Why Now is a Good Time to Create your Bucket List
Why Now is a Good Time to Create your Bucket List
Most restrictions imposed due to the pandemic have been lifted. This has opened up the world so we can visit our loved ones in far-flung countries, continue exploring interesting places, and tick off items on our bucket list, if you have one. Even if you don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, having a bucket list, is one way to ensure you don’t look back and have regrets at the end of your life.
During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, many people had to change their lives dramatically, including having to work from home and only being allowed out once a day. This tested most individuals’ resilience leaving many feeling anxious or overwhelmed. The reality that life is unpredictable and can suddenly be cut short dawned on many people, even the younger generations.
The imposed confinement of lockdowns due to Covid-19 meant that people started to re-evaluate their lives and what was the most important priority for them. As a result, some of those in the later stages of their careers decided to retire early, conversely, some who didn’t think they wanted promotion became more ambitious. Many left cities to start new lives in the countryside or abroad. Clearly health became a prominent goal, as did having a safe, pleasant environment in which to live and work.
There is no point in having regrets and bemoaning opportunities missed; the key is to learn from them and take action. Part of the process of regrouping often involves re-focusing on what and who is really important. 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 do 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 et al!
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 they 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 or 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 into 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.
Despite being confined to your homes for months in 2020, chances are you may still hear yourself saying to friends ‘we must meet up for a meal/drink/salsa lesson/abseil etc’, but then another year passes by and you 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. 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, or achieving our full potential.
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. 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 gives you things to plan and look forward to
- 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 and grateful
- 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 overcome the Winter Blues and make you more tolerant of bad weather/a broken washing machine/a flat tyre
- Once you’ve satisfied your curiosity and explored different places, the Fear Of Missing Out 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 that I am ticking off my own list.
Here's to many new adventures in 2023!
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