Why Now is a Good Time to Write Your Bucket List
Why Now is a Good Time to Write Your Bucket List
During the current pandemic, many people are having to change their lives dramatically, including having to work from home, some losing their jobs, and most only being allowed out once a day. This is testing most individuals’ resilience skills and, with the non-stop stream of bad news, many are starting to feel overwhelmed. The reality that life is unpredictable and sadly can be suddenly cut short, is dawning on many people, even the younger generations.
Recurring regrets of activities not carried out, or broken promises before the lockdown include: ‘I wish I had met up with my family more often when I could’ or ‘I wish I hadn't cancelled that coffee with my friend because 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 us. Although the current situation is awful, it will end one day. Of course, the world won’t be the same again, but a combination of finding small positives during each day and planning for the future, making a Bucket List of things to do and see after the pandemic, can help you 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 regular breaks, balanced with diarising time out for 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! The events in 2020 mean a revised list of goals for most of us.
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 down 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, 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 hear friends saying ‘we must meet up for a meal/drink/salsa lesson/abseil etc’, but often another year passes and we’re 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. Covid-19 may well change the way we view life.
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. Then 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, what are the Benefits of having a 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 will 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’
- If you're planning a holiday, it can focus you on a daily fitness campaign to lose weight and get fit
- 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 make you more tolerant of bad weather/a broken washing machine/a flat tyre, which seemed like major crises only a few weeks ago, 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.