Filled with visions of places to see, things to do, people to lunch with, books to read, mountains to summit…someday, before we die.
Sadly, though, most bucket lists are works of fiction, written but never manifested.
Dreamed of, but never lived.
For most people, making them is the functional-equivalent of reading yet another self-help book, without ever doing anything beyond reading to actually help yourself. Lists like these are, with rare-exception, made, then tucked away, never to see the light of day.
Want to know what the average person’s real-life bucket list looks like?
1. Accept that nobody ever promised you the right to be happy or enjoy your work.
2. Take on a series of J.O.B.s for 55 years that suck the life outta you and devour more than half your waking hours.
3. Teach your kids that’s what life’s all about, deal with it and do the same.
4. Watch your health, fitness, sex-appeal and radiance grind into the abyss.
5. Tell yourself you’re doing it to secure the best possible future for yourself and your family.
6. Watch your benefits, IRA, home-equity and savings get lapped by your retirement needs.
7. Wonder where the years went, why you barely know your kids and partner, why they’re not thriving after you’ve worked to give them everything you thought they wanted, only to discover what they really wanted and needed, once there was a roof overhead, food on the table and enough left over to play a bit, was you, there, present, loving and supporting them, and they could figure out the rest.
8. Feel like you have to do something, anything to wind down from stress every day and the reality that whether you’ve gotten everything you’d hoped for or not…you still feel empty.
9. Retire (if you’re ever able) and realize you’re too old, fat, tired, burnt, unwell, unhappy, in-pain, unfit, under-funded, estranged and/or overburdened to do all the things on what you now realize is your wildly-unrealistic bucket list.
Does this list make you angry?
Are you scrolling violently down to the comment section to tear me a new one?
That’s good…I’ve got your attention. And, hopefully sparked enough, emotion, anger, frustration, angst or resonance to get you up out of your conventional wisdom Barkalounger and fixing to do something. But, before you do that something TO ME, you may want to ask a question…
Who are you really angry at?
Convention…average……unexamined…untested…the way it’s most often lived, terrifies me.
Does that mean we don’t sometimes have to do conventional things we’d rather not do in order to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads? Of course not. We all do what’s necessary in times of crisis to take care of our basic responsibilities.
Right the ship first. Always.
But, it’s what you do after that, with rare exception, that defines the way you engage in and experience life. And, if there’s never any “after that,” you’ve gotta ask “why not?”
What’s your role in a continuous cycle of suffering?
Stuart Wilde said,
“Each moment of our life, we either invoke or destroy our dreams. We call upon it to become a fact, or we cancel our previous instructions.”
There is no sideways, we’re always choosing, moving up or down, even when we choose not to choose.
Which route are you traveling down? Invocation or destruction of your dreams?
And, which do you choose to continue on from this moment forward?
Not with your intentions, not with your words, but your actions…
Bucket lists are fine and dandy, but I hate the fact that they are “someday” lists…
How about a different approach?
Don’t just memorialize…manifest!
Keep your bucket list, if you want.
But, then make a List Of One.
A single, meaningful action you’re going to take before the end of the day to move you one step closer to a single, deeply meaningful quest.
Don’t go to bed tonight until you’ve completed your List Of One. And done one other thing, made your List Of One for tomorrow.
Do this every day for a month, long enough to begin to inculcate the habit.
If it feels manageable, turn it into a List Of Two. And so on, and so on.
Execute on your list consistently over time and you’ll begin to make magic unfold.
Not “someday,” but everyday.
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