I’ve deleted my so-called ‘bucket list’, the list of things I wanted to do before I kicked the bucket, or left Europe; whichever came first. And so should you. Why? Because you tend to ponder on what you haven’t done or is missing than appreciating what you have accomplished. The list haunted me and pulled me in a direction that invoked inadequacy attitude and feeling.
One year after we sold everything and left for Europe, I was still fretting over what we haven’t set out to undertake. Can you believe that? Do you know how many people have let me know they envy what we have done and they wish they could do the same, only if… (fill in the blank)? I wonder if all those people would like to shake me and yell, “Get a grip! You are living a dream life!” And I would warrant that response and would like to think I would thank them for pointing out the obvious.
Having a bucket list keeps you from living in the moment and/or constantly striving to the next ‘thing’ rather than relishing the current ‘thing.’ Keeping that bucket list keeps you in the lack mindset rather than the abundance mindset, a much nicer place to hang around. Keeping that bucket list keeps a person in regret rather than appreciation. Besides, keeping a bucket list reminds us there’s an end-point and living in the future rather than the now.
What if you complete your bucket list, then what? You die? Then why the hell would you complete your bucket list – isn’t that a great line for procrastinators! Or what if you have nothing for your bucket list? Is that a wasted life? Are you boring? Who came up with this damn list anyways???
Here lays my European bucket list dated December 2009 – January 2010, gone and forgotten. I hope we never meet again.
1. Move to a new country every 4 months. Fail. Sure, we have visited 6 countries this past year, but shortly after we arrived in Spain, we realized how unrealistic moving around Europe is, unless we want to a) spend tons of money or b) live in hostels or c) camp, none of which tickled my fancy. Cancel.
2. Take in as much as we can in those 4 months so we are experts on said country. Epic fail. (See above.)
3. Learn at least one other language. Review and revise. Well, being a native English speaker affords one the greatest gift of never having to learn another language, and I’m okay with that.
4. Embrace the European lifestyle of walking everywhere; being fabulously fit and well dressed. Double fail. Actually, it’s such a double fail that my recent trip back to Canada I bought two new pairs of yoga pants (good ones, to wear out and about) a size bigger than when I left Canada.
5. Bungee jump. Okay, I was drunk to put this on my list. Delete.
6. Become an expert Mediterranean wine and food connoisseurs. Sort of completed; I’m an expert Mediterranean ‘value priced’ wine and food consumer. Check.
Looking at everything I hadn’t accomplished in the past year, and considering I didn’t even accomplish ONE item on my bucket list, I really could consider everything to be a grand waste of time and money. Or is it?
I have grown, stretched and mangled the little box I previously lived in. (Priceless.)
I have become a happier person. (I think so.)
I have learned to slow down. (More than just my drinking a bottle of wine.)
I know more of who I am and what I can actually do. (I can feel the fear and do it anyway and know that it always works out in the end.)
I am okay to sit and be in silence and just observe. (And not only from the next door bathroom stall.)
I get to see my children more often. (They get to ask me for money more often.)
I have discovered that Europe really isn’t that expensive, once you get away from the tourist trappings. (Except for gasoline – everybody gets ripped off there.)
I really AM interested in other’s life stories, because they can teach me something, plus they are all so different and interesting. (When did we become so afraid of our neighbours?)
I’ve learned to be rather than to do. (Not like Frank and do be do be do.)
I’ve learned that everyday doesn’t have to be something worth blogging about. (It’s okay to have pyjama days, even in Spain.)
I didn’t number these because each as important as the other and they showed up in no particular order. Note that none of these gems where on my bucket list at all. I’m not even sure if I would have included them I was so focused on the end result rather than the journey to arrive at said end result.
What’s on your bucket list? Even if you don’t think you have a bucket list, you do. How many of us give ourselves deadlines for marriage, babies, career, success, mortgage paid, retirement, etc. Bucket lists don’t have to be worldly or fabulous to be a bucket list. More importantly, which items on your bucket list are keeping you from living in the moment, from living today, from appreciating today, from appreciating who’s around you and the nuances of simply living.
On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with goals and dreams and wishes. If we all stood still, we wouldn’t get anywhere as a society or a species. But the real snag is when we step out of today to live for tomorrow. Tomorrow is never promised but we can do our best to make the tomorrow that does arrive worth living. We can work towards that great destination we have in mind by saving a little bit of money today. We can work towards anything by preparing today, that’s still living in the moment because we are doing our best with what we have today. We can study today for a career somewhere down the line. We can do our best today, so the best shows up tomorrow. But to do our best today, we have to live in today. We have to appreciate today and everything it has brought with it, because to dismiss today would be to dismiss everything that we have done that brought us to today. Whew. I think I got that, did you?
If I would have stuck to clearing my bucket list, I would have zoomed past all these significant life experiences that taught me that it’s never too late to grow and learn. I would have zoomed past life with only a few t-shirts, photos and knick-knacks to show for it. And that would have been a big waste of time and money.