Actually, to be more honest, this post should probably be titled: The value of not having a bucket list. I don’t believe in them, and here’s why.
What is a bucket list?
In case you’re unfamiliar with this phrase, it is a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” (If that term is new, kicking the bucket means dying.)
On the surface, it may seem like a good idea to have a list such as this, but I can’t say that I really agree.
I have some different reasons for this, but I’ll try to highlight some of the big reasons I’m not a fan of these types of lists.
- Lists make you goal oriented. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I like lists, especially as I’ve found my brain rejecting more and more items from my mental to-do list. It’s easier, helps keep me focused, and makes sure I don’t inadvertently forget something important or something from a quick conversation. However, I don’t think making one’s life wholly goal oriented is a happy or positive way to live. Have a dream, chase it down and make it your bitch, yes. But living your life around crossing things off a list? I don’t think so.
- When your attention gets focused on goals, you forget simple things. I have these posts I need to write, so I’ll just sit down and stay indoors for days writing them. Well, originally the idea was I’d get them done in half a day, but there was Facebook, Twitter, and oh look cute pics of kitties! and such to distract me from real productivity. Then I go through old emails and realize I agreed to do a post or send photos or something for another blogger “in a couple of days.” That was a month ago. *smacks forehead* I don’t want to get so focused on my goals that I don’t take time to watch the sunset or to test Tigger’s patience threshold by stopping to take 50 photos of a pretty little flower growing out of a log. “Don’t you already have a picture of a flower?”
- Dreams can get pushed aside. “You see, I have this list of 25 things I MUST do!” Who said! Yet I know people who keep shoving big dreams to the rear because they need to tick more items off their bucket list.
- The destination or event becomes the journey rather than the journey being, well, everything. I wanted to become a scuba instructor, and I did just that. But there was such an incredible journey getting there. I would’ve missed so much if I only had my eyes set on the end goal. I also know people who don’t really seem to relish these moments. They cross another item off their list, and they’re rushing off to try to complete the next one. I wonder what happens once they’ve crossed off all their items. Do you start with a new list?
- Takes you away from living in the present. When you have a bucket list, there’s that constant sense of “I haven’t done everything yet!” This is the main reason I don’t have this kind of list. I don’t want to spend my time focusing on the things I haven’t done yet. I’d rather focus on what I’m doing and what else I look forward to doing next.
I’d rather look back and think Wow! What a life!
A life somewhat lived
Dream big and pursue it, and have another dream waiting in the wing. I have plenty of dreams to keep me busy for a lifetime, but my life won’t feel unfulfilled if I don’t get to turn every single one of them into reality.
I wonder if I would feel the same if during my final days I still had a list that hadn’t been completely finished. An incomplete bucket list would just leave me feeling like I had somehow failed, even if just a tiny bit. I’ve been with those people in their final moments. I don’t want that for my life.
No thanks. I’d rather look back and think Wow! What a life I had! than to have any regrets.