I’m sure you’ve heard of the bucket list.
It’s a great concept, and something that can lead to inspiring and life changing experiences.
It’s about facing up to your own mortality and staring death in the face. No more brushing under the carpet of our ultimate destiny, this is about coming to terms with the fact that you’ve got no idea how many weeks you’ve got left.
The average human lives for about 4000 weeks by the way.
Doesn’t sound like much does it? Does 900 months sound any better?!
And just think how many of those are already gone…
Making the most of it
I love the bucket list because it’s about making the most of your life.
It’s about future pacing yourself and saying ‘there are some things I really HAVE to do before I die’. Not regretting what you didn’t do.
I believe, on some level, our minds make sense of death by denying it, by thinking it won’t happen to us. That we have all the time in the world to do those things that really matter. How many times have you said to yourself ‘I’m going to get around to it soon’, and then Christmas sneaks up on you and you realise another year has flown by at an alarming pace.
There really is no time to waste.
How fast 52 weeks can fly by, and you’ve only got about 4000.
Whatever else you’re doing this week, make a promise to yourself to start something you’ve always wanted to do. Even if it’s just thinking about it and writing something down, you’ve made a start, and then next week you can take another step. Small steps taken consistently create massive change over time.
And therein lies my slight problem with the bucket list….
The every day bucket list
Although I love and believe in the philosophy of the bucket list, it still represents a way of thinking that is based on destination rather than journey.
The things on your bucket list are usually big. They are quite often once-in-a-lifetime events, life changing experiences and lifetime achievements. Defining moments of a 28,000 day life.
That’s not to say your bucket list can’t have less grand visions, in the film Bucket List, Morgan Freeman simply has ‘Laugh until I cry’ on his list.
I’ve found a lot of happiness from just doing little things every day, the perennial to-do list items that never get checked off because you’re too busy. When you finally get around to doing them, there is a release in your headspace and you feel lighter. It’s a kind of every day bucket list, little things that make your heart sing, but invariably you never get around to doing.
You may be looking forward to the week long meditation retreat in Goa that you’ve booked next year, but what joy to be found in giving yourself 15 minutes peaceful reflection before the rest of your household gets up in the morning. If you are experiencing something beautiful and life affirming every day, you can be happy in the knowledge that your journey is just as important as the destination.
None of us know when we’re gonna go, so every day is a present and your happiness shouldn’t be put off in favour of fulfilling your non-stop commitments.
Dream the big dreams of course, but real change and progress happens one act at a time, one habit at a time, one day at a time. And real happiness flourishes one smile at a time, one hug at a time, one laugh at a time, one compliment at a time and one happy day at a time.
You’re only as happy as your last smile :)