The bucket list idea has been around for a few years now, popularised by the film of that name from 2007.
Essentially the notion of a list of the life experiences to have, or life achievements to attain, before you die. Before you ‘kick the bucket’. For example, ‘making this trip ticks one thing off my bucket list’.
You can even download suggested bucket lists – with places you should visit and experiences you should have whilst you still can. Someone else’s idea of what you should do, to live a rich and fulfilled life. Interesting concept.
Often these lists contain far flung places to visit or high octane adrenaline fueled experiences. Many cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Visit Machu Pichu. Skydive. Swim with dolphins. Run a marathon.
What if we lived for the moment instead? What if we identified the day to day things that bring pleasure, happiness, joy to our lives and just do more of them?
Drink tea with a biscuit to dunk. Sit in the garden. Have a bath. Walk in the woods. Bake brownies. Buy those orange shoes we covet. Listen to a thunderstorm. Hold hands. Laugh.
Too few people notice the little things they enjoy and then set out to do more of them.
It strikes me the bucket list idea has a hole in it. If we’re focused on our death and on large scale, time costly, expensive big events, then life is leaking out of the hole every day.
Many of us write lists. The ‘to do’ list is a favourite.
Jobs for the weekend, reminders of tasks for the day job, lists of objectives for the project, even a list of things to buy for a birthday…
These lists tend to be full of tasks. Doing things. Activities to complete, assignments to progress, promises to keep.
How often do we create an emotional ‘to do’ list?
Today, I need to feel joyous, curious, excited and relieved. Tomorrow I plan some happy, a bit of stressed (because I will need that adrenaline) and a ton of relief, because I can foresee a few minutes of sad.
I recently attended an event where the group was encouraged to reflect on sources of happiness in their lives. We then shared and told stories of how and why that happiness had arrived for us. We pledged to each other to do more of that in our lives going forward (whatever it was for each of us). Having people bear witness seemed to help.
So, what’s on your long term emotional ‘to do’ list, and how do you plan to get more or less of the emotions you want or don’t?
There are many ways of moving forward, but only one way of standing still.
Franklin D Roosevelt
We notice stuck. When we experience it, stuck draws our attention. We can’t see past it. We feel it pinning us down. Stuck consumes us.
When we’re stuck we become blind to possibilities. Ways to move forward. Advancement. Growth. Movement. All seem out of reach when stuck grasps us.
Yet there are always more ways of moving forwards.