friends and I challenged each other to write or update our own Bucket Lists, making creative suggestions to each other along the way. The list didn’t have enough dates against the activities, and of course the usual curved balls and key life events have disrupted some of the plans, such as illness, the devastating fires in California, but many of us are still sticking to them, ticking off the key actions and destinations.
Sharing your Bucket List with close friends is often worthwhile as you end up with like-minded companions with whom to savour the experiences. However, it can also work the other way, as you may not want to feel pressured in to joining a friend on a silent retreat in a Tibetan monastery, or swimming with sharks off the Great Barrier Reef, if these don’t seem attractive propositions for the future.
We all used to hear friends saying ‘we must meet up for a meal/drink/salsa lesson/abseil etc’, but often another year passed and we were bogged down again in the ‘metro, boulot, dodo’, as the French so eloquently refer to those who are caught up in the rat race. So, post pandemic, unless we diarise specific social events, we’re in danger of drifting through life and not meeting up with our family and friends regularly enough when it's safe again to do so.
With a whole industry and online network geared to assisting individuals in ticking off goals on their Bucket List, many of the younger generations are now in active pursuit of the next thrill or challenge. Of course, the danger with defined goals, is that one can become focused on preparing for the big adventures, doing research, and saving money, but actually missing out on mindfully enjoying the here and now by taking selfies, instead of savouring the actual moment and view. Or of course, being massively disappointed when a global pandemic scuppers your travel plans! A Bucket List doesn’t need to be full of extreme sports to try, it can also include simple pleasures, local places of interest to visit, and picnics to be shared.
So, why is now a good time to create your Bucket List?
- It will give you things to plan and look forward to when the pandemic subsides
- It focuses you on what you want to achieve and experience in your own lifetime
- It prevents you from wasting time, so you have few regrets on your deathbed
- Regularly referring to your Bucket List can also remind you to ‘seize the day’ and make the most of your life ‘in the moment’
- Ticking off and achieving goals is satisfying, and is proven to make people feel happier
- Travelling definitely ‘broadens the mind’, presents opportunities to meet new people, and teaches you about different cultures
- Trying out new experiences can make you more interesting as a person
- Looking forward to exciting trips can help with the Winter Blues and make you more tolerant of bad weather/a broken washing machine/a flat tyre, which seemed like major crises this time last year, but now can be seen to be just day to day trials and tribulations
- Once you’ve satisfied your curiosity, the FOMO diminishes
Personally, yes, I’ve swam with dolphins and sharks, but would I do it again? No! But I’m glad I did, as otherwise I would be wondering if I should add it to the list of the wonderful things I’ll do and trips I’ll take when it’s safe to do so.
Be kind, stay safe, stay positive.