[Warning: If you haven’t guessed, there is swearing in this post. If that offends you, you may want to stop reading now.]
I’ve always bristled at any attempts to contain individuality. I don’t like labelling people. Once, when I was a student, I sent a boyfriend a long letter ranting about why I hated it when people approached dating and potential partners with a huge tick list (that’s “check list” in North American English). As you can imagine, he was a bit bemused.
The mere idea of trying to reduce a person to a list of traits gets my hackles up. I know that labels and details of humans and human behaviour can be useful for all sorts of things, like figuring out ways to help people. Labels are useful because they reduce something that is very complex to something that is graspable, quantifiable. Things that are impossible to pin down can be reduced to data that you can manipulate for your own purposes.
The problem is that anything viewed in quantifiable terms lends itself to being judged. This isn’t a problem if you’re a researcher, looking for ways to innovate, and you need data. But it can be a HUGE problem for anyone who is seeking to be a happy healthy human. Judging oneself (and consequently others) is short cut to misery.
So what does this have to do with bucket lists? Well, a bucket list is basically a way of quantifying experiences that your life has to include in order for you to feel most fulfilled. Well, fuck off to that. Whatever happened to enjoying the moment, and appreciating being alive, right NOW regardless of what the past has been like and what the future holds?
OF COURSE everyone has difficult experiences in their history. And OF COURSE we all want to experience wonderful, magical times in our future. But the only time that we are EVER alive is the present. And the only way we can experience the wonder and magic of being alive is if we pay attention to what is going on in our present, and participate in that. And the best way to participate in the present is to say FUCK OFF to judgements and agendas: stop judging yourself, judging others, judging life.
I say leave your agenda where it belongs (which is anywhere but in the present moment), and open yourself up to the infinite possibilities of each moment. Fuck the bucket list. And experience THIS moment to its fullest.
In fairness, I do like certain aspects of bucket lists. “What do I REALLY want to do?” is a GREAT question. And “What can I do with what I’ve got NOW, in a way that honours my desires, as well as the present moment? How can I stop making excuses for not doing NOW what I really want to do?” are more great questions.
It’s the “What do I really want to do BEFORE I DIE?” bit that pisses me off.
Anyway, a belated Happy New Year to you! I’d best be off now … to tackle something on my bucket list 😉